About the Author

Shannan Martin is the author of Falling Free: Rescued From the Life I Always Wanted, wife of a jail chaplain, and mom to four kiddos. She's a big believer in community and salsa, and blogs at ShannanMartinWrites.com.

Related Posts

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Shannan,
    And you want to know what my response is? Whoa! She’s not perfect after all…SHE’S JUST LIKE ME!!! Reading the brave and vulnerable declaration by you (or by others) that you judge, that you doubt, that behind that confident mask lies a woman who dreams about going to the prom and having nothing fitting to wear. This makes you real…and I can relate to real. I can’t relate to the masks and facades that we all walk around wearing. Jesus was one who saw right through the façade, and you know what? He loved what was underneath. Your post is absolutely beautiful and real and I can relate to that. It brings with it freedom. May I be a person, like you, who is willing to take off the mask I tend to hide behind, so that others can get to know the real…the sinful…the fallible me.
    Blessings abundantly to you,
    Bev

    • Your post really hit home for me. Boy do I want to take off the mask I’ve been wearing and be so beautifully real as you have done. I’ve been hiding behind an addiction for many years. Some days I just want one godly woman to share my burden with so she can pray for me, but I just can’t get myself to do it. I so want to be free from the bondage this addiction keeps me in! Thank you for sharing….perhaps this is the first step I take to the freedom Jesus died to give us.

      • Jenny, thank you so much for your courage to leave a comment. I have many friends struggling through addiction right now (I wrote a bit about it on my personal blog just 2 days ago. I think the comments left over there might be an encouragement to you.) It can be so hard to keep hope at times, but I know God is big enough. I want you to know, I love your heart and I’m praying for you today, that you’ll see exactly who God is and how He loves you. He’s in this, He’s with you. You are not alone.

      • Jenny,
        Just like Jesus is our burden bearer, he calls us to share in each others’ burdens and be the one who lifts the other up in prayer to God who is our ultimate Healer. I would love to be that person for you if you want me to…message me back.
        Meanwhile, I believe that the person you are behind the addiction is beautiful…because you are God’s handiwork and we KNOW He doesn’t make junk. Know you are loved just for how God made you…just for being YOU!
        Bev
        Bev

      • Jenny,
        Prayers for God to help heal you of your addiction! May you find hope & peace!! I will share in your burden and pray for you continually! I pray you know that you are beautifully wonderfully made in the image of Christ!! He loves you so much and so do I!!
        (((Hugs)))

      • I too have an addiction. I know that some people may not think it is a real problem, if the addiction is smoking, but it is very real. I know God has been dealing with me to quit, and i long to be obedient, but it is harder than you can imagine. I keep so much inside, and that is hard too. I need prayer

        • I will pray that the Lord Jesus, who loves you soooo much, will take away the desire to smoke and set you free. Sharing with others is the first step. Thank you, Donna, and Jenny, for following Shannan’s lead and unmasking! 🙂

          Please pray for me…I tend to unmask in front of people who are very open and real (sadly, this is usually my unbelieving co-workers!) and get all churchy with my equally churchy friends.

          Thank you for leading the way in being vulnerable and real.

          I’ve noticed from reading the gospels that Jesus really likes REAL people! 🙂

          Love,
          A recovering Pharisee,
          Nina Ruth 🙂

        • Smoking is an addiction, BUT Jesus is the deliverer. I know because He delivered me September 9, 1975. He will do the same for you! My deliverance came through confessing with my mouth to my sister that I needed to quit. That moment is when the holy spirit came & delivered me. Great is the faithfulness of God to His people who believe!!!

    • Thanks so much, Bev. People like you make it so much easier to fling off the mask. 🙂 Glad to have you ever on this journey with me.

  2. Yes, friend, I do want to walk with you. It sounds terrifying and liberating all at the same time. I talk often about wanting to create space for people to be known and loved, and yet I am also afraid of what that looks like in my own life. I’m realizing that I am much better at the knowing than the being known. I would like that to change; because I truly believe that as I allow myself to be known and seen in all my realness and messiness, others will find the courage to meet me there. That the connection and the life that I truly want. Lead the way, because I’m watching. I want to figure out what it looks like to get there. Thanks for this word today. XO.

    • ” I’m realizing that I am much better at the knowing than the being known.” Yep!! Thankful for you. And I can say that anytime I’ve bared my guts and shown the meh parts of myself, it has never been wasted. XO

  3. Beautiful! I particularly love the part where you say, “We should be the church we long for.” We are the church. It’s not some building; it’s us. If we remember that, we will honor God and draw others to Him. Be blessed.

  4. Thanks for setting an example of brave authenticity that leads not off the cliff but toward peace and freedom. Oh, sister your write such good words and lead a life of beautiful struggle. Your junk on display only makes me love you more. That’s the upside down truth Jesus came to deliver!

