layers, facade, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, ministry

There’s nothing wrong with a nice motivational saying to encourage. However, in order to bloom, we must accept reality and allow God to loosen those layers within our sinful selves.



Bloom where you are planted…

It’s spring, and that phrase is everywhere. I have no idea who coined it, but it’s definitely making ripples throughout the whole of womanhood. It’s fun to think of ourselves as flowers. They are beautiful…they smell sweet. In fact, I make sure I have fresh flowers in my home, weekly.

It’s just so hard for me to believe that about myself. Which got me thinking… if I’m not a flower what am I?

I am seeing all these beauties blooming around me, and I’m over here just trying to not be a cabbage.

-Katie Braswell

Yes, a cabbage. Others are budding and spreading their petals, and I’m stubbornly tightening my layers. It’s a horrible habit, but I tend to self-deprecate. So, believing all those around me are beautiful blooming flowers and I’m being made into sauerkraut, isn’t far fetched.

“How in the heck is she going to arch sauerkraut and spirituality?”

It can be done…

There's nothing wrong with a nice motivational saying to encourage. However, in order to bloom, we must accept reality and allow God to loosen those layers within our sinful selves. #layer #facade #spiritualgrowth #spiritualtruth

Protection

I swear, this is probably the first time in history, someone searched the Bible for the word “cabbage”. Well, I did it so let me share my results…

I’m like someone who goes to the garden to pick cabbages and carrots and corn and returns empty-handed, finds nothing for soup or sandwich or salad.

Micah 7:2, MSG

Yep, I really had to dig for that one, but I read the whole chapter and I wasn’t surprised at all to find meaning and a point that will tie in. God is amazing like that. This chapter in Micah talks about not being able to find a decent person in sight. The world was full of evil and sin. Pretty sorrowful and depressing, if you ask me. Probably because the evil then, is the evil now. But, I feel like we’ve become more cunning at hiding our sin.

“Put this media filter on.”

“Don’t let that scratch too close to the core.”

“Look how lovely my life is.”

So… I’m a cabbage. I know what filters I put on. Most of us walk around with our dark green leaves on… hiding our sin, our wretched selves. Protecting ourselves from this reality: we all sin and need Jesus.

Layers

Try peeling a cabbage without ripping a leaf…just try. If you can do it, we need to talk.

I’m a cabbage. So. Many. Layers. When I allow others (including God) to start peeling them back, my leaves tear. I feel damaged, imperfect. Which sucks for a perfectionist. I like my dark leafed exterior. But, what do people do with those dark leaves when they buy cabbage?  Oh right, they peel them off and pay for a beautiful light green bundle.

No one wants to pay for my dark green facade. No one wants to hang around a fake cabbage. The light green parts are easier to relate to. They show humanity, humility, imperfections. No one wants to spend time with someone who seems to have it all together. Yet, here I am, day in and out, protected by those dark leaves.

Loosening

Towards the middle of Micah 7, the tone changes. He accepts his own part in the sinful world. Full acceptance. Not hidden, but recorded forever in the Bible. Now, I say that’s the opposite of layered protection. When we start peeling back the layers and facades, it forces us to come face to face with our sin. To allow others to walk along side of us in support and love. It forces us to allow God to cover over all we have done…

You don’t nurse your anger and don’t stay angry long, for mercy is your specialty. That’s what you love most. And compassion is on its way to us. You’ll stamp out our wrongdoing. You’ll sink our sins to the bottom of the ocean.

Micah 7:19, MSG

God is THE creator. He created cabbages and He created me. However, He did not create me to be a cabbage. All those layers, whether dark or light green, He has asked and even invited me to allow Him to gently peel those away. Those layers of sin I like to hang on to, God loosens them with compassion and mercy. It’s His nature; who He is.

Those layers of sin I like to hang on to, God loosens them with compassion and mercy. It's His nature; who He is. Click To Tweet

Rooting

Micah held fast to hope, in the midst of a despairing world. He knew the prophecies and that God had a plan. Today we can rejoice for Micah…the prophecies came to fruition. We have the redeeming salvation of Jesus Christ. Our “leaves” were nailed to a cross.

This is my hope: that we can root ourselves in the truth of God. Specifically, that last section of Micah chapter 7. I pray we can remember, God sees all our dark and light green leaves and wishes to throw them all in depths of the sea. I hope we can allow Him to peel away at us. Layer by layer, in order for our lives to bloom with HIS glory!

