Have you ever tried to look through tinted glass?
It could be a rather trivial pastime, seeing as you aren't going to get very far.
Behind the darkened windows could be virtually anything... or anyone.
Perhaps a politician, or a celebrity, or maybe your next-door neighbor who wanted to maximize their driving privacy.
Either way, it's a facade, a blockade from revealing what truly lies beneath.
How many of us live our lives this way? Retracting behind the guise of tinted frames of whatever we are attempting to conceal. Our daily lives become a charade of attempts to display perfection, strength, beauty and power.
To put down our guard, and reveal what hides behind the mask, runs the risk of ruining the reputation we have so cleverly portrayed for so long - we deserve to win an Academy Award.
The gravest truth I find in all of this is that these choruses tend to sing the loudest in the places you would least expect them.
Over the past several years, I have seen an intense increase in depression, anxiety and hopelessness in my friends, peers and role models. People whom I once thought of as strong, unbreakable souls, have been reduced to nothing because of the dark cloud, which has utterly taken over them.
I do not mean this in a derogatory manner in any way.
In fact, I have found myself hitting similar walls. Feeling as though I am drowning in my struggles and have reached a point of spiritual drought. My heart is dehydrated, but there's no one to turn to to quench my thirst for encouragement, truth, or to just empathize and share similar battles.
Why are we so afraid of our weaknesses?
What happened to bearing our burdens together? To lightening the load for one another? A solider cannot go into battle alone, no, he is accompanied by his band of brothers (and sisters, I see you gender quality) who stand together and fight alongside one another. When one goes down, they never leave he or she, they carry them in the midst of trial and anguish.
As Believers, this is our charge. We have to stick together. We have to bear together. Without this community, we begin the slow decent into spiritual, emotional and mental demise.
People we would have never ever thought would cheat on their spouse, get someone pregnant out of wedlock, or end up addicted to heroin - DO. And why? Because they had been falling for quite some time, and who was there to catch them?
Who came to their aid when they needed someone to talk them down from the ledge? Who was there to just listen and not reduced them to nothing when they admitted their shortcomings?
Why do think we are so important that we should stomp on others to elevate ourselves? That we should masquerade as impenetrable and void of sin?
Or worst yet, why do we avoid facing ourselves and coming to terms with who we truly are?
Who are we kidding?
Strength can be found in weakness. Hope is found in humility.
I cannot tell you how many times I have been encouraged in my darkest times, when someone took the time to share their own story of defeat. When they shared about how dejected and utterly hopeless they had once felt, only to rise from the ashes and into glory.
The Lord is always there for us, yes. However, He gives us each other to trudge through the trenches, hold one another and cry. To be strong when the other is weak. To lift up when one has fallen.
We must be broken together.
We have to stop hiding behind our tinted windows, our ornate facades and admit to what is true.
Admit to our fears, failures, weaknesses, temptations. The good, the bad and the ugly.
His power works best in weakness.
Let's allow that power to be displayed through authentic, genuine community and transparency.