The smile is quick and bright when you meet; however, she turns it off as fast as she rounds the corner—her happy expression turns to a snicker; her scowl reflects her scorn. She hides behind the smile, but her words give her away. Her actions are inconsistent with the air of pleasantness she tries to present. Something in her eyes does not match her smile. There is a feeling of hostility draping her shoulders like a cape, and the air is heavy in her wake.

She is an impostor. Under the façade is a wounded, hurting soul. The woman is so critical and judgmental because people who are hurting have a tendency to hurt other people.

I wish we could stop the pretense. Conditioned to pretend, we give a perfunctory “fine” whenever asked how we are. We smile through pain and all kinds of challenges, never admitting our struggles or fear. Afraid of being exposed as less than perfect, fear can drive us to act in strange, often destructive, ways.

We need to be honest—first with ourselves and then with others. People are hungry for authenticity.

I don’t want to lie about who I am. I don’t want anyone to say of me, “Impostor!” I’m broken, hurting, challenged, and struggling too. Admitting this allows me to be genuine and gives others freedom to do the same.

In Beautiful Things Happen When aWoman Trusts God, speaker and author Sheila Walsh states, “Suddenly I began to see that my brokenness was a far greater bridge to others than my pretend wholeness had ever been.”

When we are genuine and real, we give others permission to be the same. Pretending to be perfect isn’t fooling anyone, nor is it helping anyone. Healing starts when our fears, faults, and weaknesses are exposed, because it is in the dark that they fester and hold us hostage. We are responsible for this exposure; it is necessary to stop the hurt and in turn, the fear-driven behavior.

Walsh writes, “I began to see that when we keep our fears and wounds in the dark night of solitude, they never have a chance to heal; but when we share our pain, we invite others to come out of the darkness into the light of Christ for healing and hope.”

Isaiah 61: 1-3 says, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

God desires to heal our wounds. Ask Him today what He wants you to confess and expose to the light. Sharing it with a friend may do more than set you free; Your friend may be set free too.