We went through a season of masks and dress-up with our kids that was a precious time for all..it wasn’t unusual around our home for my kids and sometimes their (awesome) parents to be playing some game that includes wearing a mask of some sort. I once bought a package of 30 different animal masks..after a few months of a roaring lion in the house the whole batch of animals “disapeared”—God forgive me for not telling my children I threw them away.. actually I gave them to the goodwill for some other family to be blessed (tortured) for a season.. after all, who wants to hear a roaring lion at o’dark 30 in the morning? I preferred to look at it like I was saving us from unnecessary nightmares, not taking away harmless fun from my children.
But in all seriousness, I did have a thought one day that shook me to the core about those masks.
What am I teaching my kids? To be something other then they are? So cold turkey, we quit the costume game. Did I over-react to an innocent part of childhood play? Maybe. Don’t judge me until you hear where I am coming from. Something hit me at my core when I realized I was training up my children to do the very thing that took me years to break out of, I revolted. Inside and out. Maybe I over-reacted, but it was my way of taking a stand in my home for what I stand for and who I am. I drew a line in the proverbial sand that day in the life of my children and our home.
For years I wore a mask.. For years I pretended I was someone I wasn’t. It led me to a life of isolation and exhaustion. I tried so hard to be what others wanted or needed me to be (so I thought). All the while getting further and further from myself. It was more like that mask was hiding me from myself more then hiding me from others.
My mask was so apart of who I was that when I finally took it off, I wasn’t sure who I was.. it took time to get reacquainted with myself. Like an old friend you haven’t caught up with for years. But I realized she was still an old friend. A little more bruised from life, but a little wiser too.
Taking the mask off and leaving it off was one of the best decisions I have ever made. That and only having decaf tea and coffee past 2pm. Living with the mask off has brought freedom and fresh air to my soul. Going back to the other way of life just wasn’t an option any more—it had such an adverse affect on my soul to put that mask back on (and drinking anything caffeinated past 2pm)--both kept me up well past mid-night with anxiety, and gave me nightmares.
Choosing the mask wounded and rejected my soul. A mask is nothing more then self-rejection of my true self. the self that God made in His own image. Genesis 1:27 “So God created mankind in his own image.”
And I believe once you taste a little bit of freedom with that mask off-- the fresh air, the radical acceptance of people who love you exactly where you are, not where you think you should be. Then slowly, you can begin to choose to keep it off and we begin to love ourselves even in those darkest corners of mask living.
Unmasking my soul and my life, has brought me more freedom than I could have ever have dreamed possible. I get to be me.
Don’t be fooled in to thinking wearing a mask is all about just putting our best foot forward. I know plenty of people wearing masks that are so lost and blinded in their mask they put no foot forward. Wearing a mask doesn’t protect us like we hope and think, it just fills us with more insecurity.
BUT, with Christ the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 3:18 “And we all, who with UNVEILED faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into HIS image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” No more masks. Christ transforms us from the inside out. With the freedom the Spirit brings we can take our masks off and have unveiled faces.
We surrender to the Lord but we have to take the masks off for us to truly be able to contemplate the Lord’s glory and all that means for us in our daily lives. Freedom to be exactly who we are, walking through exactly what we are walking through, WITH the power of the Lord at work inside of us.
Ironically too, most of the people I wore the mask for—like me more now unmasked.
And for the record—my kids do get to wear snorkels—that’s a breathing device, not a mask! ;) Clearly I still have some issues to work through…
Mask free living.
Daily Grace to you,
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