©Joy Dunlap https://joydunlap.com
Adults wear masks too, and not just as Halloween costumes.
When children trick-or-treat at my house, I enjoy seeing what costumes they’re wearing. What persona are they taking on? An action hero? A cuddly animal? A popular TV or movie character?
What do we want others to see in us? Or not see in us?
If a costumed child is masked in a way that I can’t recognize them, I’ll sometimes ask “Who is that in there?” or “Who’s behind that mask?” Sometimes I know who it is or the presence of their parent gives it away, but I let them think their disguise fools me.
God isn’t fooled by our disguises.
God strips away the layers with His love and mercy as He looks deep into our soul.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV
So, why do we wear masks?
Insecurities. Fear. Failure.
Disappointments. Depression. Envy.
Anxiety. Hurt. Heartache.
Have you ever tried to hide one of those – or hide from them?
Disguises can delay and distract us from “facing” up to whatever is taking us away from the peace and joy that God offers us. Shame and guilt also woo us to cover them up, instead of trusting God to clear them and cleanse us.
The facades we put in place may be an effort to keep others from finding out who we truly are, or what we’re experiencing and how we’re handling it. At times, masks we wear can even be used to try to protect us. A sort of security blanket.
We mask who we are to take away the pain of who we aren’t.
Let’s look at a few common masks adults may pick up and put on in everyday life:
The Perfection Mask
Everything appears picture-perfect. Literally. Photos, selfies, conversations – all revolve around how wonderful life is – without ever letting any concerns surface. Sure, we all want to put our best “face” forward, and these days we’d all rather hear more about good than the negative. But if we find ourselves not sharing our heartaches and concerns at least with those closest to us and God, we need to ask if we’re wearing the Perfection mask.
The Jokester Mask
Armed with witty comments, a clever sarcastic aside, even self-deprecating remarks, this costume can cover up the person inside who may be hurting more than others realize. The “life-of-the-party” persona may be laughing on the outside but depressed on the inside. The Jokester Mask can deflect attention and inquiries thus keeping the focus away from deeper conversations and revelations.
The Wealthy Mask
Living larger than their means, owning all the latest and greatest toys, the wealthy mask-wearer often keeps shopping even when the home shelves are full, credit cards maxed and the bank account overdrawn. A façade of financial wealth offers a smokescreen to impress others but inner worry about bills and anxiety about keeping up can take its toll on the inner soul.
The Religious Mask
Oh, that holy look. The outside squares are checked – going to church, giving to the poor, volunteering on church projects. Life may be so filled with doing good that there’s little room for an ongoing deep relationship with God. The less time spent privately praying and meditating on God’s Word can push the faux halo and holy mask to the front.
Only when our identity is genuinely rooted and daily rejuvenated in the Lord can we be free from the costumes and camouflage that the world convinces us we need.
When we feel the desire to hide, God wants us to take refuge in Him, unmasked.
However, there is an image God desires to see reflected through us – and one that can have a positive impact on all who encounter us. It’s far different from when we try to cover up or wear a disguise, and even unlike how we look when we operate in our own desires and our own power.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
- What is a favorite costume you wore (as a child or adult) for Halloween or a party?
- Have you tried to mask an emotion, a challenge or an action lately? With God or others?
- Do you have a Christian friend or mentor with whom you share about your walk with God and concerns of your heart? If not, think and pray about someone you can approach this week and ask to partner with you.
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13 NIV
Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™