Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hiding



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.

Join the rest of the In "Other" Words gang at Writing Canvas.

6 comments:

Karen said...

It all requires balance. Sometimes we spill out more than we need to other times we try to hide more than we should. Our fellow Christians are people who are there to help us and see us thru and there comes a time when most of us need that. It needs to be used not abused.

Nic said...

We can never hide from God, though we may want to at times. It's just a blessing to know that He's always there, even when we can't be open with others at the time. I'm thankful that He is patient with us until we can acknowledge the hurts and fears.

Patricia said...

Wonderful question...pondering it all day: "Are we hiding from God?"

Thank you for your thought-provoking post today.

Claudia said...

Trusting others is such risky business. Thank you for the encouragement to trust, because in trusting others we are also trusting God.

LittleWomen21 said...

I love how these links reveal different takes on the quote. Like viewing something from different angles and different lighting, but in our cases, coming from different backgrounds.

This is a good point: "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."

Wow, that's so true, intimacy really is a key ingredient not only in our relationship with God and with our family, but with our church family too. I like your approach to getting beyond the "how are you" "I'm fine" typical exchange. I think the quote from the pastor at the Writing Canvas post is really a good method for opening that door to transparency and intimacy.

By the way, if you get a chance, can you explain how to set off quotes in a colored box? Can't figure out how to that.

Michelle Bentham said...

"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."

And that does become the question... Am I missing something He wants to offer me by holding back how I am really doing?

On the flip side, am I missing an opportunity by not asking Him what He sees in that hurting person before me... It is a challenge this walk of faith, But the reward of His presence and His love expressed to and through us is so worth the journey. Don't you think?

Blessings.