My senior year in college was definitely one to remember. Not because it was one of the best years of my life but because it was indeed one of the worst years of my life. I was filled with fear, dealing with so many insecurities, and a victim of private pain. I remember struggling to get out of the bed every morning because just the sight of the sun peaking through my window reminded me that it was time to face another day of pain. As long as I was asleep I didn’t have to face the pain. I didn’t have to be reminded constantly that I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t have to be reminded that my life was a mess. Sleep was my escape. There were many days that I contemplated forcing myself to stay asleep the whole day just so my day could be as normal as possible. When I was awake I didn’t feel normal. I didn’t feel like everyone else. I just knew for sure that I was the only student on campus suffering in the dark or at least that’s how the pain made me feel. I just knew that it was no way possible that all these people smiling, who seem like their life was perfect could be suffering as much as me. My pain made me feel like I was alone and that no one else could ever understand what I was going through. There were three lies that my pain whispered to me everyday
You’re the only person in the world going through this
You will never overcome this
No one will ever understand what you’re going through
Senior year was the year that I learned to live life behind the mask. I would wake up every single morning, get dressed, put on my make-up, and walk out the door with a big smile on my face like everything was o.k. when I knew deep down inside I was dying and in desperate need of some type of intervention. This was the year that I learned how to pretend more than ever. I learned how to respond almost immediately with “I’m doing great, how are you?” when someone asked me how I was doing when I knew nothing about my life was great at the moment. I learned how to hide behind the mask of make up to hide the fact that I had tears streaming down my face not long ago. I learned how to hide behind the cute dresses and shoes to hide the fact that deep down inside I really hated myself. Living life behind the mask had all of a sudden become my new normal. I didn’t believe that who I really was behind the mask was good enough because of how broken she was. I thought that because I was broken it some how made me less valuable than everyone else. And because I wanted to feel valuable, and I wanted to feel worthy I pretended like I didn’t have any scars. I pretended like my life was perfect when it was far from it. I pretended like I didn’t have struggles when just getting out of the bed in the mornings was a struggle. I pretended like I wanted to live when I was contemplating suicide in my head over and over again. It was a constant war going on in my head between the broken me and the me that I was pretending to be.
I wanted to gain the courage to take off the mask but I was too afraid that if I revealed my brokenness to the world that it would some how make me less valuable, not understanding that it was actually my brokenness that made me valuable. Being broken helped me to relate to others because little did I know not everyone who walked around with a smile was truly happy. Little did I know that just like me there were people who had learned to live life behind the mask. I learned to live life behind the mask at 21 years old but some of you learned at a very early age how to live life behind the mask. Every time you made a mistake you were looked down upon and made to feel like you could never make a mistake. And because of this you learned how to hide behind the mask of “perfection”. Everything you’ve done up until this point have had to be perfect. Every time you make a mistake you beat yourself. You pretend to be whole but you’re really broken. You pretend to be healed but you’re really filled with scars. You put on a fake smile every single day but deep down inside you’re dying.
Today, I want to encourage you to take off the mask! It really is o.k. to cry. It really is o.k. to fall short sometimes. It really is o.k. not to do everything right all the time. I know it hurts, I know you feel alone, and I know you feel like you’re too broken to be valuable but today Jesus desires to love the real you. The broken one. The one no one sees. The imperfect one. The one who’s covered in scars and bruises. He desires to use you for His glory. He desires to use your brokenness to help someone else. Just because you’re broken doesn’t mean that you’re not valuable.
I pray that after reading this you’re encouraged, motivated, and inspired. If this helped you in any way comment below to let me know. I would love to hear from you.
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I will be talking more about being free from living life behind the mask, overcoming suicidal thoughts, and overcoming anxiety and depression in my upcoming series so be sure to subscribe below to be the first to know when I post something new.