Our family had the opportunity to go to an outdoor Winterfest at a camp recently. There was ice-skating, ice climbing, snowshoeing, tubing, wagon rides, pony rides and a petting zoo. We had a great time as a family!
This was the first time our baby Cohen had spent a significant amount of time outside in the snow so I had him bundled up tightly in all of his baby winter gear – snowsuit, hat, mittens, boots and a scarf. He looked like a little marshmallow and could hardly move.
After a bit of time outside, his cheeks were getting rosy so I brought him back to the car to warm up. He hadn’t been complaining (crying) at all, but I thought I better check on him. I took off his mittens and his little hands were FREEZING. I took off his boots and his little feet were FREEZING. I felt terrible that he was so cold and I had no idea because he looked completely fine on the outside!
This reminded me about how we often appear to be completely fine on the outside, but are actually not ok on the inside. How often do we hide what is really going on inside of us in order to save face or appear brave?
“Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when laughter ends, the grief remains.”
We often have some degree of difficulty admitting our true feelings and being able to express them, don’t we? But throughout the Bible, God encourages us to know our feelings and not keep them hidden inside! Jesus set an example for us: He had emotions and he expressed them. He cried. He got angry. He was sad.
We often hide the way we feel to keep our real self from showing through. Inside we may feel fearful or angry or sad, but we hide those feelings by joking…or acting superior…or being silent. We may even try to cover our sadness with laughter, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.
Hiding our feelings can give them control over our lives. Unexpressed anger or fear or guilt can have a destructive influence on everything we do. Hidden shame and sadness are roadblocks to hope and healing.
If you have been hiding your true feelings, has your “cover-up” helped? Or have you learned first-hand that when the laughter ends, the grief remains? Admitting your feelings can be a turning point. Be honest with yourself. And with God. And then with a friend. Being real will open the door for healing.