The Masks We Wear

THE MASKS WE WEARThe greatest actors aren’t necessarily the ones we see on tv.

Sometimes they are the people right beside us who hide behind the perfect mask, too scared to show that they don’t have it all together.

I know, because often times I find myself wearing that mask.

Although this was over two months ago I remember that week very clearly.

I remember it because it was one of my hardest weeks. (I shared about it here).

And it was during that week that I learned a very important lesson… a lesson on taking off that mask that I put on.

The mask that so often hides what I’m really feeling on the inside.

The mask that hides the fact that I don’t have it all together.

Wednesday is one of my favorite days of the week because we have youth service at night.

I love to come early to greet people, to catch up with friends, to have a good time.

But this week youth service was the last place I wanted to be.

How could I possibly go to church… be surrounded by 150 happy, “having it all together” people when I felt like I was falling apart on the inside?

How could I possibly put a fake smile on my face and act like I was okay when I wasn’t?

But I knew that I couldn’t let myself stay alone at home. There’s nothing worse than isolating yourself when you are down. You always need to be around good people that love you and will be there to encourage you.

So although I had no desire to do anything but stay in bed all night and cry I decided that I’d go to youth. But instead of coming early as usual, I would come right on time and I would leave early. That way I wouldn’t have to interact with people; I didn’t have to pretend to be okay.

Of course, that didn’t happen.

I came to youth service right when it was supposed to start (7:30) but it turned out that this was the last week of summer that we would have BBQ before service so church wouldn’t start until 8.

When I heard that all I wanted to do was turn around and go home.

I was thinking “seriously, God? Now I have 30 minutes of talking to people that I don’t want to have”.

Then I remembered about the book that I had read recently called “The Cure”.

It’s an awesome Christian book about taking off the masks that often times Christians wear.

The masks that hide our vulnerabilities, our faults, or disappointments, and our brokenness.

There was one group of people in the book that were all about wearing the masks.

Everyone was broken on the inside but nobody was allowed to show their brokenness and weakness and if they did they were looked down upon.

But there was another group of people that were all about being open, being vulnerable, being transparent about not being perfect, not having it all together.

Yes, even as followers of Christ.

And ever since reading that book I always wanted to be that girl that was transparent.

That didn’t have the need to hide behind the mask.

That didn’t worry about what people thought of her just because she wasn’t perfect.

And I thought to myself… “maybe tonight I can do it, maybe I can put my mask down, maybe I can actually tell someone that I’m not okay, maybe I can be a little vulnerable, maybe, just maybe…

The first person I saw was one of my girlfriends and with a big smile on her face she asked me how I was doing, to which I replied “Good!”… of course.

What else could I say?

And once again, that mask was up.

I spent the next half hour chatting with people and actually enjoying myself.

The smile on my face wasn’t forced.

Somehow I managed to get over my emotions from before.

But in my mind I was thinking “seriously Anna? You thought you could be “open” to someone today? Really? No one needs to hear your sad little story. Look at everyone… they got it all together, they’re happy, they’re smiling, they’re doing “good” so you just need to pretend you’re doing good just like there rest of them”.

But then a few minutes before service started I found one of my friends and of course he asked the typical question that everyone asks “how are you doing?” And so I jokingly replied “I’m doing really terrible”. I think I was laughing when I said it. With a confused look on his face he asked me…. “are you joking or are you serious?

And that’s when I realized I had my moment.

My moment to be open.

My moment to be vulnerable.

My moment to be real.

So I replied… “You know what… I actually AM doing pretty terrible right now”… to which he replied “No way! Me too!!” and we talked about what we were going through and feeling.

And that’s when I realized…. I was not alone.

I was not the only one in that room that didn’t have it all together, that was confused about what was going on in my life, and that was going through a few trials.

At the end he told me “I’m so glad that you’re doing terrible too, I thought I was the only one who felt that way”. Which I didn’t think was TOO nice. 😉

But after that moment my spirit lifted… and I smiled. Genuinely. Because I had put my mask down.

And after putting that mask down I found out that I wasn’t the only one wearing a mask.

That I wasn’t the only one not okay at that moment.

And that made me feel good.

Today… I have only one thing to say to you: It’s okay to not be okay.

It’s okay to not have it all together.

It’s okay to not be the perfect person that you think everyone expects you to be.

It’s okay to not have everything figured out in life.

You’re not alone.

And you should never hide behind a mask.

