I have been thinking about the things we hide. We humans are very good at hiding things. I guess is a survival skill in the world such as ours, hiding becomes a habitual coping mechanism. We believe our survival depends on keeping some things tucked safely away, never to be exposed to the scrutiny of others.
We want others to think we are younger than we really are, so ….. we lie about our age. We try to hide body fat under baggy, over-sized clothing. Thinking, if people cannot see them, then they do not exist.
10 years ago I started a magazine called “The Diplomat” and for the launch issue I had to go to the studio for a photo shoot. I had about 20 pictures taken, I was then asked to choose one picture out of the 20. Obviously I chose the one that I wanted others to see, the one that I thought represented me the best.
I don’t really like taking pictures but once in a while I do take selfies. Then I edit them, once I have successfully removed the parts of me I don’t want others to see, I find myself tempted to put them on my whatsup profile because it represents what I want others to see.
In this age of social media, it is so easy to be someone else, it is easy to fashioned ourselves into anything we want others to think we are. We put up the highlights of our lives on social media, where we always seem happier and better-off than we sometimes really are, then we edit out parts of our lives we don’t want others to see, and convince ourselves that if no one can see our struggles, then they are not real. Then we get so obsessed with protecting our image than we are with fixing the problem.
When we keep our struggles hidden, they become a wall of defense around us that prohibits others from getting close to us for fear that they’ll see what we are hiding.
When we keep our struggles hidden and unattended, then they grow bigger, and the more we hide, the more there is to keep hiding. “Like moss, shame grows in darkness. Bring it to the light and it can’t survive.” Unknown.
When we hide, we do not tell the truth to others, and to ourselves. We actually start lying to ourselves about our reality.
But when we open up about who we really are, the mistakes we have made, the pain we have suffered, we find our own freedom but above all we liberate others to find theirs as well. When we acknowledge our struggles we give others the much-needed permission to be human themselves. We inspire them to own the parts of their story that they may feel shame around.
When we hide our truth, we give others ammunition to use it against us, we allow their false stories to bury our truth. Brene Brown says when we own our own stories, we avoid being trapped as a character in the stories someone else is telling.
We, Christians are very good at hiding things. This stems from our belief that as Christians, we are supposed to have it all together, at all times. And as a result, we make conscious effort to cover up our struggles, and put on the religious mask.
We have mastered the art of pretending so much that we even take our mask to God. Forgetting that God cannot bless who we pretend to be.
In 2 Corinthians 12 v 9 God said to the Apostle Paul “My Grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” And Apostle Paul made this powerful confession, “therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
God’s Grace meets us where we are not where we pretend to be.
Our shortcomings, pain, hurt, doubt, shame, fear, anxieties and insecurities are no surprise to God. We may try to hide them from others, but we can’t hide them from the One who created us.