When Your Masks Hurt Others

One thing I’ve discovered about you, we both want some of the same things: freedom, joy, and a good life. I believe that happens when we fully realize that our lives and voices matter. So for the rest of 2013, we’re celebrating the power of voice, your voice. On a regular basis, we will feature a guest post from a brave-hearted reader who shares a slice of their own  journey to finding and using their voices {in the hopes of encouraging you to use your own story to make a difference}. This week we hear from  Dixie Diamanti.

Through tears, I prepared the teaching for my bible class for the faithful women who attended each week, wishing I could be honest with them. My life at home was disintegrating. I was not happy in my marriage. I had never fully processed the pain of being a child victim of incest and I was paying a heavy price for the silent pain. I had no confidence in myself. I felt fat. Lost. And alone.

Trapped in denial about the linger effects of my silence, I was convinced I needed to put forth a “together” appearance to be effective in my ministry, or God would reject me. So I presented this put-together “Woman of Faith” image to my faithful followers. And I regularly walked out of my home with a heavy heart. The minute I arrived at the study I held my head high, put a smile on my face, and offered up my wonderful self so the ladies could see how very perfect I was. After all, I was their leader–I couldn’t be weak.

In my book, Climbing Out of the Box, I describe how my denial system crumbled and my life fell apart, piece by piece by piece.

My silence and the masks I wore, they cost me. You see. they enabled my perpetrator to violate my own little girl. And I ended up losing everything I held dear. My marriage, my church home, my own home, even my dog. And eventually my two children growing up and leaving the tiny apartment that we were left in after the divorce.

After twenty-five years of pretending I was so together, I found myself all alone, confused–destitute for five years. But it was in this dark wilderness that I met Jesus face to face. In all those years of ministry, I did not know Him like I knew Him then. It was here I discovered that I didn’t have to perform to be loved by Him. He loved me in a way I could never imagine. His profound, wild, reckless love for me brought me security, and gave me hope for a future.

Today I stand a much different woman, one who isn’t afraid to be vulnerable. What you see is who I am. After countless years of pain, I discovered that to be transparent and vulnerable is to find your voice. To be your true self. We’ve spent too much time fearing transparency because we’re afraid if someone finds out who we really are they will reject us. We strive to appear perfect, strong, or intelligent so that we can connect with others who “like” us. Without them knowing us as we really are.

Real heart-connection comes, though, when I am comfortable being me, flaws and all, no matter what environment I find myself in. That release then opens me up to love, joy, creativity, and empathy that I wouldn’t otherwise experience. I recently returned from the International Abuse, Trauma, and Violence Conference where I conducted a workshop with another coach. I heard so many heart wrenching stories from abuse survivors. What I heard over and over is that sharing their stories was so empowering and healing for them.

A released secret frees us to live authentically–isn’t that what you want? It is for Freedom Jesus sets us free.

Deeper Still: What kinds of masks have you worn, and what kind do you still wear that you long to drop?

 

Dixie is a wife, mom, and nana to a large and wonderful family. As a Certified Life Coach, author, speaker, and teacher she believes that every child of God has a distinct calling, and through her work, she assists and coaches women and men in finding their unique purpose in life. Dixie’s passion is to see people discover how precious and valuable they are to God, and loves to encourage and challenge them in uncovering and making use of God’s hidden treasures within themselves.

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “When Your Masks Hurt Others

  1. Dixie is real. She is beloved of our family and those whom The Lord has touched through her wise counsel. We are so very blessed to have her in our lives. We see the love of God shining through you Dixie. Love always, Greg

  2. Dixie, I Thank You for writing this! The topic of wearing a mask is running all through my own testimony! I appreciate your wise words! God bless you!

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