I wrote this post about six months after I was finally able to open up to people in order to become closer to them and to grow myself. I’m still a firm believer in breaking the mask.
Originally published: 12/9/16
Are we happy plastic people?
Under shiny plastic steeples?
With walls around our weakness?
And smiles that hide our pain…
I’ve worn a smile that hides my pain more than I care to admit. And the walls around my weakness? Yep, been there. The mask of plastic? Worn it.
Casting Crowns’ Stained Glass Masquerade does quite a good job of capturing just what it is to hide your true self behind a mask.
And I don’t mean that stuff about who you really are in a Disney way. I mean it in a Christian way. Even though I had the head knowledge that I could exchange man’s judgement for God’s, I didn’t believe it until this past summer.
“Yeah, okay, I’m being who God wants me to be. I don’t worry about what other people think about me because I don’t have to.”
Right. That’s what I told people. “It’s all under control.”
But that’s part of the mask. It’s not all under control. At any given point in time, something’s not going to be perfect, but why does anyone else need to know that? I just kept it inside. As I smiled and said I was doing splendidly, my inside voice whisper-screamed, “No! I’m not okay! I can’t do this any more!”
That’s one I thought over and over again. “I can’t do this any more!” Meaning school, friends, church, family. It’s exhausting to be acting constantly. But guess who I told? No one. Because what if they judged me? What if they had it all together and I would just look bad if I told them I didn’t?
It turns out, no one has it all together. And it also turns out that a lot of other people don’t want to share their problems either. That’s what I learned this summer. Written like that, it looks pretty depressing. But when you add the third thing I learned, it sounds a little more comforting.
Everything is better when you share your life with other people.
They can pray for you, they can hold you accountable, they can comfort you. The people around you are struggling too. And they want to help.
I refused to realize that completely until this summer. When I had to, I would give some small struggle that wasn’t really the whole picture. I thought that would fool people. It didn’t. When I finally opened up this summer, or, rather, took off the mask, I found out that you can’t actually hide yourself from the people who love you and that it’s not worth it to try.
I don’t have some huge climax to this story, but I will tell you that it’s made my life so much better to let other people see that I’m only human. I feel free – I’m not locked behind an image that I wanted the world to see. Now I can actually care what God thinks. And people still love me.
But if the invitation’s open
to every heart that has been broken,
maybe then we close the curtain
on our stained glass masquerade.