    • Adore you!
      And yes, Jesus is so upside-down. When something seems to weird to do or say, that’s usually when I know it’s sort of right. 🙂

      • “When something seems to weird to do or say, that’s usually when i know it’s sort of right” I love this! I feel this way all the time and have such a hard time with it. What you wrote is my heart as well. I was know my heart is constantly judging and then constantly kicking itself for doing the very thing I’m trying so hard not to do. Only with God’s help will I ever succeed. As always, when you write, it speaks to me and where I’m struggling in that moment. Keep sharing what God has placed in you to share. It’s an encouragement to me.

  5. I love confession… Well, I do and I don’t. It’s so powerful when we say things out loud, and the hold (of fear and doubt) on us gets weaker, but the nakedness can make me catch my breath. I’m praying we can shed our false selves so our true selves can be seen.

    • I’m just feeling the pull to confess more. Did you read Amber Haines’ book Wild in the Hollow? You should and you’ll love it. God really used her heart there to lead me to some confession.

  6. WOW…just wow. That mask often doesn’t come off all at once- and every piece is painful to remove. Will “they” still like me? Will God still love me? (and yes- I am aware of the order I put this in, because I believe that is often the order we care about- sadly). And all too often it takes a tragedy or loss for us to lose the energy to keep that mask plastered to our faces and hearts.
    Yes- I will walk this road with you Shannan- THANK YOU for going first.

    • Tracy, so true your statement about tragedy and loss . God does make us beautiful in his time and way… I am sad about the loss but rejoicing at what God is doing in my life because of it.

  7. Shannan, bless your heart. As is your custom, you articulate the weakness in being humans. You and I approach issues differently. You are a compassionate and analogical soul searcher. I am more of the court jester, who sees the same failures and character flaws and I point out the humorous aspect of our shared messiness. Our friendship is gold because of our different perspectives. What we do manage to do usually is come to a common belief. God made each one of us to fit perfectly into The Body Of Christ and do our individual task for HIS KINGDOM. Heaven bless, everyone !!

  8. Shannan, I opened your blog this morning as I was enticed by the title.
    Just this week, in my devotional time with the Lord, I have been pondering and
    studying concepts along this line including terms such as “judgment”,
    “criticism”, “discernment” and “examine”. As you noted in your own discovery,
    there are certainly places in our hearts that need a drastic renovation when it
    comes to judgment. I so appreciate your vulnerability in sharing the struggle
    in your own heart of feeling the weight of judgment from others, especially in
    regard to outward appearances. I can relate to the disorientation of waking
    from a dream that reveals insecurities in me about what others think of me. I
    had a similar dream this week myself. I agree with you that it also exposes my
    own tendency to make judgments of others based on a standard that I don’t even
    meet. May in our confession of this coupled with the faith that Jesus died for
    the forgiveness and cleansing of this sin, we be sanctified by the truth. In
    light of pursuing truth, I do see from my own study there is something that you
    noted that I believe needs either clarified or reconsidered. You stated, “As
    much as I’d like to quell my conscience, there’s no such thing as righteous
    judgment. Not unless you’re God. (Alert! I’m not .)” When I consider Jesus’
    words in Luke 12:57: “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?”and in John 7:24: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right
    judgment.”, I see a need for symmetry in our understanding of “judgment”. What
    do you think Jesus is telling us with these words? The word “discernment” keeps
    coming to my thoughts. I certainly know I need to grow big time in this area!

    • Dearest Miss Diana:

      I have taken my mask off over the years in churches and I am looked upon as Pam with problems. They walk into the church as if they have no need for a Savior there life is perfect.

      I never thought I would be homeless a child of the living God. I did not disclose it for the longest time. I finally did at the first small group instead of embracing me they treated as I was a leoper. The next night I decided to open up and share I was spoke in a harsh tone – Don’t except anything from us. To the churches send me to government organizations. To all of you who are reading this. I gave prayer requests and tithed- All I wanted was someone to care. I love the Lord and want to be out of my car. I work and I keep trying to Praise God in the midst of the storms. I am judging you all for judging me and I am truly sorry. I was being real in unreal cicumstances. I do not want to be homeless any longer. It is getting harder. I want to go to church and be a part of the body of Christ. It costs me to go to church.
      I am angry and if you could please pray I do not want to be angry anymore or lie. I am being truthful. James 5:16-17.

      God Bless you all and your walk with HIM.

