The Masks We Wear
It’s that time of year- the leaves are changing, the weather is getting cooler, and pumpkins are everywhere. Fall is finally here and with it a season of festivities. Halloween decorations and costumes fill the stores, exciting children and adults alike as they think about what (or who) they might want to dress up as this year. A princess? A ghost? What about a fireman? While it is fun to dress up and pretend to be something you are not for one night, have you ever stopped to think about the emotional masks you wear the rest of the year?
It may be that you have worn your mask for so long that you do not even notice that it is there anymore. The truth is that we all wear masks, and the reason for this is usually rooted in fear. It could be a fear of not fitting in. Or maybe you have a feeling of powerlessness or lack of control. Perhaps there is uncertainty about the future or a fear of failure. No matter what the fear is, the outcome is the same- fear hinders you from being authentic. It causes you to conceal your true self to portray something you are not. It keeps you from feeling vulnerable to those around you. Ultimately, it hinders the deep relationships that we all long for.
But how do you shed your mask? How do you suddenly become more authentic? The process starts by beginning to know yourself. When you understand and identify those fears that push you to hide your true self, you can challenge any false beliefs or expectations you have. You can begin to see yourself as God sees you, created in His image (Genesis 1:27) and “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). He designed you to live in community with others and your mask keeps you from living in the full potential of those relationships.
Are you tired of your mask yet? Is it beginning to get uncomfortable, maybe even getting in your way a little bit? Go ahead, take it off! There is freedom in laying down your mask and choosing to live authentically.