It’s October 1st, and I’m sure in The U.S. the Halloween stuff has been out for a while now. Here in Kenya, all we typically see is some face makeup sets and fake blood. We have to be a bit more imaginative with costumes here, no store bought costumes for us!
The idea of costumes had me reminiscing and then reflecting. I flashed back to trick or treating in my neighborhood with my kiddos when they were young and the many “Harvest Festivals” we have attended and/or help put on. The youngest ones hanging tightly to their moms and dads when they catch a glimpse of an unknown sight, a person in a gruesome mask staring down at them and offering them a treat, Yep! I’d be a bit timid too.
For a young child, this is new territory. They have no idea that behind that mask is a warm and friendly soul enjoying a little holiday fun. All they see is the mask and that is his or her reality. Sensing the trepidation of the wee one, the masked soul removes the disguise and flashes a kind and sincere smile to the child, ensuring that all is not as it seems. And hopefully, gaining enough trust that the also costumed little one will now partake in the obviously delicious treats the new friend is offering. 🙂
This is where the reflecting part enters in. In the above story, the mask was not who the person truly was, it’s a facade. Who they really are is behind the mask and as we saw in this story, a much more inviting and encouraging one at that. But what about us? What kind of mask do we wear? I think sometimes it is the exact opposite of the Halloween scenario. We cover our true selves with a mask that is more acceptable (or so we may believe) than who we really are. Many of us may believe that if we take off this socially acceptable, carefully crafted mask and allow people to see the muddied mess that we most often happen to be, that we too will have children and adults alike hiding behind the nearest skirt.
We fear rejection and judgement and aloneness. Our hearts desire is to belong, to be in relationship. We want to be accepted, desperately. So much so, that we will become or at least pretend to be something that is so far from who we were made to be. And yet, at the end of the day, we (or maybe just me) fall into bed feeling more alone than ever. So why do we do it?
My sincere belief in our tendency to hide behind the mask is rooted in fear. We have believed the lie and ignored truth. We read, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made” and got stuck on “fearfully” instead of focusing on “wonderfully.” Allowing the voices of the world to drown out the still, small voice of God has left us reading the scripture through a kaleidoscope, making us all dyslexic to the true reality that we were made perfect by our perfect Heavenly Father.
The mask we so delicately place in front of us each day has not only disguised our true selves, but also distorted our ability to see truth for it covers us in a thick mud of lies. I have found that each new lie added another layer to my mask and soon it became a very large burden to bear, carrying it around and straining under its weight. I finally had enough.
In my desperation, I cried out. And the God of all comfort came to my rescue. I was reminded of the sweet aroma that comes with a close relationship to Him, The fullness of his love and the warmth of His everlasting arms. Realizing the absurdity of laying too high a price on other’s view of me and not enough of what God thinks of me, I slowly (emphasis on slowly) lowered my mask. Does it really matter if someone sees me crying? Or sad? Or mad? If my family isn’t perfect?
So here I stand today, A reformed mask wearer, who still sometimes flashes it when new challenges arise, but hopefully remembers quickly all that I have learned and how far God has brought me. I am not perfect, never was, but will be when I join my Heavenly Father and my Savior one day. I am a sinner, saved by grace who still daily makes mistakes.
I’m just a girl, but a daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And He loves me. And His love is all I truly need to be truly fulfilled in this life and in eternity.
Here I am, sans mask (or makeup!) with my best encourager. Both of us desiring to live life through the lens of who God made us to be.