For every soul that sits in a pew on Sunday and hides behind their mask… my heart beaks again. I have sat there, too… and carried my very own bag of masks. It was a large bag and a heavy bag… A mask for every occasion. There was the one to convince the world that I was fine… the one that extended the implication that my life in fact was not broken in anyway. Interchangeable and with perfect façade, I hid behind those masks much too long.
For years I offered so many lies… to my family, to myself. A double life developed and because of those faithful masks I was able to pull it off. For a while anyway. It wasn’t so much that I thrived on the deception I had created and become, but rather that I was too afraid to be real and honest. It was easier to avoid the truth than to expose it. With such exposure would come the judgment, the ridicule, the looks. We all know how it goes and it is an unfortunate thing. I didn’t want to be the girl with issues, the girl who was imperfect and flawed, the girl who was damaged beyond repair… so I instead picked up that heavy bag of masks and settled for a subtle form of bondage.
The irony is that as long as we remain hidden, the enemy then remains victorious over our lives. We are already shackled and enslaved to secrecy and instead of freeing ourselves with the key in our hand, we chose to swallow it or throw it to the wind. Secrecy is a very dangerous arena in which to be found and as long as we remain in hiding, we are defeated. Where is the enemy in this scenario? Right in front of us laughing in our faces. Jesus said that He is The Way, The Truth and The Life… We claim to know Him yet why is it that we hide the truth? The truth is that which sets us free, so why is it that we instead pick up that familiar mask and suppress who we really are and what’s really going on in our lives? That is the opposite of freedom. We make it so easy for the enemy because we remain stuck in a delusional cycle running away from ourselves while making sure that we don’t leave any cracks that might offer a glimpse of the real the person behind the mask.
Because of my transparency and willingness to share the pages of my story on an unrestricted platform, it has triggered a numerous amount of people to reach out to me. Most, if not all, shared common and fearful confessions… the dominant one being; I can’t tell anyone else. I understand because I have felt that way at one point in my life, too. I can empathize, but at the same time it really truly does break my heart all over again. The world marches in parades to celebrate their “freedom” to be who they are and love who they love. They are not ashamed. They are not afraid. They are not bound to silence by what others will think or say, even if it stirs a negative response which it so often does. Conversely, we the church who boasts about a God who heals, delivers and sets free can’t even for a moment bare to expose that we are imperfect and do in fact have issues and areas that need to be touched by the hand of God.
Genesis 3:9 & 10 says, “But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; SO I HID.” It is in our human nature to hide what we know is not correct in our lives even since the beginning of time. Adam covered his nakedness, his sin, his mistake, his error. We do the same thing… Piling on another mask because of our paralyzing fear to acknowledge the truth.
Please understand… You are not the only one! There are other individuals, other parents, other families who are all hiding the same thing. I first shared my testimony four years ago and several people responded to something they heard and related to… be it the sexual abuse, addiction, depression and even lesbianism/homosexuality. However, since I decided to respond to God’s instruction to take a stand and with greater boldness share the story of my own sexual struggles, I am often flooded with people asking for help. So, as I said… You are not alone. There are so many others, but if we remain hidden behind that mask then healing lingers just out of our reach. I am not advocating that we pour our life and soul out for the world to see… We certainly must be cautious and wise, but I am stressing that freedom begins with our confession.
The Body of Christ is in agreement that our time left in this world is short and that we are down to the last minutes, if not seconds. What would I say if God one day asked me, “I gave you that struggle, that weakness, that thorn… so that through your victory others would come to know me – why did you instead hide it?” A friend posted a thought the other day and included the phrase, “It’s now or never.” I can’t shake that from my mind. Do it now! Make the choice to be free and then help someone else find their freedom. It’s ok to put down your mask… and when you do, others will find the confidence to do the same.