Cultor House Impact | A Carefully Crafted Mask

I had always considered myself an open book; I was always “open” about my struggles and willing to tell anyone anything—that is, until my deceived heart convinced me that my struggles were now “too big” for me to ever fully expose in front of anyone.

And when the opportunity came up to move to a new state for an internship, I had no idea that God was going to use this deception in my heart and the carefully crafted mask I taught myself to put on every day as the foundation for a new story.

Cultor House wasn’t what I expected because I didn’t really have context for expectations. I had never attended Grace Church, never listened to a teaching, and didn’t even know that there wouldn’t always be a live teacher on stage. But—I knew God was pressing on my heart to do this, I knew that my beliefs lined up with Grace Church’s doctrine, and I knew that I needed to, for the first time in my life, live and work in healthy, bible-teaching community other than my family. I knew that there were some things going on in my heart that I could not figure out on my own.

Heart change started with vulnerability. And when I started getting to know Grace Church staff, taking classes, and community began forming around me, I noticed that these people weren’t ashamed to talk about their messy sin. They weren’t afraid to expose their mistakes, make themselves vulnerable, and reveal that they were human just like me. I noticed that our Cultor House teachers weren’t talking at us as much as they were sharing with us. They were sharing in our struggles and, through the Holy Spirit, helping us understand how small we are next to the magnificence of the cross. I started realizing that somewhere down the road of my life, I had put a standard on myself that would never be fulfilled on this side of eternity. I was making much of myself and little of the cross.

“I started realizing that somewhere down the road of my life, I had put a standard on myself that would never be fulfilled on this side of eternity.”

With a twisted belief that my sin was too big to talk about in any real depth, and an unrealistic standard that I placed on myself, I had turned into someone who wanted to constantly impress. I walked around, and still do although more aware now, with some type of system in my mind that was constantly measuring if I was “impressive enough” for the person I was talking to or the people who were seeing me. And when I built up the courage to be vulnerable, my heart quickly felt the pang of shame and regret … because now this person would think less of me. Now this person would know I’m not everything they thought I was.

With Cultor House though, no one allowed me to convince myself that I needed to reach my self-imposed standard, and the people around me just let me be me. They didn’t let me fake it. And because God meets us where we are (something I had told so many people in my life but had never fully recognized for myself), these people met me exactly where I was. Cultor House was a safe place of growth where I was finally forced to be known. It pushed on me until I gave up the acting job. It began a process of healing in me that I could have never come to on my own. It allowed me to take off my mask, although I still hold it dangerously close. And, most importantly, my view of self is becoming a dull, mere shadow of the beautiful, wondrous cross.

“Cultor House was a safe place of growth where I was finally forced to be known. It pushed on me until I gave up the acting job.”

I had questions that I didn’t know I needed or wanted answered, and over the nine months of Cultor House, so many things were cleared up for me that I didn’t even know were foggy. It was one of the most unique seasons of my life and one that I’ll never be able to go through again. I’m coming out of it a very different person, and if I expected anything from this internship, it wasn’t that.

If you are interested in knowing more about our Cultor House program, contact awhite@gracechurchsc.org.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Barianne Taylor

Barianne is on staff with our communications team. She comes from all over the southeast — making her at home in both the mountains of South Carolina and the fields of Tennessee. Her life is full of reading, adventuring, and sports. Barianne attends our Downtown campus.