You don’t need to tell the whole world about how you feel.

You don’t need to wear your heart on your sleeve.

But you should find that one person that you can trust and be open with.

You should surround yourself with positive, supporting people.

You should choose to be a little vulnerable and transparent about what you’re going through.

Often times when you put your mask down you will see that people will put theirs down too.

Some people will hide behind their masks forever.

Some people will never allow themselves to be a little vulnerable… which I think is tragic.

There are many things we can learn from one another’s struggles, pains, and trials.

And there is a lot of love and support we could give and receive.

Don’t let yourself be that person.

I know I’m working on making sure I’m not.

In the end, we all wear masks.

Sometimes unknowingly.

Sometimes on purpose.

But the truth is we are all the same.

We all have struggles, we all have insecurities, we all have pain.

We all have go through trials, face temptations, and make mistakes.

We all fail, we all fall, we all don’t always measure up to the “ideal” person we want to be.

We all come up short somewhere.

And we are all broken human beings in need of a merciful and loving God who knows us just the way we are and loved us enough to die for us anyway.

Don’t worry about being perfect.

Don’t worry about having it all together.

Don’t worry about wearing your mask.

Whatever you are going through, someone has already been there.

Whatever you are facing right now, someone is facing it too.

Whatever battles you are fighting, someone has fought that same battle too.

Always know… that wherever you are at right now… you are not the only one there.

Sometimes all it takes is putting that mask down to help us realize that we are not alone.

Be blessed. Anna… 

christians wearing masks, Tracey Metzger, quoteRelated Posts:

share-your-story2photo credit: [vivo masks]

 

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18 thoughts on “The Masks We Wear

  1. Thank you for your honesty. Masks, of which I have had many, keep us from telling the truths of our lives, when we really need to be open and honest with others. Our decision to cover up our pain prevents others from trying to help us. Selfish pride never seems to sleep – it’s always on the prowl, trying to devour us. Please feel free to follow my blog, at http://cchurchchurchblog.wordpress.com/
    Many blessings to you
    John 17:3
    ETS

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  2. Pingback: Turn your pain into someone else’s hope | A journey of faith…

  3. There is a place of unity and true joining in the Spirit which the Body of Christ has not truly entered into in any fullness. Where we are truly brothers and sisters in Christ rather than general associates who meet as part of our church clubs. A true interweaving of hearts and minds that are of one accord in the desire to lay all things down. Most often we are a group of disparate individuals playing out our Christianity in a broadly middle class institutionalised church culture. In this culture most have the safety of a comfortable life with a good job. These are the foundations around which lives are built in this world and the church is often no different. Jesus is there to give me my job promotion or the job of my choice. Sharing true life is true Christianity. It should be the norm but it is the exception. Sharing who we are with each other – our trials and battles – is the love that Jesus talked about when He said that it is through this love that the world will know we are His disciples. Not through miracles or singing songs, going to meetings or other religious activities. There is no inherent power in these activities. Somewhere there is a brother who is going through cancer treatment. There is a widow battling grief and loneliness. There is couple whose marriage is falling apart. There is child dying because they have no food. 1 Cor 13. If we have not love we are only noise. Paul carried a true love for the church birthed from very the deepest revelation regarding its true calling and what it was meant to manifest to the world. He was not afraid to say where is was going astray, but it was all done through a deep love. He knew too many were distracted and that the full potential was not being met. I think we hear glimpses of a good symphony at times – but the oneness, the togetherness in love, the unity – there is room for further surrender to the Spirit. Not by might, not by fleshly power but by surrendering to the Spirit. I sense some are more keen than others in this matter.

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    • Sharing life together and loving one another sacrificially is really the #1 way the world should be able to tell Christians apart. It is when we carry one another’s burdens, encourage one another, pray for another, and walk through the trials and hardships of life together that we truly become that Body of Christ that He calls us to be. It’s really hard to build that oneness (even within a church) because it requires people being vulnerable and open about what they are going through as well as give their time and energy in helping those who are in need, but in doing so we become the ultimate reflection of Christ. In a world where there is so much diversity, and disagreements, and often times hate it is so refreshing and wonderful to see people who come together in unity to support and love one another.

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  4. Love this. As I was reading, I was reflecting over my most recent season in life and how I just discovered how it was really okay to say, “no I am not okay!” I created a video about my journey discovering that too (see it here if you’d like –> http://youtu.be/fBzTNRzMT8A . It was for a class project.

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