I played city-league basketball growing up. I wasn’t that great…just like now, I was a skinny white kid. But I was quick, and a decent shooter.
We played games on Saturday mornings at a local elementary school gymnasium. Overall, it wasn’t a bad place to play. Plenty of seating. It was heated and cooled. And generally, it was clean. Generally.
Taking a look at the gym floor, you’d assume everything was fine. You could tell it had been used by decades of kids playing ball, but it looked acceptable. Not new, but on the freshly veneered surface all looked well.
But there was a spot.
And if you were to take me to that gym today, I could close my eyes and walk to the spot.
It was about 6 feet out from the basket on the side closest to the door. It was dead.
Everybody playing knew the spot was there, but in the heat of a game, usually once or twice, the guy with the ball would forget about the spot, and go up for a layup with nothing in their hands. Running down the court at full speed, the ball that was once bouncing right back to their hand would bound no more, falling like a bowling ball to the gym floor and making the player look like a fool.
If only the maintenance crew had peeled back the hardwood and exposed the subfloor, it would’ve been a problem easily remedied. It wouldn’t have cost a ton of money to fix the problem. But instead of fixing the underlying issue, maintenance decided to paint right over the spot and pretend it wasn’t there. Just below the surface hid this ugly hole, hidden by a freshly painted, freshly lacquered surface.
We do the same things spiritually, don’t we? We put on beautiful masks to cover over a dark part of our story. We put a fresh coat of paint over the pain to tell the world we’re perfectly fine. We slather on fresh lacquer and cover up something that we’d rather others not know is there.
We forget that God can repair and restore what’s broken. We forget that God’s in the business of reconciling all things to Himself. (Colossians 1:19-20) And though that reconciliation might not look like we hope it will look, in time we’ll grow to see the beauty. We’ll experience God’s love, forgiveness, and grace. We’ll become new.
It’s in this process of restoring you and giving you hope that God will breath hope into someone else, too. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7) But not if you paint over your issues. Instead of healing, you’ll cover over rotting wood that’s waiting to explode in the heat of the battle. When you need the foundation of your life to hold the strongest, you’ll find it crumbling as you live life in hiding.
You’ve got plenty of mess and pain and disappointments and frustrations. Plenty of unmet expectations, unmet desires, and unreached potentials. So do I.
Quit acting like you don’t have problems. We’re born without a mask. So let’s quit putting a mask on.
Be real and honest with someone.
I deal with insecurity. Not every day, but I have to battle against my flesh and remind myself that I’m loved by the King of Kings. I care too much what people think and what they say. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me” doesn’t really ring true with me. Names hurt. Words injure. And I do battle with caring too much how others respond to my leadership.