By Chris WittsWednesday 7 Aug 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes
Children love to play a game called “Let’s pretend” ..most of them love to dress up and pretend to be somebody else. It’s part of growing up I guess .. but what happens when we grow into adulthood and still pretend ..I like to call it keeping on the mask ..
I’m sure we all wear masks at some time or another and we do so for various reasons. Some don masks for devious purposes. Others wear masks for much more complex personal reasons – lack of confidence,self-preservation or the need for acceptance. These reasons may be fuelled by fear,guilt or confusion about who we really are,what we want and what we can do. Hiding behind the masks we wear,not only prevents others from knowing who we are,but sadly over time,we ourselves begin to lose touch with who we really are .And that is never helpful. Eventually,we assimilate the role we play with our masks on. We slip into a life of pretence that camouflages what is real about us,our ideals and our dreams.
Who wants to live a life of pretence? Do you? Wouldn’t it be far more liberating and joyful to live authentically? Remember Alice and Tweedledum in “Through the Looking Glass?. Tweedledum says to her “you know very well you’re not real”, to which she says “If I wasn’t real,I wouldn’t be able to cry”.
I think Ralph Waldo Emerson summed up this topic very well when he said …. “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” It means after fits and starts and stumbles and falls,I am confident and I can walk confidently. I am free to be myself without fear and without apology.
Strive for authenticity – One of the realities of life is that people’s opinion of us will not always be positive. That is never a reason to misrepresent ourselves. We might feel like a tiny rowboat on the sea of life. The grand ocean liners may even rock us as they pass by,close,towering and loud. Nevertheless,we must maintain our resolve to be and live authentically in every circumstance.
You may find this a bit daunting …It is not easy. It takes work. But hiding behind a mask is no way to live. Is it? Discard your mask,fill your mind with your beliefs and clothe your life with the practice of authenticity.
What masks do you wear? Under what circumstances do you pull them out and put them on? More importantly,why do you wear them? Are you willing to learn the truth that lurks behind your masks? Are you ready to deal with them so that you can be yourself – authentic,confident,happy and free?
Psychologist,Robin Reznick,Ph.D.,says: “We sometimes wear masks as our shield-to protect (and conceal) ourselves. Hiding behind our masks gets us through our day,however deceptively,because we conceal what we truly think,feel and want.” Then he says “don’t get too attached to yours. Reveal who you really are”
The problem is this,Masks we wear don’t necessarily represent who we are,they just “mask” who we really are. God has made us the way we are,with loads of potential. Our masks help us play different roles in life so that others will view us in more desirable ways – the responsible worker,the confident adult,the great lover,a trusting friend. Halloween is the night where it’s acceptable to present yourself as someone else. It’s fun (and okay) to wear a mask.
But on an ordinary day,do people see you when they look at you? Or is your mask perpetually on?
Don’t be scared. Let others know who you really are. The true you has nothing to fear.
Why do we wear masks? I believe that most of the time our reasons are rooted in fear–fear that we don’t measure up,fear that there is something wrong with us,fear of rejection,fear of failing. God’s Word clearly states that we do not have to live in fear:
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love,and whoever abides in love abides in God,and God abides in him. There is no fear in love,but perfect love casts out fear. (I John 4:16,18)
As followers of Christ,we are called to live in victory over fear. God’s perfect love extended to us allows us to live in His love,apart from the fear of punishment and rejection. James Baldwin writes: Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.
It is only His love that can help us to remove the masks in our lives. It is only when we accept that we are powerless in this. In many ways,wearing masks is sinful. We are choosing to live ruled by fear,eventually leading to a very self-centred life focused on maintaining an almost perfect image.