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Suffocating In Silence

*7:15AM* The reverberating of my ringtone forces me to finally get up, only because it's the 2nd time I've hit snooze. It's Sunday morning, a day in the South that has become as normal as brushing your teeth. I sit up, inhale and exhale a deep breath and hit the floor, thank God for another day that's been given and jump in the shower. It's only 7:30 and there are already 240 thoughts that have gone through my head. I try to drown them out with Travis Greene's "While I'm Waiting" playing in the background, but for some reason these thoughts seem louder than the lyrics I'm hearing through the speakers. "I need 1 more hour of sleep" "Man I'm not feeling this at all" "I need coffee" "Dang I'm running late" "What's today going to be like?" "Definitely taking a nap when I get home" "Remember that time in college when..." Wait what? Wasn't college like 4 years ago, yet sometimes the thoughts that try to invade my head space seem as if they were 4 days ago. 


I pull up to church, park the car and before I prepare to get smacked by the cold breeze outside, I take a deep breath and put on something I forgot to while I was at the mask. See this mask protects me from answering questions that I really don't feel like going into detail about. It protects me from long, drawn out conversations that would make my salvation seem questionable at times. It's what makes me feel invisible for the times where I can't seem to hide because of my responsibility that I hold with my role with the ministry. Now before you continue with your shocked, judgmental thoughts about dang I would've never guessed that someone like Austin could go through this, you might want to take a look in the mirror. Unfortunately when you look, you might not be able to see anything but the same mask that you find yourself wearing, with just a different design and shape fit specifically for you. 


I often wonder how many of us are suffocating in silence. It's one thing for someone to ask you how you are doing, but it's another thing to tell them how you really are. 98.9% of us lie when someone asks us how things are going because in all honesty there's been moments in my life that, man if I really told you what was going on I'm not sure if you would even have a response to what just came out of my mouth. Unfortunately we allow fear to keep us silent, silent in our sinking sand that is slowly but surely suffocating us. However too often we isolate ourselves due to pride, because "we should've had this together by now"; yet we find ourselves on the revolving wheel of routine that seems like the repeat button is forever stuck for some reason. 

There’s good news though, and as simple as this sounds we make it harder than what it should really be. The hard truth is, I believe that there's deliverance found in dialogue. It's nothing deep, sounds pretty cool and maybe you could post it on social media, but as easy as it is to post it's harder for us to actually do, especially for those of us who serve in ministry, this blog is especially for you. I mean think about it, it's enough for us to just focus on our relationship with Jesus, be the husband or wife that we're called to be, a father or mother to your children, the brother or sister that seems like is always needed by the family, or even the employee to the job that you secretly dislike because purpose continues to frustrate you. We haven't even gotten to the ministry aspect yet, from your volunteer role in your local church, to those who are called to Pastor and must have a word for God's people every week yet you feel like I'm struggling with what I'm about tell my flock how to live out themselves. Or maybe you lead worship Sunday after Sunday but you feel the very opposite of the songs that you are singing in front of the congregation. So instead of releasing the pressure from within we much rather hold it in. How often do we as servants in ministry find ourselves suffocating in silence, due to hiding behind our gifts? Suffocating, and no one can hear us. Suffocating and before we know it, we've blacked out due to the lack of the very thing we need to survive, air. Is it really worth it? 


I've found out that more often then we want to admit, we try to do things on our own. We could be breaking all the way down on the inside, but we'll glue the mask of perfection on our face to hide our insecurities on the inside. Being independent is awesome, but at the risk of becoming isolated ehhh you can have it. Why? Isolation causes you to end up in cave that you never expected to be in, and in this cave it's just you, and the echo of your thoughts. In this season of my life I've found the power of dialogue. Before going to someone else though, I've found that it really starts with being honest with yourself. This is where I am, and this is what I need to deal with. Next, I believe you have to be honest with the God who created you, and there's no better way to be honest to God, but through prayer. I think it's funny how He knows us so well, yet we try to hide what's inside like He can't see past it. When we're honest with ourselves, honest with God, then I believe it's easier to be honest with those who God has put in our lives. After all we were never designed to live in this world alone. When God said, it's not good for man to be alone we automatically go straight to marriage. However before you have a marriage, there must be relationship first. And even for those who don't have the desire to be married, I don't know about you but it's hard to live a purpose driven life that revolves all around yourself. 


To my to fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, fellow ministry leaders and all the above my hope and prayer for you is to truly realize that it's not worth it. It's not worth it to have the appearance of everything looking okay, but you're dying on the inside. It's not worth trying to keep a position in a church, or your job but the pressure of what you're suffocating in silence over is killing you slowly. It's not worth it to keep hiding whatever your thing is in the dark, because whatever is hidden in the dark will continue to grow UNTIL it is exposed by The Light. Your hiding is hindering your healing, and those who are connected to you are suffering because of it. So do yourself a favor today, uncover what is being hid, allow the power of dialogue to bring the very deliverance that you need, and lastly BREATHE. After all no one, and I mean no one should ever be suffocating in silence. 

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