Beauty Beyond The Mask
Leaving a coffee date this morning I was hit with a wave of emotions. Who am I? I know who I long to be; the person that God says I am, but if I’m being honest I have a really hard time accepting such a gift, and still I write to remind myself and all of you that we are loved, forgiven and accepted just as we are.
I don’t like when things that should be simple and effortless become muddied and riddled with angst. I have been standing with my hands over my ears in an attempt to quiet the screams warning me to protect my heart. I have told myself that God would want me to tip toe around difficult choices, but that isn’t the truth, I wanted to remain behind the mask of kindness because that’s who I’ve always been. I’ve wanted the safety of the mask because suffering for the benefit of others is my MO. I have worried about what other people’s thoughts and opinions are. I have worried that my children’s friendships will suffer. I have worried what God would think of me if I set a boundary and then I hear my friend’s words ring in my ear, “what is the truth?”
The truth is this.
What other people think of me should only matter to them. The truth is that my children will survive and they too will find their way. The truth is that God thinks I am perfect and loves me no matter what boundary I set. The truth is that God wants my heart protected at all costs.
One of my biggest struggles is being a people pleaser.
I have always been the type of person that will suffer in silence to make others more comfortable. It has some redeeming qualities but they are few and mostly at my expense. Most of the time pleasing people does not serve me. I have put my feelings, my beliefs and my tongue on mute to maintain steady waters. I have worn masks to brave the outside world hiding the beauty beneath it. I have given up my freedom in exchange for the captivity of my burdens…and for what? To create a comfortable place for others to live while I squirm in the body that I call home? No more. I am enough. I may not be enough for everyone but I am enough for me and the people that see me for ALL that I am. Today I was faced with the decision to take one step forward into my identity.
I am a child of God.
I was not created to sit silent in the midst of a battle. I was not created to mask what God wants on display. I was not created to suffer under the weight of what is comfortable for others; the willingness to suffer for a greater cause is what I am called to and the two should not be mistaken again. There is no shame in protecting my heart. There is no shame in stepping away from a false but familiar identity and stepping into the one I am meant for. There is no shame in creating boundaries. There is no shame in dealings with God, He doesn’t play that game.
This afternoon I was able to remove my mask and be courageous in a way that I hadn’t been able to in a long time. Today I was able to stake claim in who I am and make moves from a place of actual growth. Right before the mask came off, I cried, not because of what might be lost with its removal, but for the sadness of growth lost in the time it was on. I have been waiting for God to save me from myself and all the while He’s been waiting for me to show Him that I’m ready to be saved. He had already written my lunch date in my journey and this change on my heart.
I am not a one mask wonder.
This much I know, I have taken a step to remove this mask but I would be crazy to believe it’s the only one. There are others; some I am aware of and others have yet to reveal themselves. Layer by layer I will find the “me” that lies beneath. I will find the woman I am meant to be leaving the girl I was buried beneath a mound of heavy weighted masks. As long as I’m in the midst of God driven growth, I am willing to get uncomfortable and move towards change. I am willing to look in the mirror unmasked and unashamed ready to see myself as I am seen by God.
What about you? Are you wearing a mask? Are you struggling to live under its constant expectation? I see you. I understand where you’re at and I feel your defeat. The good news is that you are not alone. You have a mighty King backing your every move closer to Him. Be brave, child of God. Step out from behind the mask and into the life of freedom beyond it.