It starts somewhere in our childhood. The first time we realize that we’re really scared. Maybe it’s sleeping without the nightlight for the first time. Or riding our bike without the training wheels. Or facing a bully alone.
We put on a brave face—because that’s what strong people do—and suffer through something alone and scared knowing that we must because our parent’s hand is just out of reach.
As we grow older, we perfect the skill. Through middle school when we feel like we have to say things we don’t want to say. Through high school when we’re pressured to do things we are certain we shouldn’t. And even through college and our first job when how we handle scary situations become part of our success or failure.
We hone our brave faces until they mold perfectly. So perfectly, in fact, that we begin to forget they’re there and they become our fine that helps us through life’s painful moments.
- When our marriage is falling apart and we tell everyone we’re fine because the pain is too much to talk about.
- When our health is struggling and we tell everyone we’re fine so they won’t feel burdened by us.
- When our financial situation is desperate and we tell everyone we’re fine so we don’t further embarrass ourselves.
- When our children are struggling and we tell everyone we’re fine so we don’t let them know that we think parenting is really hard.
Until one day we just can’t lift the mask again. Our arms are suddenly incredibly weak, from years of holding it in place. We look around at those who would mock us (and maybe at some we know are mocking us) and decide that we don’t care what they think anymore. We’re sick to death of pretending and we let the mask drop.
Offering the rest of the world a look at what God already sees.
It’s in those moments of surrender—those broken moments where we feel we’re just a shell of who we once were—that He finds us most precious, and that we open ourselves up to a life that’s real. When we come to him with the same passion we had for pretending to be brave and instead admit that we’re scared to death—that we need Him to hold us—that we begin to feel again.
Because there is freedom in admitting we’re scared.
In a world that competes through social media, and friendships that can’t bear anything deeper than an excuse to get together and gossip, we’re masters of the brave face.
In a society where we agree with things we don’t believe for fear of being judged, and are scared to fight for things we do believe for fear of being outcasts, we’re masters of the brave face.
Until we begin to see it for what it really is:
Nothing more than a barrier between what we have and what we really want.
A mask that keeps a wall between us and the people in our lives that we wish would dig deeper. People that won’t know what we’re going through unless we let that mask drop. And allow them the chance to see us—possibly for the first time.
And there’s beauty in watching that mask fall. In seeing a friend give in so that God can have room to work. Beauty in seeing them realize that His hand is not so far away after all.
Ironically, that may be the bravest thing of all.
Want to hear other stories of women being brave? Stop by Proverbs31 Speaker, Suzie Eller’s, blog hop.
Want to connect with other single moms of faith? Stop by The Christian Single Mom on facebook to join the conversation!