Laynie Travis writes devotionals for women in the YouVersion Bible App. One quote from her daughter changed the way she thinks about seeking God and inspired her to write the Bible Plan, I Pretend Nothing with You. Here’s an excerpt from the Plan.
I’m a classic over-sharer. My husband, friends, and family can attest to this. I’m a verbal processor and often tell my husband every thought that enters my head. I love telling funny stories about myself to a crowd, and I love recalling embarrassing moments to get a good laugh. My husband often tells me that I “show all my cards.” I’ve learned that he’s a more private person and doesn’t volunteer information as easily as I do. Together, we balance each other out in the area of communication and in many other areas of our lives.
Our daughter Sloane, like my husband, has a more private personality. I’ve learned to be careful with what I share about her, and I make it a point to ask her permission if there’s a story about her that I find darling and want to share with friends or family. She gave me permission to share this story and use it for the basis of this Bible Plan.
Sloane is 10 years old, and for Mother’s Day, her 4th grade class made journals as gifts. She proudly gave me her precious journal, and I eagerly flipped through the pages, reading all the poems and sweet words she had written to honor me. I loved everything about the journal, but one line in particular stood out to me more than any other.
This particular page in the journal included a list of things that meant the most to each student about their mothers. It said things like “What is your favorite activity to do with your mom?” and “What is your favorite thing your mother cooks for you?” All of her answers were special, but I was really moved by her answer to the question “What is one thing you want to say to your mom?” She wrote, “Mom, I pretend nothing with you.”
It took me a second to understand what she meant. I reread that line over and over and let the words sink in. It hit me that this might be the best compliment I’ve ever received. It was so simple, yet so profound. This especially meant so much coming from her because of all our four children, she’s the most guarded with her feelings. She’s careful with who she lets in and very selective about who she lets see her cry. It’s one of the things I love about her. It’s an honor that she trusts me with her feelings, and I don’t take this privilege lightly. I bawled like a baby when I read this line. This compliment coming from her meant so very much to me as her mom.
“I pretend nothing with you” is a beautiful way of saying, “I’m truly myself. I’m showing you who I really am. I’m not hiding or afraid. I’m revealing all my fears, my feelings, my insecurities, my joys, and my secrets, and I’m safe.” There are very few people to whom we can truly say, “I pretend nothing with you. I’m being completely vulnerable, and I trust you.”
Now, I realize that I’m not perfect and that I’ll inevitably disappoint her, all of my children, and my husband at times. We’re human. But the beauty of this statement made me think about our relationship with God. He’s our loving Father, and we’re His children—and He wants us to pretend nothing with Him. He desires a relationship with us and He already knows us fully and completely. Seeking God means knowing He made us, created us, and knows who we are really.
Psalm 139:1-3 tells us that God has searched us and knows us. He knows when we sit down and when we rise. He perceives all our thoughts from afar. He discerns our going out and our lying down. He’s familiar with all our ways. Talk about intimacy!
God knows you. The question is: Do you know Him? Are you seeking God? Do you feel that you can trust Him? Do you know His character? Are you attempting to hide from Him or run from Him, or are you indifferent toward Him?
God created us to be in a relationship with Him. He longs to have a reciprocating love relationship with each of us. He wants us to come to Him and show our true selves. He wants to dine with us, talk with us, help us, and guide us. He longs to heal our hurts, forgive our sins, pour out His grace over our lives, and free us from all shame so nothing can hold us back from our God-given destinies. He loves us, pretends nothing with us, and holds nothing back. He desires for us to come as we are and bring Him our mess so He can make it a masterpiece.
Jesus wants you to come to Him and pretend nothing. Just as I was delighted about what Sloane wrote to me in her journal, it brings Him pure joy when we trust Him in our lives. When we are seeking God and trusting Him with our feelings, He can help us.
If you’re angry, tell Him. If you’re sad, weep before Him. If you’re lonely, afraid, rejected, or confused, bring it to Him and lay it all at His feet. Give Him a chance to show Himself. He created feelings, and He wants us to show Him where we are. Pretend nothing with Him. He can handle it. He’s safe and He’ll show you love, forgiveness, truth, and freedom.
We can be an open book or more of a private personality with people in our lives, but what’s most important is who we are before the Lord. So, who are you? Are you holding your cards close and not showing God all the details? It’s wise and discerning to be more private with certain people, but we can bring God everything. Seeking God like that—with all our cards on the table—helps us realize we’re safe with Him.
I love that before God, I can be completely open. It’s the one place where I don’t feel like I have to hold back or leave afraid that I’ve shared too much.
So, ask yourself today: Are you pretending? When it’s just you and Jesus, who are you?