Masks is something Jesus has been teaching me about lately. I’ve felt alone this summer, and disconnected, and just discouraged, and God has been showing me why.
I’ve become a good hider-of-the-truth. I’ve become good at hiding who I am. I’ve become good at wearing a mask. Not consciously, but it’s happened. I think it’s a fear thing. I’m afraid of what people will think of me if I take off my mask and show them my imperfections. If I truly honestly admit my brokenness, will anyone care? What will they think if I break down and am honest?
I’m afraid of myself. I’m afraid of honesty. I’m afraid of transparency.
But I also long for transparency.
I long to let out my feelings to other people, to tell them my struggles and my pains.
I long to take off my mask and let my real self, with all its beauty and tragedy, emerge. I know that’s something God has done in my life. I know that’s a void in my life that He wants to fill. I know that His plan for me involves transparency.
I want to be honest. God helping me, I will be honest. I don’t know how to take off my mask. But God does. He is the healer of broken hearts and the mender of relationships. He is the truth that cuts through lies. He is the light that banishes the darkness. He is the father who breaks down hearts.
I’m afraid of transparency. I think that’s the reason I’ve kept my mask up so long. Without my mask, I know I’ll be vulnerable. I’ll have to answer tough questions, and confess deep secrets, and cry.
I don’t know that I want to cry.
I don’t know that I want to hurt even if it’s in order to heal.
C.S. Lewis wrote “to love at all is to be vulnerable.”
If I love others and am honest to them about myself; if I choose to build those bonds of love, there will be times when it will hurt. Life hurts. And when we share life with others we share those hurts. If I take off my mask, I expose my hurts to others. And I take on their hurts as part of myself. If I love, truly love with all that is in me, it’s not going to be without pain.
But I know that life is not just pain. I know that beyond the pain there is joy. I know that beyond the harsh fear of night, beyond the pain of confession, beyond the tears of agony there is hope. From the ashes a spark remains. And a spark is all it takes to light a fire. I could choose to keep my mask on. I could choose to never love, and so to never hurt. I could choose to stay in a box. I could choose to suffer alone. But if I do, will I ever know joy? I think not.
I will not live with a mask.
I will not hide who I am,
no matter what hurt it may bring.
May God lead me.
May He take the mask from my face and fling it far away.
I don’t want to run back and put it back on.
I don’t want to shrink from the fight awaiting me.
I don’t want to shrink from the confession and the pain and the tears.
I’m will take off my mask.
After dark comes morning.
Tomorrow is a new day.