Are You Hiding from Yourself? Wearing a Mask in Front of Our Own Mirror

Street Theologian
4 min readFeb 28, 2024
Wikimedia Commons

Our pretentious relationships with God- trying to hide our pain and filth

This is a substantially shorter article on our previous post. For more on hurt, self-deception, triggers, Gabor Maté, psychedelics and how humility offers rest, read the below:

Triggers, Internal Distress and Self-Deception: How Closed Hearts Open through Engaging in Radically Honest Prayers

Disclaimer: Seek help from a qualified professional and do not take this article as professional advice.

A steady uneasiness. Plaguing hurt we’re scared to accept or face. Situations we consistently avoid. Addictive habits and toxic thought patterns we cannot let go of. A dry and empty prayer life.

What can be behind all this?

Self-deception is like a mask that blocks our view of our own faces. Our pride deceives us (Ob. 3). We base our relationships with God on fake righteousness and fake mental toughness.

As trauma psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk articulates in The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma,

“As long as you keep secrets and suppress information, you are fundamentally at war with yourself…The critical issue is allowing yourself to know what you know.”


We don’t admit to deep seated pain. We don’t confess evil intentions that shape our minds for years. Our totalitarian egos protect our pride, wipe out memories of harms we have caused and thicken the mask in front of our own faces.

That could not have happened to me.

I could never do such a thing.

These are the lies we tell ourselves.

We exist in a fake reality. We don’t open our hearts to God fully to express the many wounds that plague us or how much hurt we are in. We’re embarrassed to open up about how lustful, envious, greedy, proud, malicious, petty or ungrateful we really are.

In the true spirit of cognitive dissonance, we tell ourselves Christ’s death meets us where we are at in all our pain and filth, yet we function as if we need to add a thousand layers of fake righteousness or fake mental strength before we come to God in prayer.

Next time you feel triggered. Next time there’s something you just cannot accept. Pause. Take a step back. Open your heart before God.

Maybe, just maybe, we might realise we’re smaller, more hurt, more mortal, more dependant on God and less in control than we really think we are. Press into these uncomfortable truths. Take them to the King.

The Psalms are full of expressing raw pain to God (eg. Psalm 3). We are urged to pour out our hearts before God (Psalm 62:8).

Or maybe, just maybe, we’ll realise we’re a lot more messed up than we ever thought and are truly in need of Christ’s sacrificial death for our sins.

David claimed, “blessed is the man.. In whose spirit there is no deceit” (Psalm 32:2). He reveals how confessing sin that he previously hid, suppressed and was unprepared to face, he experienced joy and flourishing after being plagued with internal distress (Psalm 32:3–11).

Doesn’t matter if people think we are nice or disciplined or loving or courageous- deep down we know there is much about us that is hidden from plain sight.

Yet, for that which we hide, God made himself known. For that which we suppress, Christ’s love expressed far reaching openness. For that which we are embarrassed about, Christ was humiliated.

There is a way forward.

Ask what are your triggers teaching you?

Monitor them. Press into the uncomfortable truths and bring them to God.

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Triggers, Internal Distress and Self-Deception: How Closed Hearts Open through Engaging in Radically Honest Prayers

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Street Theologian

Theology and apologetics for those who want to get their hands dirty