Have you have ever worn a mask? Maybe in a play, for trick-or-treating, or to a party? I’ve got to be honest…masks creep me out. The biggest reason is that I can’t tell what’s going on behind them. I’ve seen a lot of scary movies, and the thing that makes Jason and characters like him so terrifying is I can’t read the character’s face.
I think everyone occasionally wears a “mask,” and I'm not talking about not the kind you see on Halloween. I'm talking about the way we hide our true self from other people in everyday life.
If we’re not careful we become so accustomed to hiding that we forget who we really are!
Today I want to talk about a very common mask you see almost every day. People wear it to hide their internal hurt or disappointment. It’s a mask that says “I’m fine."
The truth is we’re not always fine. You may feel lonely or depressed, or be afraid about the future. Maybe some hidden habit is controlling you, or a conflict with friends or family members gnaws at your conscience. But rather than resolve the situation, you put on your “I’m fine” mask to hide what’s really going on.
God doesn’t want you to be lonely, live in shame, or be imprisoned by doubt and anxiety. Instead, he wants you live in freedom, and to have meaningful and healthy relationships that encourage and challenge you.
Before you can “get better,” you must take off your mask and live an open and honest life. That can be tough, especially if you’ve been hiding a long time. Let’s talk about breaking free…
First, let God tell you who you are.
Culture says we are god, that we control our own lives. That message is almost everywhere. It also tells us to be skeptical of anyone who claims that truth is absolute, and that anything that suggests you’re not “number one” should be treated with contempt.
Be honest...how is being the boss of your life working for you? Are you at peace, or do you wrestle with anxiety? Does the “purpose” you’re pursuing satisfy your deepest desires, or do you drag through every day hoping it will get better? Are you really the type of person you want to be?
Calling your own shots sounds great, but doing whatever "feels good" is not as much fun as people say it is. What's more...things usually fall apart in the long run. That’s because God made us, and actually knows what will make us stronger, happier, and content.
Surrendering your rights to anyone, even God, is scary. Plus, letting some else have control goes against the norm. But hiding behind a mask is even scarier, because it keeps us from becoming truly free.
One of the first letters Paul wrote was about this very thing. In it he said…
Christ has set us free for freedom. Therefore, stand firm and don’t submit to the bondage of slavery again.
‒ Galatians 5:1 (CEB)
Instead of being “fine,” I challenge you to choose to be “free!”
Second, find a godly person you trust, and confide in them.
Name a person you can talk to about anything. Can they keep your secrets? Then find and talk to them!
Set up a time to meet in person. Resist the temptation to communicate through text or social media. One-on-one conversations are necessary to build a relationship you both can rely on.
And, remember to start small! It’s not fair to overwhelm another person by sharing your deepest thoughts in the very beginning. Start small and work through issues over time.
Finally, boast about your weakness…
This one sounds like you are throwing a pity party. But you’re actually reminding yourself how great God is, and how his plan is best.
Paul did this. Check out what he wrote to people in Corinth:
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it (a struggle) away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
‒ 2 Corinthians 12:8–10 (NLT)
It’s time to lose your “I’m fine” mask. When you stop hiding things you struggle with they will begin to lose their grip on you. Instead of shrinking from the truth, take ownership and seek God in every situation. And be sure to find a wise advisor you trust and confide in them...then move forward! And remember…
It's when we are “weak” enough to be honest with everyone…including ourselves…that God’s strength is most clearly displayed through us!