This is a very dangerous moment, when God seems set against everything that has meant life to us. Satan spies his opportunity, and leaps to accuse God in our hearts. You see, he says, God is angry with you. He’s disappointed in you. If he loved you he would make things smoother. He’s not out for your best, you know. The Enemy always tempts us back toward control, to recover and rebuild the false self. We must remember that it is out of love that God thwarts our impostor. As Hebrews reminds us, it is the son whom God disciplines, therefore do not lose heart (12:5–6).
God thwarts us to save us. We think it will destroy us, but the opposite is true—we must be saved from what really will destroy us. If we would walk with him in our journey of masculine initiation, we must walk away from the false self—set it down, give it up willingly. It feels crazy; it feels immensely vulnerable. We simply accept the invitation to leave all that we’ve relied on and venture out with God. We can choose to do it ourselves, or we can wait for God to bring it all down.
If you have no clue as to what your false self may be, then a starting point would be to ask those you live with and work with, “What is my effect on you? What am I like to live with (or work with)? What don’t you feel free to bring up with me?” In other words, you face your fears head-on. Drop the fig leaf; come out from hiding. For how long? Longer than you want to; long enough to raise the deeper issues, let the wound surface from beneath it all.
Losing the false self is painful; though it’s a mask, it’s one we’ve worn for years and losing it can feel like losing a close friend. Underneath the mask is all the hurt and fear we’ve been running from, hiding from. To let it come to the surface can shake us like an earthquake.
And that’s the memo.
By John Eldredge in Wild at Heart