      Pamela B.
      1 Samuel 16:7

      • Dear Pamela:
        Oh how my heart aches for you in your painful circumstances, especially the suffering you have experienced with those who spoke to you in the harsh tone telling you not to expect anything from them. Thank you for your honesty and willingness to share with us (with me). And, I do pray with you, Pamela, in your confession of anger and own judgmental thoughts. I, too, have had to make similar confessions to the Lord, as I have been judged by others because I have a disabling health condition that many believe is primarily psychosomatic. I commend you for this confession and believe that God is faithful to forgive and transform us when we ask sincerely. As I hope is reflected in my reply above, I have no right to judge you and your circumstances as I don’t know your story well enough to even examine it thoroughly at the moment. What seems to be needed first is compassion for your need and prayer. I wish I could wrap my arms around you right now. I wish I could understand your physical need in such a way as to bring help to you so you wouldn’t be homeless anymore. I don’t have anything but “a few fish and a few loaves of bread”, but I know the One who can bless those fish and loaves to bring about the help and hope that is needed. So, as I go to lie down for a rest (necessary due to my illness), I will pray for the Lord of the harvest to send out His workers, to bless my little prayer to bring about help for you. I will ask Him if there is anything else I can do to encourage or help you. I especially pray for a truly loving community of believers who will come alongside of you. I’m actually praying this for myself as I am unable to go to church as well because of my illness. But, I have hope because for the first time in years, I am beginning to make connections with a local church via email (mostly). I believe He can and is making a way in the wilderness! Let’s hold onto that hope together, ok, Pamela?
        With Christ’s love,
        Diana

  9. Jenny,

    Beautifully written post! It’s time, although hard, to remove the façade, and become real!! Sure we all have doubts, fears and insecurities. I believe everyone can relate to this post!! The worries about being a good mom, employee, wife, etc. It can destroy us if we let it! But Jesus wants us to have freedom in Him! He made us in His image and loves us just as we are!!
    Blessings 🙂

  10. It is a lifetime lesson and so grateful that God can quiet the thoughts and quickly change the direction of those thoughts and feelings when we stay close to him.. I am a mess ang so grateful for a God who has the love and patience to unscrammble me when needed. Grateful for the many friends He has placed in my life to help me be the person he needs me to be.. I am walking with God every day and the wrong turns are as bad as yesterday and better tomorrow. I’m walking!

  11. Beautiful. I love what you are sharing here. Thank you so much for your honesty and courage. I’ve been struggling with this myself recently– it’s always so refreshing to tune back into God’s truth in these moments/seasons. So glad when I can hear His voice above in the fray and find my way back.

  12. Wow, Shannon!
    This hit right where I’m feeling it most! Hope you don’t mind if I steal the line, “I want to be the church I long for,” as my new slogan. Been Dealing with a lot of self doubt and judgement just naturally goes with it. As a women’s leader in my church, I seem to simmer in this kind of soup all the time! I’m feeling the need to turn my feet and go a new direction. I need more Jesus to help clear a new path. Thanks for your confessions! It helped reveal mine.

  13. I’m putting on my walking shoes! Glad to journey with you and thank you for your words. They’ve come at a fitting time as I’ve felt God nudging me to be a little more open and honest with myself and those around me.

  14. Pamela,

    I am so glad that the words I wrote blessed you. I’m honored by the Lord to be a vessel to encourage you these few times you mentioned. As I read through the things you are struggling with in relationship to feeling loved and like you belong, I was reminded of my own struggle with these various things. Our isolating circumstances are not identical, but never-the-less they can weigh heavy on our hearts, minds and souls. I, too, have wrestled with Romans 9, longing to know and believe I am His, as you put it. Poverty that comes through homelessness, disability, joblessness and such brings with it a stigma that is hard to shake. Today I believe with more confidence that I ever have that I am His and I am loved by Him. Yet, I also know when others make a judgment about my health issues and life (usually without really taking the time to listen to all that it’s about), my emotions can be ignited in a way that is dangerous. In
    remembering that Satan is a roaring lion trying to devour anyone he can get his
    hands on, I realize our vulnerability when suffering, especially when suffering alone. I’m like you, Pamela, I never wanted to be a long ranger or on an island either! Yet, it has been a challenge to cultivate community in these circumstances for a complexity of reasons. But, let’s do that today…cultivate a
    bit of community here in this message. I want to encourage you some more – in the way the Lord is encouraging me through his word today. It’s in Ezekiel 34. Here the Lord is speaking against shepherds who didn’t care or search out the sheep. I’m sure you can relate to this as I do. Yet, the focus I believe is best at the moment is what the Lord says to the sheep who have been scattered. I hope that you will be able to read and meditate on these words (Ezekiel 34:11-16). I pray these words, that I see to equate with the idea that Jesus is the Good Shepherd, will give you hope that goes beyond your circumstances. May His loving forgiveness saturate your heart and soul as you draw close to Him and He draws close to you. Thank you, Pamela, for encouraging my own heart through your blessings and your prayer for me to receive ministry. I have
    already! Blessings of love, Diana

  15. Bravo! There is nothing more to add to this. You wrote everything I am feeling perfectly. Does it help to know you aren’t alone? Self doubt is a HUGE weapon for Satan to wield at his pleasure. Thank you for your courage 🙂