People tend to generalize where they live with respect to the weather. I live in a part of the country where it is known to be rainy and damp a lot of the time. San Francisco’s weather is known for being foggy and changeable. Phoenix is pretty much just hot, and the south is humid. And, let’s face it, 99% of the time, the climate in Hawaii is heaven on earth.
When I became a Christian, I generalized how people who called themselves Christians should act by watching other Christians, instead of reading the bible and following Jesus’ example. I knew to “fit in” at church and other places of christian fellowship meant to conceal or mask who I truly was, and play a part, to emulate people that looked like they had it all together and were giving it all up for Jesus.
Sample conversation at church about 10 years ago:
“Hi, how are you?” “Fine, and Yourself?” “Fine”.
What you don’t see is the fact that I am holding back the tears in my eyes due to the fact that I am not fine, but I can’t show my weakness, except in asking for prayer from a prayer partner, for my weakness. It was like being on the Holo-deck on the TV show Star Trek.
What I didn’t see in an amongst my church family at the time was what was behind the act. The chapter that nobody reads out loud. The pain, the stumbling, the struggles we all face. These were kept hidden, because it was commonly accepted that if you were experiencing a great deal of dysfunction and upheaval, then one could question your commitment to God and to faith in Jesus. If there was a problem that bubbled up, it was whispered about and brushed away. Thus, we all pulled on the mask or concealer of flaws, of the things that we considered “unlovely.”
Thankfully, at some point, this is yanked off, or falls away or is plain dropped because of the sheer weight of having to “fix up” every time we have to be around certain people who expect us to be shiny-happy. That’s when we start the journey of finding that God loves us for who we truly are underneath it all. And, wonderfully enough, we find that there are others that love and appreciate us, too!
That’s why I am so grateful for my recovery fellowship and my accountability peeps. They know the real me, the one that was afraid to be known all those years ago. The me that cringed inside when I heard a godly speaker talk about loving each other and ourselves, being honest with ourselves and with God. Because I sure wasn’t. But now, I live in freedom and truth. No turning back for this girl.
Dear ones, the road can get rocky as the mask disintegrates. We may need a guide, or counselor to help dig into more serious self-love and acceptance issues, and there are a lot of options out there. Know when to ask for help.