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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Stevens Jenkins

Masks of Denial



Masks of denial stifle our true selves
Masks of Denial

This month's blog is about denial. Celebrate Recovery (CR) provides a pathway to find our true selves, release unhealthy habits, and live more fully.


Celebrate Recovery (CR) starts each new year with Principle 1 and Step 1. CR is a Christ-centered 12 Step program with 8 Recovery Principles taken from the Beatitudes in the Book of Matthew. Author Nicky Gumble called them “beautiful attitudes.”

 

I taught Lesson 1, Denial.  I reminded myself of the definition of the word by searching an online dictionary, which defined ‘denial’ as a ‘type of defense mechanism that involves ignoring the reality of a situation to avoid anxiety.’ I might add that trying to avoid anxiety started with the first humans. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they attempted to hide themselves from God. They knew God was always present in the garden but somehow thought that they could hide from Him. They heard God ‘approaching’ them and hid.

Genesis 2:18-4:16 gives us the front row seat to glimpse what happened.


Denial is a form of hiding our true selves. That’s what denial will do. During the presentation of Lesson 1, I asked the group to reflect on their childhood. When you misbehaved or were disobedient, did you go tell on yourselves? I asked them. Did you go tell an adult, “I

just want to let you know I did something you told me not to do?” Though there was what seemed like a brief reflection, not one of our CR participants acknowledged having been that kind of kid to confess a wrongdoing immediately----or even at all!


If you’ve ever watched a group of children and something happens, you will notice that those who are guilty very rarely tell on themselves, unless they’re asked. Even then, they may not tell the truth or may blame someone else like Adam and Eve did. Many times, we don’t want to tell the truth either. We choose to remain in denial and do things to repress our feelings and freeze our emotions. Those are some of the habits CR helps us to overcome.


Very often we are not even aware of our denial until…


Is it possible to live in denial? Can a person just wear a mask forever? The answer

is yes. I used to wear a mask until I realized it.

 

This leads to Principle 1: Realize I’m not God; I admit I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable. Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable. People who choose to remain in denial, repress their feelings, wear masks, and freeze their emotions end up finding that their lives become unmanageable.

 

Another leader taught Lesson 2 Powerless, and next month, we will move into Principle

2 and Step 2. However, before we can really move forward, we have to step out of

denial.


Genesis 4 describes how Cain had a chance to come clean. God saw that Cain was upset and inquired. “What’s wrong with you? What’s the matter? What’s going on?"

I paraphrased it. Honestly, I've been asked these questions and I’ve asked other people the same questions in an effort to help. But the most popular responses are, “I’m all right. I’m blessed and highly favored. I’m good.” While these are positive responses, sometimes they are given to cover or avoid a deeper discussion about what’s beneath the surface.

I am learning how to be honest. I don’t ever want to pretend that everything is all right when it’s not. The next time someone asks you those questions, especially if you know they are genuinely concerned, take off the mask. If you’re having trouble taking off masks, then I invite you to Celebrate Recovery where you will discover how to.

 

The week after I taught the CR Denial Lesson, I shared a very transparent testimony. I gave my life to Jesus almost 42 years ago, and every now and then I still struggle with completely trusting God. When I had my mammogram earlier this month, I told the nurse that I’d been having pain underneath my right arm. I thought about how lymph nodes were removed from under my left arm and the lumpectomy that I had in January 2014. Although they saw nothing on the 3-D mammogram, I insisted on having the ultrasound. As I lay there waiting, I found myself speaking healing scriptures over myself. The test found nothing, praise God! Well, guess what happened 15 days prior to this appointment? I had left carpal tunnel

surgery and was using my right arm and hand to do EVERYTHING. No wonder I was

having the discomfort! I had to share that because I refuse to wear a mask again. No

matter how long we are Christians, we will face challenges until we get to heaven. God

brought me through once again and on January 31, I will be 10 years cancer free!!!!!! I

can’t even verbalize how grateful I am. I’m speechless with tears of joy. I KNOW

without a doubt that I’m doing what God has called me to do.

 

Earlier this month, our Live Oak Church CR celebrated 7 years!!! We held our first large group meeting in January 2017. I’m the ministry leader with such dedicated leaders and volunteers to help keep the doors open. The same way God is helping all of us work through our issues, He wants to help you too. Why not join us on Monday from 7 am -9 pm? We’re at 296 Live Oak Church Rd, Hinesville GA.


To find a meeting near you, go to www.celebraterecovery.com and use the

Locator. If you have any questions, reach out. Let’s communicate. I’m here to inspire,

encourage, and motivate. I’m praying for you.

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