Casting Crowns – Stained Glass Masquerade
Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin’ so small
Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they’ll soon discover
That I don’t belong
So I tuck it all away, like everything’s okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I’ll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them
Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation’s open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade
Is there anyone who’s been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who’s traded
In the altar for a stage
The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart
But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be
Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay
Schedules. To-do lists. Planners. Full-throttle. Busy. Insane. Running. Appointments. Hurry. No time. Sometimes I just get tired. Tired of everything I have to do, tired of everything I should do, and tired of everything I’m going to do…just because no one else will do it if I don’t. I get run down and cranky…and in spite of all of my “doing” – sometimes, I feel unfulfilled. I don’t always feel that way…but sometimes, when I get to contemplating…I wonder why I am doing what I am doing. Now yes, some of my hectic calendar comes out of necessity, but how much of it could be avoided if I just learned when to say yes and when to say no. Admittedly, I have gotten a lot better over the past year or two at saying no…or who knows when I’d ever get the time to write again. But I just get tired…of not having the time to invest in people. Of not having the time to simply hang out and have fun with people. In the midst of all my craziness…I have learned to love to blow things off…things I probably shouldn’t. Like the past two days for instance…I just decided I wasn’t going to class. I just didn’t want to. Its only the third week of classes…but I didn’t want to go…I didn’t have time to go. I had too much to do, and not enough time to do it all in. So I didn’t go.
Sometimes I wonder why we all go through the same motions day after day…why we are plastic people. We don’t give a thought to what is going on around us…we are on autopilot. I see people around me…in a worse position than I am…they are utterly and completely unfulfilled. And my schedule isn’t as crazy as it once was…I have a little more time than before. But I think we’ve been so programmed by society to fill up our free time with random…crap. We are more wired and networked socially today than we have ever been – we have facebook, myspace, a million places to post blogs, all these networks where you can acquire more friends that you ever need – yet we have more youth today taking their own lives than ever before. We have more self-help books and talk shows than our great grandparents would have ever dreamed of, but we have more people cutting, starving and checking into rehab clinics than any generation before us. We see more airbrushed photos, size two models and toddlers forced into beauty pagents by their parents than we see wholesome role models. The divorce rate in our nation is astronomical and the family dinner table has gone by the wayside, a mere memory of what once was. We are so busy going here and there that we forget those around us…no matter how many friends are on our profiles. We are an unfulfilled and unsatisfied people. Because society says we can’t be satisfied until we’ve accomplished x, acquired y and traveled to z. But even when we’ve reached x,y and z and started on a whole new alphabet, we still are left longing.
We are hardwired for relationship…real relationship…but society has programmed us to be superficial. We have to be strong and independent, we can’t let anyone see our weaknesses, we can’t be vulnerable. But vulnerability is what we need. We can only be strong for so long until we break down, but we can’t break down because its a sign of weakness, but we are all weak, and we try to hide it. We long for someone to talk to, but no one has time to listen. We long for someone to talk to, but we don’t have time to talk ourselves. We try to be independent, but sometimes we just can’t do it on our own…but no one is there for us. No wonder we have kids searching in all the wrong places for relationship, people that will have their backs, no wonder we have teenagers starving and throwing up…longing for someone to pay them any attention, no wonder they are cutting themselves, crying out for someone to listen to their pain and to care. No wonder we see divorce rates so high and affairs running rampant…husband and wives don’t even know each other. God has hardwired us to be in relationship with each other, and to be in relationship with him…but we are too busy.
We desire control…but when we try to control and micromanage our lives it only ends up in disaster. When we surrender that control we end up gaining more freedom and peace than we could ever imagine. In the midst of our busy lives…in the midst of today’s secular society…we’ve shoved God out of the picture, or at best given him a backseat in the car ride that is our life. But we don’t realize much of the time that it is God who brings fulfillment…it is God, the author of relationship, that satisfies. We don’t let God, the one who sent his son to die for us so he can be in an incredible, mind-blowing, awesome relationship with us, teach us how to love others. We don’t step back to see the hurt around us…those crying out for someone to come along side them. Perhaps we don’t slow down enough to listen to our own cry.
I am convinced, and believe with absolute 100 percent certainty that the only cure for this illness, this epidemic of despair and lonliness in our world is Jesus Christ. I am absolutely convinced that if we don’t let him into our lives, to love on us and to car for us, we can never fully learn to care for others. Without letting Christ invest in our lives, we cannot invest into others. Without Jesus showing us how to love others…our relationships will fail. His is the glue that binds us and binds our hearts, individually and collectively, together. I am convinced that if Jesus were here he’d tell us to slow down, that he would tell us to take the time to stop and listen.
We see countless examples in Scripture of Jesus, in the middle of whatever he was doing, take the time and invest into others and develop relationship with others – with Zaccheus, the woman with the issue of blood, the crowd of five thousand that followed him when he withdrew to a solitary place, the Blind man, the Canaanite woman, Jarius…I could go on and on. People crying out to Jesus…and he made time for them. If we stop to look around for a moment we will see people crying out to us…maybe not directly, but they are crying out. We have something that they don’t…we have the cure for what ails them, we have hope and life. But are we willing to make the sacrifice…of time, of going against the status quo, of being rejected, of being vulnerable and open. Will we invest in others. Will we invest in our relationship with Jesus? Perhaps we need to start there…because for many of us…we haven’t or the investment has been marginal. I am convinced that the secret to a fulfilling life is following Jesus with all we have and investing in others…being Jesus (to be cliche) to the people in our lives. In the end, I’m not really unfulfilled, as a matter of fact, I am probably more fulfilled and satisfied than many, if not most, people I know…because I have a real relationship with the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. I think the bottom line is, I’m dissatisfied and fed up with society – its expectations, pressures, definitions…I’m fed up with what it makes people to think, believe…of what it makes people period. I’m fed up with the pressures to be a plastic person. I have faults, I have insecurities, I have attituded problems, I have failures and weaknesses – I am selfish, I sometimes don’t like myself much, I sometimes wish I was “prettier”, I try to control everything, I think I can do many things better than others (I think that would make me arrogant), sometimes I am socially awkward (especially when I try to be funny and it doesn’t work), I like the spotlight because it gives me some sort of validation and self esteem boost…even though I’m not the type of person who can get the spotlight in social situations…so I have to earn it by what I do, sometimes I don’t think I deserve anybody’s love without earning it, and sometimes I wonder how anyone could love me – but I also have Jesus and I am confident in my identity in HIM. I don’t have to find my identity in anyone or anything else…and it makes all the difference in the world. I know that HE loves me despite my flaws and that HE forgives all my sins…my mistakes, bad attitudes, thoughts and heart conditions and HE works in me to mold me into the woman HE wants me to be and HE gives me unspeakable joy. I believe there are more people in todays society that are unhappy, than there ever have been. But we have the medicine…we have the cure. We have Jesus. And I wonder…just what are we going to do about it?