By Rae Lynn DeAngelis

“The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned” (Psalm 34:22)

Being vulnerable goes against every inclination of the human heart. From the time we are very young, we are encouraged to be tough, hide behind our true feelings, and as the tag line for Gillette’s roll-on antiperspirant touted, never let them see you sweat!

The idea behind this axiom became an unspoken catchphrase in my life—never let people see the real you, the broken you, the disordered you.

By the time I’d hit my mid-thirties, God began teaching me a new life mantra—authenticity.

Authenticity was in stark contrast to the through-line I’d clung to for years—secrecy and shame. The new refrain implored me to break down my self-built walls and come out from behind my carefully crafted cover girl mask. God was asking me to stop hiding and start living—to show the world the real me.

The first time I’d had a chance to see this kind of truth played out in real life was through a woman I grew to love and respect greatly. Her name is Anita.

We met at Bible study and attended the same church together, but it was some time later before I would hear her whole story—a story that rocked my world and changed my perception forever.

Anita shared her testimony in front of our entire church congregation and held nothing back. She was raw, real, and relatable. She talked authentically about her teenage daughter’s death and how, if she had not received Christ’s healing and forgiveness before her daughter’s death took place, she probably would have believed God was punishing her for the abortion she had when she was just a teenage girl herself. Her powerful story revealed that our God is a God of forgiveness, love, and grace—not condemnation.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)

I had never heard anyone be so forthright about the intimate details of her life before, especially with such sincerity, and I remember being surprised by my emotionally charged reaction afterwards. Instead of seeing Anita as weak, I saw her as the strongest woman I’d ever met.

God used this woman’s testimony to pave the way for my own public unveiling at a woman’s retreat years later when I chose to talk openly about my battle with bulimia for the first time. With my feet planted firmly on the road to freedom, I was eager to talk about the faithfulness of God and how He had set me free through the truth of His Word.

Friends, we live in a world where we are afraid to remove our mask and be real because we fear the chastisements that will most certainly follow. But that’s a lie straight from the pit of hell. That’s what the enemy wants you to think. But here is the truth:

Broken does not mean branded… not in God’s economy.

So go ahead; let them see you sweat!

“[God] heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)