It’s that time of year when all the masks and costumes come out of the closet and onto the street.
Children and their parents take advantage of the opportunity to dress up and pretend to be someone they’re not.
Some imagine themselves as super heroes, others as princesses and others, well…
I have to admit that dressing up is fun.
I would fall into the ‘princess’ group – although a superhero could be fun too :o)
I like to feel special, wanted, beautiful, and popular.
I certainly don’t want to feel rejected, silly, an over-reactor, lazy, or any other negative descriptor that comes to mind.
But I don’t feel that way just on a certain day or at a certain time of year.
I feel that way every day!
I’m sure you do too…
The danger is that, in wanting to be thought of a certain way, you can pretend to be something you’re not.
Maybe there is a friend you admire, or a celebrity, and you would love to be ‘them’.
They seem to have it all together – good looks, good health, good income, attractive spouse, cute kids, popular and friendly, etc.
If you were like them, your life would be much better.
As mentioned in a previous post (which you can read here), no one actually has it all together.
However, because of our perceptions of them and of ourselves, we assume we’re not good enough ‘as we are’ and we need to be more like ‘that person’.
But what are you gaining in giving up who YOU are?
What is the world losing by you giving up who YOU are?
Check out these 5 dangers to wearing a mask that hides the real you…
1. You hide the unique person God created you to be
God created you to be unique, not the same as everyone else.
You are the only person that has the exact combination of skills, talents, personality, looks, character, education, background, etc.
That in itself makes you special.
There is no one in the world like you!
However, that also comes with responsibility…
If you are putting on a mask and trying to be someone you’re not, then you’re depriving the world of the uniqueness that you bring to it.
That other person you’re trying to be like already exists – the world doesn’t need another one of ‘them’.
It needs you and what you can offer.
2. You miss out on fulfilling YOUR purpose for YOUR life
When you try and be someone else, you miss out on your unique purpose for life.
While we all have a calling to certain foundational things (such as the command to ‘make disciples of all nations’ and ‘love one another’, etc.), we each have a unique way to fulfil that calling.
You are made the way you are, with all your quirks and health issues and everything else, to fulfil a specific role that only you can fill.
Those things that you don’t like, that frustrate or disappoint you about yourself – they are no accident. They are unique opportunities to glorify God.
Even your health challenges are an opportunity!
For example, you can show others what it means to persevere through pain and suffering, to rejoice and be thankful, to bless others with the encouragement that you’ve received yourself, to encourage others not to give up because they follow your positive example, to show that contentment does not depend on circumstances, and many other things.
If you’re not as attractive as you’d like to be, you can use that to your advantage.
For example, people are going to be more focused on who you are on the inside rather than being distracted by your stunning looks. You may be more relatable to others because you don’t ‘stand out’.
By not embracing who you are, with all your quirks and flaws, you miss out on opportunities to bless those around you.
3. No one knows the REAL you
If you’re always wearing a mask, people can’t get to know the ‘real’ you.
You’ll make friends with people who like the persona you adopt but can you then call them your ‘real’ friends?
As time goes on and some of the ‘real you’ peeks out from behind the mask, will these friends stick around?
You can’t really be honest with people if you’ve got to keep up the facade.
If you want people to think you’re strong, then how can you admit your vulnerability?
If you want people to think you’ve got it all together, then how can you share with them the challenges you’re facing?
If you’re afraid of what people will think if they knew the ‘real’ you, then do you actually have any true friends at all?
4. You suffer the consequences physically and emotionally
If you keep pretending to be something you’re not, you’ll find yourself exhausted – both physically and emotionally.
If no one knows the real you and you can’t share those raw aspects of who you are, then you can feel lonely and isolated. Maybe you even feel like no one cares. But how can they?
If you portray that everything is fine when it’s not, then not only are you depriving yourself of the encouragement and care that others can offer but you deny them the privilege of being able to be there for you as well.
We are commanded in Gal 6:2 to ‘carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ’.
We were never meant to hide behind a mask and carry our burdens alone. When we do, we become weighed down – fatigued, discouraged, depressed, and other physical symptoms.
Being honest about who you are and the challenges you face releases you from the burden of pretending and keeping up appearances.
5. You forget who you really are
If you keep wearing a mask for long enough, you may well forget what you really look like.
That costume you’re wearing feels so much a part of you that you forget that it’s hiding who you really are.
Are you struggling with self-esteem? Feeling like you’re not good enough? Feeling that no one really understands? Wanting to be valued for who you really are but not even knowing how?
Sometimes it can be too scary to remove that mask because you’re so familiar with it. You’ve been wearing it for so long.
So what is the solution?
Wearing a mask is so common that when we see someone who is genuine and humbly confident in who they are without being concerned with what people think, we admire them.
But what makes a person confident in the uniqueness of themselves?
Think about and apply these things and you’ll be able to remove that mask you’ve been wearing…
- You were created and designed to the last detail by the God of the universe who loves and cares for you (Ps 139:13)
- If you are a child of God (ie. born again as a believer in Christ), then you are eternally secure that you will spend eternity with the God who loves you (Jn 10:28)
- While in this world you will suffer, you have the confidence that you will be free from suffering one day (Rom 8:18)
- You can be confident in being yourself because you know God has a specific purpose for YOU – and that’s why he designed you the way you are and placed you in your circumstances and environment (Rom 9:17; Phil 2:13)
- You know that if you are faithful with little, you will be trusted with much (Luke 16:10)
- You know that it doesn’t matter what others think of you as long as you have your heavenly Father’s approval (Gal 1:10; Matt 25:21)
- You know that looks, popularity, money, careers, etc. are all temporary. Nothing is guaranteed to last for anyone. So you don’t put your hope in those things. (James 4:13-17)
“Love has a powerful way of removing the mask we all insist on wearing.” – Jessy
You can shine like the unique star you are because your confidence is in God, not in yourself.
When you depend on yourself, there’s too much pressure to conform and pretend to be like everyone else.
While we are to be conformed to the likeness of Christ, we are not to apply that principle to those around us.
Even when we admire those people who, like Paul the apostle, are exhibiting the character of God, we are to emulate the underlying biblical principle – not the specific ways God designed ‘them’ to carry out their purpose and mission.
during this season of dress up and fun and festivities where masks and costumes may be worn,
may I encourage you to take the mask off that hides your true self.
Be honest and vulnerable with others. Admit those areas where you are weak and need help (we all have them!).
If you’re a quiet and introverted person, then embrace that and don’t try to be the life of the party – it’s far too draining!
If you’re a light-hearted and fun person, then embrace that and don’t try to be too serious. Go ahead and brighten the day of those around you with your goofiness!
But whatever you do, do all to the glory of God!
(1 Cor 10:31)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]