-How are you doing today John?
I went to the doctor today and found out I have Aids and to make things worse I lost my job. Please pray for me because I have come to the end of my rope. I have been contemplating suicide!
How you today Susan?
– I am fine.
Are you sure? I heard you lost your Dad.
– It’s nothing really I am doing great.
Are you sure you OK?
– For sure. I am OK.
How many of us have conversations are open like John? The second example is where most people are at. We don’t know how to be transparent. We have masted the ancient language of Christianese!!!
We may be going through hell but we have learned to hide our feelings. I am guilty of this as well. How many times I have said I am doing fine when something is clearly wrong!! But this is the thing, to grow and mature in the Lord we need to learn to take off the various masks we have. We need to stop hiding behind the masks and start being real. I am reading a book about the danger of mask wearing. I would like to share a few things that have really challenged me. As Christians we need to model transparency. We need to be real. The world needs people who are real and not people who are wearing masks. Lets get going.
I am going to start with types of mask we wear. I thought this list was very interesting and identified a few I had been wearing.
Types of Masks.
– I’m better than most
– I’m very together
– I don’t really care
– I am self sufficient
– I’m very important
– I’m competent enough to be loved
– I’m competent enough not to need love
– I have the answers
– I’m independent
– I am cool
* As you can see, there are a lot of masks to chose from. Which mask could you identify with? I saw three masks that I constantly wear but I realise they need to go.
This is the high cost of wearing a mask.
-It is very expensive to wear a mask. For one thing, no-one – not even those I love – ever gets to see my face. There are moments when the real me bleeds through, but mostly I just confuse them. Worse yet, I never experience the love of others because when I wear a mask, only my mask receives love! I sense I’m still not loved and self-diagnose that maybe my mask wasn’t good or tight enough. So I delve even more desperately into mask wearing, convinced maybe the next one will present what you want and prove I’m worthy to receive your love. And if that’s not painful enough, get this. I cannot give love from behind a mask, at least not love from the real me. Mask wearing thwarts our maturing, the very path into the dreams God intended for us.
* That was a lot to take in but I really believe you needed that. We put on masks to hide the real person inside. We think that people will reject the real us so we hide. We become shallow and we don’t mature. As children of God we are called to be transparent. It is very hard to wear a mask when you are open. Let me share something else….
– Sadly, cruelly, our masks deceive us into believing that we can hide our true selves. Not so. In time, others can usually see what we’re trying to hide. No matter how beautifully formed, our masks eventually present us as tragic figures….because masks always crack or distort or buckle or unravel or wear through or lose shape.
*Let me help you with something. Get it in your head that you are not perfect. You are human and you have flaws. When this truth sinks in, you will have no reason to hide. You won’t have a reason to wear a mask. The book goes on to say:
– People wear masks for all sorts of reasons. Some of us opt for a mask because we fear we might not be accepted or, worse, that we may be viewed as unworthy of acceptance because we have already proven ourselves unacceptable. Perhaps we wear a mask because we fear that others won’t protect us and might leave us feeling naked and alone. Or we fear that others will protect us, but our protection will come at the price of their control. An example of this is,
Bruce feels threatened when a person in a key relationship doubts his motives or trustworthiness. He instinctively withdraws from that person by putting on an “I don’t really care” mask. Bill dons an “I’m not hurt” mask when he feels insecure and fears being abandoned. John puts on the “I am self-sufficient” mask any time he fears someone’s pity.
You see, mask-wearing is often even more pronounced in Christians. Ouch! All mask-wearing is a product of pretending something to be true in our lives that our experience denies.
* I am going to stop there. There is so much more I can share but it will be too long and besides, I think you got the jist of what I am speaking about. Let us take off those masks. They are hindering our growth. God has called us to be transparent and real. Will you make a decision to be real? It will take time but it’s worth it