Does the difference between how you appear on the outside contradict what you value on the inside? Most of us have a gap there, where these two contradict one another. Back in college, I contemplated suicide because I couldn’t figure out which was the real me. My heart that loved God, or my behavior that denied my stated faith? Then a recent event reminded me of that.
I opened Unconventional to make a new post last week, and someone hacked my site and changed my picture. The usual manly guy with a black leather jacket in front of a Montana river wasn’t quite the same—this guy had a HUGE mole on the tip of his nose. That would ruin my image! Don’t bother checking, it’s back. As I looked closer, a small bug had landed on the screen, died, and stuck. Until my finger gently brushed it off.
But it brought back my earlier dilemma, that contrast between the inside and outside. The inner commitment to love and live for Jesus, and outer appearances that denied it. So which is real? Both. None of us are “pure,” because we possess contradictory beliefs and actions. Part of our heart is good and holy, part clings to some sins. Part of our behavior is good and holy, part clings to some sins.
Which is the real us? The one we feed. The one we put the most value on. The most energy into. The one that causes grief when we violate it. You know, I’ve never looked back with grief on a chance to sin that I passed up. But I have grieved on those not passed up.
And, let’s be aware of both. If we just focus on the outside, we get discouraged and tempted to give up. If we just focus on the inside, we allow behavior that doesn’t match our heart. Honestly, both are us. We just need to decide, fresh every day, which is the most important, and to nurture that.
Kick Starting the Application
Have you felt confusion about that difference between the inside and outside? Up to now, how have you determined the “real you?” What is the most important to you? How wide is the divide between the inner and outer? How can you bring them closer together?