Over the last several weeks, Pastor Craig Groeschel from Life Church, has been teaching on a series called Masquerade. Masquerade is about the real side of ourselves that nobody else sees and tearing down the facade that we sometimes feel we must hide behind.
Yesterday he issued a challenge that we share with the people around us the things that may be keeping us from experiencing a real relationship with God and our community. I agree that when we build up huge walls it’s difficult, if not impossible, to see the world around us — as well as for people to see us for who we really are. I’ve been building an enormous castle for a very long time, but because of the Masquerade series I’ve decided it is time to smash it down. Letting down my guard may open myself up to attacks, but I am at a point in my life where I would rather face an outside enemy than keep the deadly enemy within myself constrained. It is time to stop lying and experiencing joy again.
I AM ANGRY
My dad passed away unexpectedly at the age of 51 in 1991. It has been nineteen years and there have been periods of time where this tragic event in my life was shuffled way back into my mind, but for some reason, I believe the pain is still there. It should not have been this way. However, I’m convinced that because of this event, it allowed me to find a loving God whom I never knew before and it dramatically changed my life for the best.
I’m also angry at how life has turned out in some ways. I shut down my own business to join a different business venture that ended only after two years. While there were many awesome and positive things that I experienced on that journey, there were also some big potholes on that rocked my world. It truly bothers me how it all ended up but I’m trying really hard to leave it all in the past.
I AM BITTER
Men usually base their value on what the world defines as being successful such as careers, wealth, and industry recognition. I’m no different. I poured my life into two previous businesses that I hoped would be the ones I retired from, but they didn’t work out and I had to start over. I’ve paid my dues for over a decade and invested all I could into building my career, only to see younger or less experienced people fast-track on past me or reap much bigger fruits. Yet I also realize that I’m blessed in ways that truly matter and do my best to focus on the blessings instead of what I don’t have.
I AM SAD
Turning 40 and having a teenager turn 18 and getting ready to fly the nest in the same year feels like a double whammy. No doubt these are awesome milestones to celebrate and embrace, but the reality is that I’ve really struggled with them.
I AM CYNICAL
My lack of belief and trust in most people has come through my experience of being stabbed in the back too many times by Christians and non-Christians alike. My world has become jaded and the people I feel I can totally trust can be counted on one hand. I’m like the wolf in Dances with Wolves – cautious, leery of humans, and at times prefer to just keep to myself. These traits are neither healthy or beneficial, but it is how I have become.
I AM CHANGING
I’ve only touched the surface on some of the things that have robbed me of my joy and relationship with God. It’s been a rough few years! But it’s time to let the wounds heal and to begin living a life filled with happiness again. My family has suffered because of my mood swings and I’ve not been the person I used to be. On the surface it may appear that I have it all together, but deep down these situations have caused much grief and suffering.
I’ll admit that I’m blessed beyond measure compared to so many people’s lives and situations, but in order for me to fully understand and accept this, I had to drop my mask today. I’m not sure if these admissions will hurt my business or credibility. I’m not sure if I’ll be ridiculed or mocked. I do know this; it is time for me to bring change and that this is a very big step in the process. If this challenge on transparency heals the wounds and allows me a new freedom I haven’t experienced for some time, then it is totally worth any repercussions that may eventually come.
Thank you Pastor Craig for your challenge and for a smack down series at Life Church!