When I wrote yesterday’s blog post, All are Welcome Here, I mentioned some of my fears and insecurities in joining a Bible study. I found out that I’m not alone. Many of us have fears and situations where we don’t feel comfortable, feel like we don’t fit in, or have to wear a mask to disguise who we are. My guest today, Jamy Whitaker is no different. Let me tell you about Jamy.
She’s one of us. Yes. Jamy began doing Online Bible Studies a little over a year ago. She struggles with the same things we struggle with. Like us, she wonders if God can use her with her flaws and insecurities. Yes, He can. Yes, He did.
Get REAL by Jamy Whitaker was released just last week! Get REAL examines how to take off the mask and be who God has created you to be without fear.
We are fortunate enough to have Jamy share with us today. I know you will enjoy this piece titled Book Covers. And I really know you will enjoy that you have a chance to win this book just by commenting on this blog post. Read to the end for details.
Have you ever thought of people as book covers? Let me explain. I have always loved books, even from a very early age. I can remember going into my closet and sitting on the floor and reading for hours. Reading can take you on adventures you would otherwise never go on. However, selecting a good book is not easy. When I was younger, my selections came primarily through the books on my shelf, that I had been given, or the school library. Although the library had several books, I still stuck pretty close to the authors I knew or ones recommended by the librarian. As I have grown, my love for books has increased. I absolutely love curling up with a good book, especially on a gloomy, rainy day.
I received a Kindle a couple of years ago. I honestly did not know whether I would really like it. However, I soon discovered that the Kindle opened up a vast number of books to me. The first time I went on the Amazon site, I was amazed by the sheer number of books. I almost did not know where to begin. I, of course, looked for my favorite authors and genres. However, there were so many free books that I thought maybe I should give some other authors a try. But how does one go about selecting a book? If it is not the author, what draws you to a particular book? Is it the title or illustration on the cover? I am certain that if we were all honest, most of us would have to admit that we make a judgment call on the book based on the cover. I do not know about you, but I heard countless times growing up, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” I have certainly found that to be true.
The same principle can be applied to people. How many times, in a crowded room, are we drawn to the people who either look like us or simply look like they have it all together? The key word there is “look.” It is easy to make the outward appear acceptable to others. In other words, mask our real self. However, God looks at the heart, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV). God does not look at the outward appearance or even the mask people wear. He looks at what matters, the heart. Samuel, like most of us, got hung up on appearances. Society and the media thrust this idea upon the general public at an alarming rate. They are marketing a look and many people buy into this gimic and will do whatever it takes to fit into this mold. However, in the process, they lose sight of their true identity. God took the time to remind Samuel that inner qualities — our identity in Christ — mean far more than outward appearances
The word heart is mentioned over seven hundred times in the Bible. I am certain this indicates how important it is to God. God searches the heart and knows everything about us. We have a wonderful example in the person of David. He is said to “be a man after my [God’s] own heart” (Acts 13:22 NIV). Being a person after God’s own heart is exactly what each and every one of us should strive for. It is no coincidence that the heart is centrally located within the human body and is vital for so many functions — for life itself. Therefore, our concern needs to be getting the inward straightened out, so that it can be reflected to the world.
I speak from experience. Many things in our lives can be hidden from others by putting on a mask that so many of us wear. However, if we would just focus on our heart issues, then everything else in our lives would fall into place. In order to get to know someone, we have to go beyond the outward. We should not pre-judge people we come in contact with. You and I need to take the time and interest in the lives of the people around us. Getting to know a person will help us to determine whether we have things in common. To do that we need to go deeper, to the heart of the matter, if you will. You and I need to take the dust covers off of ourselves and let people see us for who we are. Then, they will feel more at ease and more likely to let their guard down and be comfortable enough to take off their own masks. It is imperative that we are all real with one another and, most importantly, with God.
It does not matter how we dress or if we have it all together. None of us is going to have it all together this side of heaven. If people wait until everything is just perfect in their lives to come to Christ, then they will miss out on salvation. So, as Christians, you and I need to take off the mask and share where we are and, even more importantly, where we have been and what Christ has done and is doing in our lives. By sharing where we have been, we are not glorifying our past, but instead we bring glory to Christ for what He has done in our lives. How many times have you felt more at ease talking with someone who has traveled down the same road? If we are hiding behind a mask, we never share our personal journey with others. By doing so, we are able to help others along the path.
Would you like to discover ways you can break free of that mask? I encourage you to check out my book, Get REAL: Stop Hiding Behind the Mask. It shows what our true identity in Christ really is and how we can take off the mask and let our true-self shine through.
For more information, please check out my website, www.jamywhitaker.com, or my facebooks page, www.facebook.com/AuthorJamyWhitaker. I would love to give away a copy of my book to one of Melissa’s readers. You will receive one entry for commenting on my post. You will earn additional entries for “liking” my author page on facebook and subscribing to my blog. I will announce the winner this Friday.
Blessings to all my Online Bible Study Sisters,
Thanks Jamy! And thanks to all who are visiting with me today! Don’t forget to leave a comment so you can have a chance to win her book and take off your mask for once and for all!
For our Facebook users: We have 2 Facebook parties going on tomorrow! Hope you can join in for one or both of them!
Pastor Steven Furtick , Lysa TerKeurst, and I will be chatting and answering your questions about his new book and our next Online Bible Study after Unglued, >Greater. You can join the conversation live on Pastor Steven’s Facebook page. Wednesday at 1:30-2:30 pm EST.
The Online Bible Studies Team and I will be chatting and hosting a drop in for any who can attend our party too! We’d love to talk to you, answer any questions you have, and just get to know you better! If you can join us Wednesday, September 12th from 4-5 pm EST, we’d love for you to join us. RSVP here.