On Thursday, June 30 Categories:

I've met someone like this before, haven't you?

Walking down the sidewalk in town you meet Mrs. So-and-so from church. She's a friendly sort and you start up a conversation. You stand in wonder as everything always seems to be perfect in her life. She has the perfect family with a husband who has a perfect job. She never seems to have problems with her teenage children and she's never on the prayer request chain at church so she must never need help. How can that be? Doesn't she ever have problems like I do? Is there never any stress or strain on her personal life? Don't her kids ever cause her any problems at all? What's up with this lady?

Last year in our Bible study group, we talked about the masks we wear to church and out in public. Through the weeks we studied together it become pretty clear that the real people coming to our study were not the same ones we all saw in public. The people at this table were dealing with bad relationships, children in trouble, deaths of a spouse and a ton of stress in their personal lives-but you'd never know it. So what's with the mask of everything-is-just-fine-in-my-life when you're out in public?

We decided during that Bible study to take off our masks whenever we met each other in church, in town, wherever. If we had a bad night, a bad week, or things in general weren't going well and someone asked us the usual question, "Hey, how are you doing?" we would lay it on 'em, be truthful, and not hold anything back. We made a pledge that whatever was shared in our meetings wouldn't go any further. Maybe you can imagine how close this group got over the course of a year. We learned about aging parents, troubled teens, hurting husbands and wives, all the stuff we stuff behind our everyday masks. It was a humbling experience for someone like me who was a stuffer.

Quite a few of our ladies didn't know what to say at first, but soon I heard them talking to other people in the same fashion. I was floored! They were actually opening up to each other and bearing one another's burdens! That's what God commands us to do in Galatians 6:2. With this opening up came the assurance that they would be prayed for; knowing someone is praying for you is an emotional lifter, an encouragement, and a joy! If that's what happens when you take off your mask why have we waited so long?

So are you brave enough to take off your mask today? Open up and share what's on your heart with a trusted believer. Pray for each other. Get involved in each other's lives by being a good listener and don't hold anything back when it comes to being REAL!

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Terre K Ritchie, Executive Director, CBH Ministries

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