As the days grow shorter and golden leaves fall from trees, we pack up Halloween decorations in preparation for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although a few costumes may linger in photos on the fridge, everything else is set aside for another year. However, there’s one thing that few of us ever put away: the everyday masks we live behind.
We all have masks of one sort or another.
Reasons vary. For some, our masks protect us from going too deep or being too real. For others, masks allow us to live more boldly as the alter ego we espouse. Still others crave physical and emotional connections, and we’ll do just about anything to keep others interested.
Whatever our reason for donning a mask, we use it to hide the truth.
Hiding the truth means we have secrets. Some are small. Some ignite fear. Some seem insurmountable. Some tear at our heart and prevent us from moving forward in life. Often we go to great lengths to hide the truth. Even if it means hiding behind a mask. Even if it means pretending to be someone we’re not.
We hide secrets because we’re afraid to let people know the real us. We don’t want people to know about our real life.
So we lock our secrets away and put on a mask. We put on a happy face. We pretend that we have it all together. We talk like we know what we’re doing, even though our confidence melts the minute we get home. We say everything is fine. We don’t let anyone get past the surface of who we are or where we’ve been.
Some of us wear our masks indefinitely.
Then one day someone we truly respect looks at us and says, “Who are you?” And the truth is that we don’t really know. We’ve been pretending to be someone else for so long that we’ve lost our identity.
We don’t know what we like. We don’t know what we want out of life. We’re numb and tired and empty. We’ve been trying to be who others want us to be. As the old Cheap Trick chorus sings, we’re desperate for real connection with others: we want them to want us, we need them to need us, and we’d love them to love us.
Desires for being wanted and needed and loved are normal. But we can’t lose ourselves as we pursue these desires. We can’t give ourselves away. We can’t wear masks to hide the truth. We can’t pretend to be someone we’re not just so others will like us and accept us into their crowd.
Thankfully, someone loves us just the way we are. Jesus.
No matter where we’ve been, no matter what we’ve done, no matter what has happened to us, Jesus loves us for who we are, right where we are. He created us and has specific plans for each one of us. He knows everything about us. He knows every hidden secret. He sees behind the mask. And He can turn all things to good if we turn to Him.
Jesus is calling you to come out from behind your mask.
He wants you to know that you’re never alone. He is with you, right now. And He doesn’t want you to be anyone else. He wants you to be you: the beloved child of God Most High who is wanted, needed, and loved by Him.
The only thing to hide behind is the love of Jesus. If we’re willing to approach His throne and receive His grace, we can say with confidence:
“You are my hiding place; You protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory.” Psalm 32:7 (NLT)
Jesus loves us like no other. He is our strength. He is our hope and our shield. When we stand with the Lord, we don’t have to be afraid of being ourselves.
We find freedom in living out our truth.
Living out our truth begins with pressing into Jesus. And it then grows in our relationships with others. Yes, it’s scary to reveal our truths and our secrets to others. And I’m not suggesting we reveal all of our deepest secrets to everyone. Not everyone is safe. But Jesus is safe. Start with Him. And then seek out one person who you feel is trustworthy. Go slow, and be real. You don’t have to lay everything on the table. But be intentional about genuinely desiring to know and be known. And commit to being a safe person for them. Pray for God to lead you, and as you build trust in each other, begin to lay down your mask more and more.
How we lay our mask down for Jesus and for others will be different. Jesus knows everything about us already. He is our safe place. And when we walk with Him, He’ll lead us in growing deeper, authentic friendships with others. This is what sisterhood and brotherhood are all about––walking the journey of life together sans masks.
Let’s put our masks aside and take a courageous step toward living in the freedom of our truth. #NoMoreMasks