By Rick Moore
The Lone Ranger, Phantom of the Opera, and Batman all have something in common: They wear a mask. A mask usually hides the identity of a person. Each year on October 31st, children of all ages dress up for the purpose of pretending to be someone they are not. Last year I saw a student at the Destiny Fall Festival wearing a different type of mask. It was a clear mask. He was dressed as a scuba diver. His mask was different because a clear mask provides protection without disguise.
How transparent are you? Do you struggle with the balance between transparency and too much information? Is it possible others may use your past failures against you? Can you bring embarrassment to your family and friends if you open up? Will you loose the respect and confidence of those you work with if you share your shortcomings?
Behind many Facebook and Instagram images of smiling friends who seem to have it all together are hurting people masking the pains of life. They hide the scars of the past from all but a handful of close friends. Sometimes if a person comes to them for advice, they share their personal struggles so others know they are not alone. But most folks remain guarded. Our church has a ministry named “Small Groups.” Dozens of gatherings are held throughout the Emerald Coast, each with approximately ten to twenty people meeting in homes. Even in these smaller, intimate settings, it takes time to build trust. However, once one person opens up, others usually feel free to share what they have been going through.
Sometimes people do not plan when, where, and with whom they choose to become transparent. Often this can happen over lunch, while eating ice cream together, or on a trip to the movies. If someone is in a crisis they may need to see a professional counselor, but it is amazing how many issues are solved simply by having someone who cares to listen.
Willing to be humble and admit what you are going through takes courage. If you are taking yourself and your reputation too seriously, here are three letters that can help: LAF. Learn to LAF… Love, Accept, and Forgive. LAF at yourself. LAF at your work. LAF at your family. LAF at anyone or anything keeping you up at night. Help others to LAF. It’s amazing how free we feel when we learn to LAF.
Recently, two guys from our church went scuba diving at a sunken bridge located off the coast. One guy looked down at his gauge and saw 50 PSI at 50 feet down. Not good. He swam to his friend and gave the sign for “No Air” and “0 PSI”. His friend thought he was kidding. But when this friend looked through his mask and saw the fear on his face, he knew the situation was serious. The friend handed him a backup as the last bit of air left his tank. The moral of the story? Take time to look through the mask of those around you. You may save someone’s life.
Rick Moore is commuications for Destiny Worship Center in Miramar Beach. You can learn more about Destiny Small Groups at www.DestinyWorshipCenter.com/small-groups.