So with a painted grin, I play the part again,
So everyone will see me the way that I see them…
Are we happy plastic people, under shiny plastic steeples,
with walls around our weakness and smiles to hide our pain,
but if the invitation’s open,
to every heart that has been broken, maybe then we close the curtain,
on our stained glass masquerade…. Casting Crowns in Stained Glass Masquerade
by Casting Crowns
lyrics from the song
Stained Glass Masquerade
I see it often, the church foyer full of people spilling out of the sanctuary and classrooms, greetings with hugs and smiles, "How are you?"s met with "I'm fine"s. Yet behind the the happy faces, eyes tell a different story--weariness, pain, worry, inadequacy, struggle. They're holding something back.
When I notice it, I keep asking questions. I listen intently. I watch closely. Eventually I'll ask, "What's the matter? Are you really okay?" Sometimes they fess up and release whatever is bothering them, sometimes not.
I know. I've done it too. Is it necessary for everyone to know all your junk? They're only being polite, not really wanting an earful from you. You don't want to get into it all. You tell yourself your issue is probably stupid and will make you look foolish. No, better keep it to yourself.
But what if we risked it? What if someone asked "How are you?" on a tough hormonal day or after a rough week at work or when the morning with your teenager left you feeling angry and incompetent, and you told them the truth? Is there relief in sharing the burden? Could we find a kindred spirit, an encouraging word, a helper for a difficult journey? Could the kindness and prayers of another lift you, enabling you to push through?
If we don't trust others with our true thoughts and feelings, are we missing out on God's provision? Opening ourselves up makes us stronger, utilizes the gifts of His people and teaches us how to develop intimacy, a vital ingredient in any satisfying association, including our relationship with Almighty God.
If we get too used to hiding ourselves from others, will it cause us to hide ourselves from God?
Do I damage my connection with Him by not being honest? If I practice saying the "right" things to people, it may become easier do so with my Lord. When I put on a good Christian facade with Him, denying any ugly feelings, do I get stuck in a stale, impersonal relationship with Him? Does He shake His head wondering why I don't trust Him? How can He heal my hurts if I don't acknowledge them?
Oooh, that's dangerous territory, friends. We can't let it happen. Let's be honest with each other and destroy Satan's stained glass masquerade. Let's reveal our own pain, helping others do the same, taking off our masks to find strength in true relationship with both God and man.
It's worth the risk.
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