The Gift of Seeing Who We Really Are

I have always prided myself on my ability to handle and carry a lot. I am an achiever. I can be self-reliant. So much so that it is easy for me to rely on my own strength rather than God’s. Or other people’s.

But there is no humanly possible way to shoulder the weight of both a sick spouse (my husband was diagnosed with cancer at age 43) and children who are undoubtedly struggling to understand it all— plus my own emotional upheaval. Over the past year it quickly became obvious that I needed to change. My heart needed to change. Pride can keep us too private, maybe too independent. I’ve spent my life carrying more than I needed to, and it took something tragic like my husband’s cancer diagnosis for me to once and for all give everything over to God and let others in.

One of the gifts God gives us in our suffering is the gift of seeing who we really are. The layers get pulled back. Our eyes are opened and our hearts are exposed. That’s what happened to the disciples who found themselves in a boat in the middle of a stormy lake. They not only discovered who Jesus was but also who they were.

Sometimes this discovery can feel a little discouraging!

There are all sorts of ways that we deal with who we really are, aren’t there?

We can pretend. So we work hard to maintain an image. Look a certain way. Keep people at a distance so they don’t figure out who we really are. We share only what benefits us and makes us look good. All in an effort to keep up an appearance of having it together.

We can blame. It’s always someone else’s fault, never ours. We blame it on a friend or set of circumstances. Anything to keep the blame from us. We never own our part or the sin we bring to the table.

We can minimize, acting like our sin isn’t that big of a deal. My sin isn’t that bad, is it?

And, of course, we can defend our sin. Put the blame on someone or something else. We get defensive when confronted and explain everything away.

Ruth Schwenk
Ruth Schwenk
Ruth Schwenk is the founder of a popular blog,, and is co-founder with her husband Patrick of and a new podcast, Rootlike Faith. Ruth has authored several books, including Pressing Pause Devotional, Settle My Soul with Karen Ehman, The Better Mom Book and Devotional. Ruth and Patrick Schwenk’s latest book is In a Boat in the Middle of a Lake: Trusting the God Who Meets Us in Our Storm (September 2020).

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