“You have no idea who I really am. No one does.”
These were the words that poured out of my seventeen year old mouth one night while sitting on a curb with my best friend. And I meant it. No one really knew me. At least, not the real me.
You see, I grew up in an environment where I believed that good or bad, you always put on a good face. To be weak was to be the unbelieving and faithless Christian. So I faked it.
I had the smile, the giddy personality and the super “I love Jesus forever and ever” persona down to an art form. I was the poster child youth group kid. On the outside, it looked like my life was perfect and I was lovin every minute of it. Inside, I was screaming. Hoping that somehow, someway someone could see through the facade. See me.
Fast forward to three days ago. Husband out of town, one sick kid, one wild preschooler and one worn out, stressed out, plain done mom. I wasn’t in a good place. I yelled at my kids when they didn’t deserve it. I swore to the heavens. I lied to my kids. I was lazy and disconnected and wanted nothing more than to just crawl into a hole and hide for a week. I was a mess.
Sunday came and I was barely able to muster the energy to take my kids and I to church. But I made it, all the while making sure they looked spotless, smiling and happy..and I did the same for myself. I smiled. I sang. I shook hands. Hugged my kids and greeted my friends with a smile. I put on my good “face” because that’s what I thought people wanted to see. But it wasn’t what I feeling. Not in the least.
Masks don’t take away our pain and struggle..they just cover it up.
I think I believed that if I tried hard enough to keep up the appearance that my life was good, somehow it would magically get better. But it didn’t, and I always ended up feeling worse because I felt hidden. I felt like no one knew, and even worse, that no one cared. But how could someone care for my pain if they never knew it was there in the first place?
Girls, I know some of you are desperately hurting right now. Your pain is kept locked up deep inside your heart as you fake your way through your day with a smile on your face. But that is no way to live. We both know that.
Showing our pain is hard. It’s vulnerable and exposing and scary. It let’s everyone know we don’t have it all together and maybe aren’t the pillar of strength everyone thought we were.
Pain kept hidden kills the soul. Pain revealed sets the soul free.
There’s a reason addresses pain so much. Because it’s real. Because we can’t escape it. And because we are never ever ever meant to walk through it alone.
“Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ” Galatians 6:2
Let’s break the chains of keeping up appearances. Let’s set ourselves free from the expectations that we have to be happy and perfect and good. Let’s show and share in one another’s hurts. Let’s cling to Christ and one another, reminding ourselves that we are never ever alone in the fight.
I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God. ~ Elizabeth Elliot
What are you hurting from today? Hold my hand and let’s walk into the storm together.