Stained Glass Masquerade

I have been wandering through the mire of perception vs. reality today. Genuine vs. fake. Authentic vs. copy.
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My devotions this morning began with 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, which says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”
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We are all aware that other people have trouble. We all know that people don’t live the perfect, plastic lives that it seems they do. And when we compare ourselves to others, we are generally looking at our worst in light of their best (or the front they put on).
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It made me think of the song “Stained Glass Maquerade” by Casting Crowns. The lyrics are something like:
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Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin’ so small
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Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they’ll soon discover
That I don’t belong
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So I tuck it all away, like everything’s okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I’ll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them
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Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
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But if the invitation’s open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade
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Is there anyone who’s been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who’s traded
In the altar for a stage
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The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart
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But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be
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Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay
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Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
.
But if the invitation’s open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade
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We have all had bad days, days where you could cut the tension with a knife, days where nothing is going right and it feels like your whole world is crumbling around you… and you don’t know what to do or where to turn.
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So when you go outside of your door, you smile and nod as people greet you with, “Good morning! How are you?” But they don’t really want to know, and you don’t really want them to know. “Great! Everything is just great!” you answer to no one in particular.

Here’s my question. Where is the transparency? Why do we feel like we cannot be honest with each other? What is so frightening about saying, “If you really want to know, it has been a lousy morning and I’m ready to explode?”

I think there are several reasons we are afraid to be transparent, but pride is at the root of most of them. We are not willing for others to see us as we really are – a frail human being. I’m not saying that we should launch into a liturgy of complaints every time someone asks how we are, but I am saying that we need to be more transparent. Jesus was.

Jesus wept when His friend, Lazarus, died. When money-changers defiled the temple, Jesus was furious and drove them out with a whip. On the cross, Jesus cried out to God, “Why have You forsaken me?” Jesus was a frequent guest at wedding celebrations and had a sense of humor. He was authentic and real and wants us to live our life with that same emotional integrity and transparency.

In order to understand what transparency is, we need to understand what it is not. Transparency is not a license to rip someone apart or tell them off. I know what it is like to take an emotional risk only to be blasted under the guise of “just being honest.” Transparency is not revenge in disguise nor does it give us permission to unload every problem we have on everyone we meet.

Transparency is being willing to let others see who we really are and what is really going on in our heart and life. Like the verse I quoted above, I believe that comfort and encouragement are cyclical. And if we can’t open up about our struggles, how are we to encourage someone else in their time of need?

When I continually choose to be transparent about my struggles, I am positioning myself to receive and give comfort and encouragement to others fighting that same battle. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? It is – if we choose to be transparent.

The purpose of this blog is to help me take off the masks I hide behind. I want to be real and authentic in a way that pleases God and encourages others. I am sometimes afraid to be honest about who I am and what I am going through. I just pray that God would give me the strength to walk through that fear and be the transparent woman he created me to be.

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About Shannon Joy

I am a single mother of two incredible munchkins. I pray a lot, work a lot, learn a lot, volunteer a lot and tend to do a lot... I love my life. The past few years have been an incredible journey, full of ups and downs. Thankfully, I have made the choice to see challenges as opportunities and it makes me so much stronger than I ever thought possible. I love to write and paint and feel that being creative is my God-given talent. I am so excited to share my life and experiences with you. Although I am a diamond in the rough, I known that I am being chiseled and hewn by God's grace and my own perseverance. I love comments and feedback, so please send a little love when you can. I will always try to respond personally and in a timely fashion.
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