“The deep truth is that our human suffering need not be an obstacle to the joy and peace we so desire, but can become, instead, the means to it. The great secret of the spiritual life, the life of the Beloved Sons and Daughters of God, is that everything we live, be it gladness or sadness, joy or pain, health or illness, can all be a part of the journey toward the full realization of our humanity. It is not hard to say to one another: ‘All that is good and beautiful leads us to the glory of the children of God.’ But it is very hard to say: ‘But didn’t you know that we all have to suffer and thus enter into our glory?’ Nonetheless, real care means the willingness to help each other in making our brokenness into the gateway to joy.”
— Henri Nouwen, The Life Of The Beloved
The great lie religion has taught us is that we must put on our masks and keep up an outward appearance of holiness, false joy in the midst of our pain and stuggles. We are afraid to show our ‘true selves’ in our brokeness, pain and suffering, not realizing this is all part of the sanctification process. There is a much deeper work taking place in our moments of pain. The pain we endure should only remind us that without Christ we are nothing.
Why do try so desperately to hide our struggles? Keep up a holy appearance in the midst of turmoil?
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
A mask of gold hides all deformities.
The creation of the mask.
The “you” that you are willing to let the world see.
However it started and however it was reinforced – what we want to look at is how we can take the mask off and start to be real with the people around us.
Take off the mask? Why risk it?
This is how most of us think, at least subconsciously. We don’t want to risk letting people see the bad stuff in us. If we let people see just the good stuff – if we never let them see the bad stuff – we will be accepted and will be able to enjoy good friendships with others around us.
There is a major fault to this line of thinking!
Think about it. If you are being accepted by the people around you because of the false front you present – then deep down you know that it is only the false front that is being accepted – not the real you.
The real you will remain terribly alone.
And you know it. That is why so many women who we see as “picture perfect” are in reality struggling with deep insecurities.
Do not be satisfied with lukewarm relationships. Be willing to risk vulnerability.
What do you rob yourself of when you live life behind the mask?