Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Behind the Mask

I wrote the below blog last night...mostly to get my thoughts out of my head and onto paper. I debated whether or not to share my thoughts and felt like God gave me the green light...and yet, I want to preface these words with my thoughts the morning after - God is good. I still have heart is still mind still does not understand...but my heart very clearly says - God is good.

I pray you find His goodness today as well...and with that, here are my night thoughts:

My heart is heavy…I mean really heavy. And I’m wondering – does anyone else sense this? In the midst of corporate conversation I hear talk of sports teams and babies…the mundane of our lives, and we talk prettily and say the right things and then we go on with life as we know it. But privately…in my office…and on the phone…and in my living room I have had so many heart-breaking conversations lately.

Loneliness and impending divorce. Tales of abuse and the subsequent havoc it has wreaked on lives. Multiple young people coming to confess one night stands and seeking healing to a bleeding heart in it’s aftermath. Diagnosis that seem hopeless and the deaths of parents – young parents…with weeping kids left behind.

Maybe this is just life but I’m not sure. ..maybe it’s different – huge storms across the globe threatening people who have given their lives for others…and a sense that there are other storms brewing in hearts and minds and lives all around me. So my heart is heavy and my emotions are exhausted.

I’ve stopped giving answers of any sort…I’ve stopped trying to say the right thing – and I’m just trying to be Paige. And yet I’m failing at that too – with so many people needing more than I can give I’m literally at that place of saying, “God, not only do I surrender my life, but here are all of these other lives that I often try to fix…I don’t know…I don’t know what to say…what to do…how to help…can you just show up. Can you be there in the tears and in the questions and in those hidden thoughts when smiles on their faces are nothing more than masks? And will you please…please give me wisdom.”

Josh and I preached at our church this past weekend. We told our story of financial failure and I talked for quite a bit about taking off the masks we wear. I talked about how exhausting it is the keep up the charade…I talked about how those masks keep us at arms length from God and those who want to be in our lives. And as I talked…as I shared from my own pain…there were eyes filled with tears…and afterwards I had more than one conversation where there was a longing to know what life might be like without that charade…to be vulnerable and honest…to have permission to speak freely.

Yet today, as I talked with a friend – she challenged me that the idea of taking off our masks is just that – an idea…a hope…wishful thinking that occasionally becomes reality with a close friend. But for the majority of the time the mask has to stay on firmly because people don't know what to do when they really hear of our pain or doubts. I realized that she was right. We don't know how to respond so we avoid asking the real questions - we feel we must have an answer or a quick fix so we content ourselves with talking about the superficial...So here is my attempt to not be a hypocritical pastor…here is what is behind my mask – a heavy heart.

I’m asking God a lot of hard questions this week…hoping He will answer one or two. I have a hard question for you I the only one sensing this? Do see lives bleeding and crumbling around you too? If so, how are you responding? And if not, when was the last time you really tried to listen to what is behind peoples' masks?


Angie Classen said...

I love this post and how honest it is. I see the same things at the church I work at in Tulsa. So much pain each week as we pray in staff lunch for the 100 or so people in the hospital or at death's door. There are so many friends of mine who have watched their dreams evaporate before their eyes. I find myself not knowing what to say either. I just try to be there and not hand them a cliche line, but walk with them through the pain. I'm praying for God's wisdom and guidance during these times and believing that when it's my turn to face the pain that I will find strength in God and from the comfort of others.

Brittaney said...

I can relate to this, in many ways. I have come to believe that the best thing we can do, is give the gift of presense. Just be there. Just offer a shoulder or listening ear. Just be a witness of the journey, a fellow traveler. Just partner in prayer in seeking answers. I can't tell you how much of a difference it has made in my life when I am given that gift.That is really all we have to offer anyway.

Sarah said...

Hi Paige,

First of all, LOVED hearing you and Josh teach this past weekend. Thank you for sharing. I hear what you are saying and often feel the same way. I don't know if I have an answer or if there is one. But I often become frustrated or heavy hearted for the hearts of those around me and for the world that is trying to cover up so much hurt and pain. I think it is a privilege that you see what you do because, we are able to carry this burden with the Lord. I think it's time to do more praying, repenting and interceding for God's people instead of trying to "fix". It's hard when you are discouraged and when everything around you seems broken. I will spend time praying for you and your heavy heart.

Jennifer said...

I have written and re-written a comment for your blog all day...but it all seemed too much or not enough.

So I will just say, that I am bearing a heavy heart as well. And though the specific aspects are slightly different, the root is still very much the same.

And I have seen a glimmer of hope, in even the last 24 hrs, because of your realness and knowing that I am not the only one feeling this way.

Love you Paige.

Kayla said...

Yes, yes and YES! Just saying - I'm right there with you... and wonder where to go from here.

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