 

There's nothing wrong with a nice motivational saying to encourage. However, in order to bloom, we must accept reality and allow God to loosen those layers within our sinful selves. #layer #facade #spiritualgrowth #spiritualtruth

Scott Webb

About the author
Katie
I'm a high functioning introvert, coming to terms with the fact that life is better together. Healing my idea of friendship and relationship has given me the confidence to step out of comfort and into true community. Isolation used to be my identity, but helping others find safety in coming together is what motivates me.

I believe healing and redemption are obtainable for every single person and true peace is found when we accept our freedom in Christ. Creating, listening, and finding common ground are my God-given strengths. I pray I can use these to prove there is light in darkness, hope in despair, and value in imperfection.

Comments (27)

  1. I love the honesty in this post – rare that I read something that deals with the ugliness that is sin and acknowledges that it is within us and needs dealing with, peeling back so to speak. I also thought the imagery of us being cabbages (rather than blooming flowers) was rather hilarious – totally get your point though. I look forward to your future posts :-).

  2. This is good. And timely. I was just having a conversation about my tendency to not be very hidden. And I was feeling good about that. But even I have hidden sin. Deeply hidden. And God wants to dig those out and forgive and heal

    1. Thank you Kathy! I believe this will always be timely, unfortunately. We all like to hide out sin away. It’s silly to me, that I think I can put layers over my sin to hide it from God.

  3. Katie you make me giggle and nod all at the same time! I enjoy everything about this. 🙂

  4. Love this, Katie!
    I’ve been a cabbage too and God has been ripping those layers away. I haven’t liked it one bit and then he asked me to share my story. I told him I’d rather be a mushroom sitting in the dark…yep it didn’t go over well;)

    I also may have a purple shirt that says, “bloom where God plants you.” 😉

    1. 🙂 Hahaha! I love when we tell God what to do and He so fatherly tells us “Okay?! Now do what I said.”

  5. “He created cabbages and He created me. However, He did not create me to be a cabbage. All those layers, whether dark or light green, He has asked and even invited me to allow Him to gently peel those away.”

    YES! Such great wisdom and vulnerability, Katie. Thank you for this! Pinned. 🙂

  6. I love how garden analogies speak into our heart so well. God spoke so much about gardening. This year has been a season of pruning and rest… not sure what vegetable I would be though.

  7. I love how you use the analogy of the layers ripping on a peeled cabbage to show how we can be damaged when anyone other than the Holy Spirit is peeling back our layers. So true. Only He could convict me on every little thing and not break me. He has grown me so much in the past decade. God is so good!

  8. Letting God peel away my layers has been painful and so freeing. We so easily resort to self protection. But why do we protect ourselves from the one who loves us so much?

  9. Great post. Thank you for sharing this post and being vulnerable. Have you ever read “Encouragement – the key to caring” by Lawrence J Crabb and Dan Allender? They talk about relating to each other without layers and how true encouragement comes when the encourager speaks a word from beneath their outer layers and penetrates to the other person’s inward layers. If we only relate from our outer layers, then there can never be true intimacy – which is sometimes broken down as the words “Into Me See” where the other person can truly see you.

  10. Katie, this may be one of my favorite posts from you guys to date. (and I’ve been moved by a bunch of them) I think that one of the biggest things that especially we as women struggle with is that we are expected to have such a perfect look, life and reality. With the perfect kids, and the perfect husband and the perfect jobs, and the perfect self. And, well, we don’t. We can’t. And that is ultimately because of our own sinful natures. And we can never begin to grow and flourish in the faith until we recognize that and trust in God for our salvation. We can’t truly change without him.

    1. Thank you so much Sarah!! I agree… there’s such a struggle, as a woman, to measure up. It’s tiring and draining and defeating. Truth is, we will NEVER be perfect and this is something I’ve had to accept. I don’t NEED perfection to be happy. I love what you said: “we can never begin to grow and flourish in the faith until we recognize that and trust in God for our salvation. We can’t truly change without him.” So much truth!! <3 <3

  11. Oh this was wonderful Katie! What a great analogy God gave you.

    Your quote at the beginning made me laugh out loud – “I’m just over here trying to not be a cabbage.” Perfect!

    I think we all battle His sometimes not so gentle exfoliation – but what a blessing it is to be refined into His image!

  12. Thank you for sharing a great reminder we are a work in progress and it’s okay. I love how you said “Those layers of sin I like to hang on to, God loosens them with compassion and mercy. It’s His nature; who He is.” Thank God for His unfailing love.

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