A place full of perfect people hiding behind masks.
Masks that cover their insecurities, their imperfections, their heartaches, their struggles, and their pain.
People who would never dare to put that mask down and admit that life is less than perfect.
That they are lonely.
That they are hopeless.
That they are scared.
That life is nothing near to how they imagined it to be.
That they are not as tough on the inside as they seem to be on the outside.
That they fight battles behind closed doors for days, months, maybe years that they have never told anyone about.
That they don’t know how much longer they can handle going through their valley, their desert, or their storm.
Because telling anyone how they really feel would be unheard of.
It would be breaking some kind of Christian code.
One where you can never be vulnerable enough to show anyone what’s really going on inside.
One where you hide your struggles because if you are in Christ – well, why would you struggle anyway?
So people hide behind masks.
Live in their pain secretly and alone.
Hold back from sharing their stories.
In fear of being misunderstood, exposed, condemned, and judged.
And even when they have victory in their battles, when they withstand temptations, when they overcome their fears they still keep silent.
Because that would still mean being vulnerable.
And it’s easier to deal with our pain alone then risk the uncertainty of what could happen if we shared our story. Our tragedy. Our struggle. Our past.
Why share your abusive past, your addiction to drugs, your tragic family history, your battle with an illness?
Why open that door that will remind you of your struggle, your shame, and your pain?
Why be vulnerable and real in the middle of a masquerade?
Because your story is not for you to hide, it’s for you to share.
I read a powerful statement last week:
“Your story is the key that can unlock someone else’s prison. Share your testimony” – Pastor John Hagee
Sometimes it is the very same pain that kept you up in tears for many nights, the same addiction that kept you in chains, the same struggle that kept you battling on your knees that can change someone else’s life if you are not too afraid to share it.
I’ve been listening to Rick Warren’s podcasts recently as he shared about his wife and his recovery and heartache after their son’s suicide (who was battling mental illness) and just like he said about his own struggle and his own story: God didn’t pull you of that dark place so you could keep it to yourself. He pulled you out so you can pull others out also.
You have the power to turn your sorrow into someone else’s hope.
To turn your pain into someone else’s victory.
To turn your past addiction into someone else’s freedom.
By simply sharing your story.
“God often uses our deepest pain as the launching pad of our greatest calling – He can turn your deepest heartache and misery into your ministry.” -Kimberly Jones Pothier
Often times it is the thing that you thought would keep you imprisoned forever that will be the very tool God will use to help set others free.
I have come across many people who have turned their pain into hope for so many people who are in that same prison they were once in.
Parents who share their story of raising special needs children or struggling with not being able to bear children.
Women who share their story of recovering from an abusive past.
Men who share their story of being set free from addiction.
People who share their story or battling fatal illnesses.
Sometimes when I see great women and men of God who run different organizations and ministries that help those in need – rehab centers, recovery centers for abused victims, orphanages, and more I wonder what it was that motivated them to begin such an organization.
To go out of their way to help those people in need.
To reach out to others in such a unique way.
And often times I discover that the people who help those in need are people that were once in those same exact shoes.
Walking through the same pain.
Living the same story.
The little girl that was abused by her dad for years when she was a child is the woman that runs the organization to help those who are recovering from abuse.
That boy that grew up dealing drugs and living from one high to another with no hope for a future and no way of escape is the man who is opening rehab centers to help those who want to find freedom from addiction.
That same father who struggles daily with a disabled or mentally ill child is the pastor that offers hope and encouragement to families going through issues from the pulpit every week.
These people chose to be different.
To go against the crowd.
To put their masks down.
And help those around them.
To turn their pain into their greatest calling.
To turn their past misery into their present ministry.
To turn their personal heartache into someone else’s hope.
And every day you can choose to do the same.
You can hide behind your mask.
Or you can share your story.
Like Sarah did about her journey with chronic fatigue.
“My illness has tattooed into me the exclusive pass code to a world where hurting people need hope. People come to me, and listen to me, because they see in me someone who has been there and survived. It is a privileged position to be in.”
Like Tami did about losing her mother.
“While trials are hard to stand through, and often painful, when we stay tenderhearted and teachable through them, the Lord can direct us to others who are dealing with similar trials. If we developed compassion, empathy, and greater faith in the Lord, we can comfort others and help them through their difficulties.”
Maybe in the end your trial, your pain, and your story isn’t really all about you.
Maybe it’s about the people that will walk into your life that need someone to encourage them that has walked through their trial. Through their suffering. Through their pain.
Maybe it’s only an open door of opportunity for you to help those that only you can help because you have been in their shoes and can understand them in a way no one else can.
Maybe your pain is really just a blessing waiting to lighten the burdens of others.
“God uses everything in our past, however painful. We gain experience through our struggles. Use your pain for someone else’s gain.” – Nicky Gumbell
Whenever I am going through trials I always remind myself that this is just yet another way I can one day help others who will one day walk through that same trial.
It will be just one more opportunity for me to use my own testimony to help unlock someone else’s prison.
It will be one more way I can use to glorify God.
Today… don’t be part of the masquerade.
Don’t hide behind your mask in shame.
Don’t be too scared to share your struggles, your trials, and your pain.
Because you never know who needs to hear it.
Who will find freedom in Christ because of it.
Whose life will change forever.
God wants to redeem your story and use it for something greater.
Don’t keep it inside.
Be blessed! -Anna… ♥
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”-Galatians 6:2
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