My kids love to dress up and wear costumes and masks. Halloween is one of their favorite holidays for this exact reason. Yet even after the trick-or-treating is over, they still like to run around in their masks, sometimes refusing to leave behind being Darth Vader or a NASCAR driver for months on end.
Pretending to be someone they’re not is fun for my kids, but even as adults we do a very similar thing, don’t we? As adults, we often put on “masks” trying to be someone different. Unlike our kids though, it’s not a good thing.
Have you ever felt like you’re wearing a mask?
Like you’re putting up a front?
Ever felt like you’re trying to make yourself look better than the person that you really are?
I’ve been there. I think we all have.
But I’ve just got to ask, why do we do this? Why do we wear masks?
The answer is probably different for each of us. I know for some the answer is pride. We want everyone to see how great we are, and by wearing a mask we can look even better.
Just look at how religious I am!
How perfect I am, we think to ourselves.
While for others of us, we wear masks for the complete opposite reason: we wear a mask to hide our insecurity, to cover up our past mistakes, because we feel so imperfect.
We wear a mask to hide our insecurity, to cover up our past mistakes because we feel so imperfect.
If my friends or my coworkers or people in the church saw me for who I really am …
If people only knew about my mistakes, my brokeness, my sin, there’s no way that they would like me.
There’s no way that they would accept me.
And so we wear a mask in an attempt to hide.
So that’s why we wear masks, but I also think it’s good to talk about whom we hide from.
The obvious answer is other people: friends, neighbors, people in church.
But more often than not, the person we hide from the most is God. We hide from him because we’re ashamed, because we feel unlovable, like we’re not good enough for him.
Now here’s the hard truth: A mask might be something that we can hide behind, but it’s also something that we can die behind.
Trying to be someone we’re not is exhausting, right? Constantly trying to impress others and be fake. It’s exhausting, and it’s also a dark and lonely place to be, a place where Satan can mess with us.
On the outside your mask might say that you’re perfect, while inside it says you’re struggling with addiction.
The outside might say that you’re happy while the inside says you’re broken.
You might look really tough, but on the inside you’re scared and live out of fear.
On the outside you might portray that you’re so religious and godly, but the truth is you haven’t felt God in a long time.
Maybe your mask says perfect mom, while you secretly feel like you have no purpose.
On the outside, it might look like your house, marriage or career is so awesome, but on the inside you’re lonely, hurting and you feel completely lost.
What does your mask say? What are you trying to hide behind?
We all wear masks for different reasons, we all have different things we hide from others, from ourselves, from God, but today I want to challenge you to take that mask off.
Take it off and give it to a God who loves the real you, not the person you’re pretending to be.
Take off your mask.
Adam Weber is the founder and lead pastor of Embrace—a church that has six campuses in South Dakota and Minnesota—and the author of Talking With God: What to Say When You Don’t Know How to Pray (WaterBrook, 2017). This article was originally published on AdamWeber.com.