Have you ever wore one of those plastic Halloween masks? They come in all shapes and sizes from Ronald Reagan to Wonder Woman. No matter what the mask is, we put them on to pretend we are someone else. And one thing they all have in common is you can’t breathe in those things! I can only wear one for a few minutes before the heat of my breath makes me get a little panicky. I need fresh air.
Have you ever felt like that in life? Like you need to take off the mask so you can breathe? There have been times in my life that I wore the mask so long I nearly suffocated myself. It rarely came off. No one really saw the real me, the flawed me.
My “Wonder Woman” mask got heavier and sealed on tighter when we started ministry work. I had this false impression that if we were going to help people that we had to have it all together. I thought we had to present ourselves well so other people would desire to be in Christ. I tried to keep my house spotless for visitors. I went over the top for every baby shower and Christmas party. I wanted people to think our lives were immaculate.
When our marriage trouble started the mask became air tight. I could not let anyone know what was really happening behind closed doors. Instead of putting my inner turmoil on display, I masked it with humor, confidence, and more church activities.
Finally, the mask started cracking. I let some people see some of the problems. My fears diminished and my confidence grew. I started sharing more and being real, blemishes and all. God eventually led me to a place where my weaknesses have become my ministry. He has shown me that He does His best work through my inabilities.
Now, if you come to my house expect to see dirty dishes and piles of laundry, even dog hair under the couch cushions. You may see me in my pj’s til noon, my hair frizzy and no make-up. If you stay long enough you may witness a mother melt down or two. You will see children who make bad choices now and again, parents who make mistakes, and a husband and wife who sometimes let their selfishness win. I try to do my best, but sometimes I just plain mess-up.
The thing is, I like it that way. I like it because when I stumble I am reminded that it’s not about me. It is not about perfection. It is not about mastering the Christian graces, but it is about grace.
“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 Cor. 12:9-10
If you are still wearing your mask I encourage you to start peeling back the layers until you find the real you. It is so worth it. Once you breathe that fresh air you will never go back.