Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Real or Plastic

So with a painted grin, I play the part again, So everyone will see me the way that I see them…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…. Casting Crowns in Stained Glass Masquerade~ by Casting Crowns lyrics from the songStained Glass Masquerade

When I read these lyrics from Casting Crowns they make me think of two things, the issue of hiding behind and the one of covering up. There was a time in my life when I came to church on a regular basis a broken woman. It was a weekly event because my week, month, and year was full of nothing but brokenness. My trip to church was my opportunity to gain back some of the strength life was draining from me throughout the week. Tired of always finding myself in tears, crying in the halls, bawling in the bathroom I would often try to put on what I called a “front.”

One evening as I was having a hard time keeping that front or painted grin in place at the church’s Thanksgiving Dinner celebration I asked someone next to me, “How much of a front do people want?” Stunned by the question I asked I had to answer it myself. Although people might not realize it there are some who like others to put up a front. After all, by doing so when they don’t deal with what is going on in their lives then I don’t have to either thus it prevents fewer interruptions in the perfect church services, the quiet evening Bible study, and social event of the year, the annual dinner.

The other way to view this is behind the cover of makeup. The physical preparation of going to church, at least for women, can often dominate over what is done for our spiritual preparation. For every physical feature of the face there seems to be some kind of makeup we can use to enhance it to make them look good. Once we get to church we find we’re not finished yet as we add the final touch, the painted grin. Sitting within the walls of the sanctuary we appear as happy plastic people under shiny plastic steeples, the perfect little angels lined up in pews of angels.

In spite of all our efforts of putting up a front and covering our flukes and flaws so others can’t see them God sees it all. He already knows what is behind curtain number one, the make up job, the plastic grin. The church wasn’t meant to be the place to hide, to cover up, to sneak in our flaws, and be phony for the day. It needs to be a place where brokenness is repaired, healing is discovered, makeup is not needed, and shortcomings are overcome as forgiveness, repentance and self-improvement are found.

Praise the Lord for those who see past our masquerades, who don’t fall for our cover jobs. People following in God’s footsteps who are not going to give us a chance to choose between real or plastic like some “paper or plastic” store clerk in a mall.

We need to be real people, dealing with life’s real problems, using the real church to help us through. When properly assembled God’s church is a place where plastic needs to be melted away and painted grins are replaced with real ones. No more makeup, no more fronts.


© 2010 Karen J Gillett @ Pencil Marks and Recipes Publishing

5 comments:

MiPa said...

I have been there, using the protection of the church as the one place where I could escape from some of the brokenness of the rest of my week. On the other hand, I have found the freedom in church to be real, and help others find that freedom as well. Great post! Great reminders.

Nic said...

I have been there and I think b/c I have been there I am able to see what it is that others are hiding even when they put up the masks.

The church wasn’t meant to be the place to hide, to cover up, to sneak in our flaws, and be phony for the day. It needs to be a place where brokenness is repaired, healing is discovered, makeup is not needed, and shortcomings are overcome as forgiveness, repentance and self-improvement are found.

Amen, ain't that the truth!

theanniversaryshop said...

I have to admit, there are times when I don't ask the question(s) that need asked because I don't want to deal with the answer that I know is coming. Thank you for being so honest, and in your honesty showing me where God desires to work in me.

Michelle Bentham said...

Hey, Karen...

Not sure I'm ready to give up my make-up, but I am ready to take off the mask.

Great post, thought provoking. I'm thinking my response indicates there is more work He wants to do. Thanks for sharing. :)

Blessings.

Tami Boesiger said...

I wonder if this is why so many people don't find fulfillment in church? Are they hiding?

Thanks for your honesty, Karen.