Removing the Mask

A few years ago I was sitting in a small group with a bunch of young moms. Our conversation went from cordial to very real and honest as we each admitted to the silent battle with anxiety we faced daily.

One by one, each of us shared how anxiety had gripped us, tried to steal precious moments with our little ones, and given us a thousand reasons to be afraid.

I walked away from our group time that night thinking, “wow, how refreshing to see the real side of these women.”

You see, each of these women had instagram accounts. And some of them were even what you would consider “influencers” with thousands of followers. Their pictures were beautiful, filled with smiling, modelesque children. Their entire family seemed to consistently match in designer clothes. Their figures were trim, their hair and make-up always on point. More than once I had played the comparison game and thought, “How is my life such a mess?!”

But that night, hidden beneath the layers of Instagram perfection, I got a real glimpse into their life. I saw some of the hidden pain and trauma they carried. And it all started when one person decided to open up. She bravely took down her mask, and soon all of us were sitting there, masks down and hearts open.

Pastor Jason encouraged us through Joshua this week as we encountered the Gibeonites in Joshua 9 . Out of fear, these people decided to lie to Joshua and the Israelites about their identity.

Fear is often our greatest motivator. And part of casting aside this habitual compulsion to lie out of self-preservation is accepting one beautiful truth…we can trust God’s protection of our safety and our heart.

We can choose to be vulnerable with someone else because ultimately, God is in charge of keeping us safe.

“Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.” (Psalm 32:10)

We are surrounded. We are protected…always.

How much would the culture of our small groups change if we decided to step out and be the vulnerable one? If we said, “God, I know you’re taking care of me and you will protect me, so I’m going first…”

That kind of vulnerability has a radical impact. It softens everyone in the room.

This week as we head into meetings, small groups, Bible studies and coffee dates…l
et’s pause just enough to open up our hearts and allow someone to see our pain. Let’s give them the safe place to be vulnerable. Watch and see what God will do. 
Erika Pizzo
Erika is the author of the blog where she encourages women to care for their mind, body, and spirit as they grow closer to Jesus. She also hosts the podcast “Temple Care” where she provides weekly messages of encouragement. Erika lives with her husband, daughter, son, and their fluffy poodle in sunny Southern California. Her two favorite things are a visit to the beach with a chai latte in hand.
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