Are you a bit fed up with hearing about my book? Then how about I let another writer tell you something about her book – it’s an extract, in fact, from Claire Musters’ new book, Taking off the mask: daring to be the person God created you to be, out today from Authentic Media.
Claire is a freelance writer, speaker and editor, mother of two, pastor’s wife, worship leader and school governor. She is currently Premier Christianity magazine’s freelance news and features journalist.
Claire’s desire is to help others draw closer to God through her writing, which focuses on authenticity, marriage, parenting, worship, discipleship and issues facing women today.
This is adapted from chapter 14 of Claire’s book:
I have been on a long journey of discovering why we wear masks, hiding our true selves from one another, ever since a painful episode in my own life left me exposed and vulnerable. I am convinced that God never intended us to hide from one another (or him), and am passionate about seeing others set free from this habit.
So many of the reasons for mask-wearing that I’ve discovered are rooted in issues with our identity. For example, why is it that we are so scared of people knowing that perhaps things aren’t going so well for us, or we are struggling with a particular issue? This can be such a natural, subconscious response for many of us but, when we pare it right back, it boils down to us making our fear of others bigger than our fear of God. We are so worried about what people might think of us, and how they might respond – how they might treat us once they realize we aren’t perfect. It makes us forget that God already knows us inside and out and also knows everything we are dealing with at any one moment.
And he accepts us. Totally. Utterly.
Actually, God does more than just accept us. He loves us. Unconditionally.
God’s love for us is not based on what we do, how well we ‘perform’. If only we could accept that fully, and yet, how many of us have truly accepted everything God says about our identity in him?
Sometimes it can seem too simple to be true, especially for those of us living in an over-sophisticated society. But the truth is he loves us and accepts us. That’s it. No ‘but’, no ‘if only’. And sometimes it just seems downright outrageous. He has adopted us into his family and given us the same inheritance as his son, Jesus, whom he sent to the cross to die for our sin so that we could enjoy that inheritance. Romans 8:16–17 tells us: ‘The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.’
That really is pretty incredible!
And yet, even if we believe that that is true, rather than being most concerned about what our heavenly Father thinks of us, so often we live as if we care more about the opinion of the person standing next to us. Somehow we get our perspectives all skewed. We need to learn to stop looking to others for validation, and spend more time gazing on our Father’s face, which is full of his love, grace and mercy.
Claire’s book also includes a ‘personal reflection’ at the end of each chapter. I asked if I could include the one from the end of chapter 14 – she said yes :
Regularly creating my own word cloud/picture based on some of the verses God has drawn me to is a helpful reminder to me of my true identity. Here is a selection you could use to try creating your own (alternatively, feel free to use other truths that God has been speaking to you):
I am chosen (Eph. 1:4) and dearly loved (Col. 3:12), adopted (Eph. 1:5), a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), holy (Heb. 10:10), clothed in the righteousness of Christ (Isa. 61:10), the apple of [God’s] eye (Ps. 17:8), an heir with Christ (Rom 8:17), safe (1 John 5:18), protected (Ps. 91:14), [Jesus’] friend (John. 15:15)
Find out more about the book by clicking here.
Claire’s other books include Taking your Spiritual Pulse, CWR’s Insight Into Managing Conflict, Insight Into Self-acceptance, Cover to Cover: David A man after God’s own heart, Insight Into Burnout and BRF Foundations21 study guides on Prayer and Jesus. She also writes Bible study notes. As well as Taking off the mask, Claire has another book out this month – Cover to Cover: 1–3 John Walking in the truth, with CWR.
To find out more about her, visit www.clairemusters.com. She is also on Twitter as @CMusters.