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what i learned while stripping

yesterday i had the opportunity to spend some time with your high school class during sunday school. we talked about all sorts of things, but one of the things we talked about was the masks that many of us wear during the course of our day - how we put on different masks for different situations. 

and then in church we looked at the scripture where Jesus says that we will be "clothed with power" and i was thinking about the differences between being clothed by the Holy Spirit, and how we dress ourselves spiritually with all kinds of clothes and  makeup that try to make us look better than we are.  i was picturing how sometimes i find myself applying spiritual makeup, so to speak, in order to meet someone's (or God's) perceived expecations. 

finally, i spent part of saturday and sunday stripping.  a dresser.  scraping and scrubbing and trying to dig through layers of paint and stain acquired over God knows how many years.  and with each tired scrape, i wondered about the spiritual build-up in my own life.  how many layers have i accumulated, trying to be someone i'm not; trying to look good for the crowd or the superior or for God?  how much work do i need to scrape and scratch in so many crevices to be the one i was intended to be?  And then i rested easy in one of the great truths of our faith: that it's not by might or by power, but by God's Spirit.  no matter how hard i try, i can't scrub myself clean or chisel the chunks of spiritual plaque from my soul.  but God can.  in one merciful gesture, God makes everything glorious again.  and i am simply called to be myself, and to stop covering me up with who i'm not. 


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