I walked into the room, and I giggled.
She’s a wanna-be knight!
Just wait until her big brother catches a glimpse of this; he’s going to love it!
But I was wrong…very wrong.
Big brother found his mask-wearing sister amusing for all of 2.3 seconds before he adamantly exclaimed, “Wait a minute! That’s not a knight! That’s Evie! Take that thing off!”
Though he knew that the knight was his sister and that the mask was simply pretend, he didn’t want a veiled version of his sister. He wanted her. He wanted Evie.
And as I thought more about my son’s aversion to the knight mask and his sister’s concealed identity, I thought about my own aversion to masks.
You know what I’m talking about, right?
The masks we use to veil our weaknesses, cloak our problems, hide our yuck, and disguise our messes.
The masks we wear to put up a front, fake a facade, alter our appearance, and pretend a posture.
The masks we reach for when things are ugly, imperfect, scary, and embarrassing.
The masks we hope will keep us safe from criticism, shielded from pain, protected from rejection, and hidden from our realities.
Yeah, those masks.
And though I’d like to say that I’ve never worn a mask before, I can’t.
I’ve worn the “I’ve-got-this-and-I-don’t-need-any-help-from-you-even-though-I-need-a-serious-intervention-and-about-20-boundaries” mask.
I’ve worn the “I-don’t-have-obsessively-anxious-thoughts-even-though-I’m-having-about-237-of-them-right-now-as-we-speak” mask.
I’ve worn the “I-really-like-my-children-even-though-I-want-to-gouge-my-eyes-and-possibly-relinquish-guardianship-to-their-grandparents” mask.
I’ve worn the “I’m-really-confident-about-myself-and-what-I-do-even-though-I-really-want-to-curl-up-in-a-ball-and-cry-until-you-leave-my-office” mask.
I’ve worn the “I’m-a-people-person-who-always-has-pleasant-feelings-even-though-I’m-fighting-the-urge-to-scream-and-run-for-my-introverted-hole” mask.
Suffice to say, I’ve worn them, and I’ve loathed them.
Sure, they offer temporary security and provide a sense of feigned strength, but they aren’t truly comfortable because they aren’t really me.
And when I’m not being me…
1. I’m hindering my relationships.
I’m not giving people a chance to know the real me, accept the real me, and admit, “Hey, me too!!”
2. I’m deterring my support.
I’m not giving people a chance to see my weaknesses, my yuck, and my junk and say, “Hey, can I help you?”
3. I’m stunting my growth.
I’m not giving myself an opportunity to acknowledge my problems, deal with my pain, and practice a lifestyle that believes, “Hey, I can live in freedom.”
4. I’m limiting my God.
I’m not giving Him the chance to heal my hurts, work on my weaknesses, and say, “Hey, child! I can use your imperfections for my glory and your growth.”
So in the words of my 3 year-old sage, “Take that thing off!”
Be YOU. Be REAL. Be FREE.