I read a great post yesterday about how often people hide behind smiles, not letting others in to share their pain and vulnerability. She made some good points that we often pretend to have it all together and give a false view of what life is really like. We all have done this and we all know people who are doing this.
Of course, I pondered that for awhile yesterday. While I am open about what I am going through and my posts over on Caring Bridge include specific areas where I need prayer, I am mostly cheerful and upbeat in my interactions with people. Am I acting? Am I hiding things that I should be sharing? I believe a little introspection is always good to check on things.
I decided that I am really honest with a few close friends, and I am upfront honest with everyone else. No one thinks I’m enjoying this journey. But everyone knows that I get up and get through every day thanks to the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. That is the honest truth and I have tried hard to be clear that none of this is done in my own strength.
I found another post today that showed the other side to looking at someone with a smile on their face. It included a quote from Oswald Chambers that talks about the joy of the Christian. Sometimes the smile is genuine, and so is the burden behind it. Because so is the God who is always faithful!
“…the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Where do the saints get their joy? If we did not know some Christians well, we might think from just observing them that they have no burdens at all to bear. But we must lift the veil from our eyes. The fact that the peace, light, and joy of God is in them is proof that a burden is there as well. The burden that God places on us squeezes the grapes in our lives and produces the wine, but most of us see only the wine and not the burden. No power on earth or in hell can conquer the Spirit of God living within the human spirit; it creates an inner invincibility.