“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.” Brennan Manning

Friday, February 21, 2014

Hiding Behind a Smile

I smile a lot.

Sometimes it means I'm happy. Sometimes excited,
but sometimes it's a mask because I'm afraid to show my true emotions.

I don't want to drag people down and be a burden so I put on a smile and act like all is well. Fear and shame have kept me bound. "I'm too sensitive and insecure. I should just get over it. Really, I am no good and unlovable," are lies I've believed. What if I push you away?

My answer has been to hide - hide my pain, fear, and shadow side behind a smile. It protects me from being honest, keeping my life safely concealed.

Silently, I cry, "Help me," but I can not seem to muster up the courage to speak. I keep myself locked up in shame and self-contempt. I punish myself for having longings to be cherished and loved. I convince myself that if anyone saw the real me, they would snicker and judge - disapprove and discard. But I'm desperate for you to see through my facade, to hear my cries, and accept me for who I am. I want to know that my life counts - that I'm worth it.

Rejection, betrayal, and abuse are hard to just 'get over.' When trust is broken again and again, the risk to be vulnerable seems too great. Every time you're hurt, you add another layer of bricks to wall off your heart.

"I will never trust anyone again," I told myself when I was 13. I learned that one does best to bury her feelings and pain, and just put on a smile. Look good, work hard, and make everyone happy - that's the way to survive in this world.

While this works for a while, the blanket of denial and burden of grief becomes unbearable. Hopelessness, depression, and despair made me question, "Who am I? What's the point of my life?"

I saw myself a corpse lying on the floor wondering how I got here. What do I do? There's no one I can trust, no safe place to be. I am all alone - lost.

Thankfully, Jesus seeks the lost. He is near the brokenhearted. He sets the captives free. He is relentless in His pursuit and unwavering in His love. He captures me with His loving embrace and I let Him see ME just as I am. I weep.

He doesn't want my smile on the outside when I'm dying on the inside. He enters into my pain and suffers with me. He doesn't scold me for where I am. He accepts me just as I am. He covers my shame and calms my fears.

I am safe in Him. His promise to never leave my side comforts me. I am free to just be me and that's enough.

6 comments:

  1. There are so many 'happy' people who are hiding behind a smile. Thank you for the reminder that we all need to look deeper and offer kindness, friendship and love to everyone--not just the visibly sad.

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    1. Thank you for reading! I am thankful for a couple of people that saw me behind my masks, and loved me even in my mess - showing me the love of God and helping me believe in Love.

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  2. You are beautiful friend. I'm so touched by your honesty in your words. I truly would love to spend more time with you. Much love to you.

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    1. Beth, you are such a sweet encouragement to me! I hope we get to hang out more too! Thank you for your love!

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  3. Replies
    1. Love you , Esther! Thank you for reading, friend!

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