I sat at the computer. My eyes fixed on the screen. The words I’d written stared back at me with such stark reality my heart began to race.
As my fingers lie motionless on the keyboard I pondered the outcome. Do I really want to do this? What if someone I know sees this? Should I use an anonymous name? What will people think of me?
With the click of a mouse it was done. And there was no way to undo it. I took off part of my mask. Right there, in public, for the masses on the internet to see.
When God nudged me to write, my first thought was, write what. “I have such an ordinary life,” I answered. No enchanting experiences that would seduce a reader beyond the first paragraph or even the first sentence. He pressed on.
Tucking an advertisement for a writing course in my devotional got my attention, but I didn’t sign up. I have nothing to write about. Soon after an article about unmasking landed in my inbox, and the gentle nudge evolved into a tug. There was no escaping …
The lights went on, and I was exposed. In the glare I realized I played it safe my entire life. The struggles, the hurt, and the shame of my past were tucked safely behind my mask. Not that I didn’t get real with people, I just didn’t reveal the bad stuff. The stuff I assumed would cause people to think less of the “perfect” me I tried to portray.
You see we hide. We hide our faults and our failures.
We offer up only our “good side”. Shame and wrong-doing is not what we share. It’s what we shroud.
Oh, and I got good at it. Masquerading for so long, I didn’t even realize I was masking myself to me! But God called my bluff that day …
I know you and I love you, just the way you are, He whispered. With courage only He could muster, I clicked the submit button. The words staring back at me vanished.
Instantly the blogosphere learned I had a teenage pregnancy that was “cured” with an abortion. Oh, and the failure and disgrace of divorce was exposed as well. Not so perfect …
So do I have something to write about? Oh yes, I have plenty to write about! I have failures and regrets. But I also have triumphs and forgiveness.
That day I learned even a mask years – no decades – old, and worn tight against my heart, was not capable of hiding myself from God. He sees us. He knows us. Fully and completely.
Hiding behind a mask with God is like an umbrella in a hurricane … useless.
God knows and loves everything about us. We can get real with God even if it takes a while to get real with others. His ‘love without conditions’ sets us free from shame and guilt.
Hiding says, shame and regret have power over us. The truth tells us, God has given us His power to overcome shame and regret.
Ephesians 3:20 reminds us, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”
With a single comment on a blog post, part of my mask was peeled away. Courage and joy stepped in where fear and shame once stood. And it was liberating! Unburdened, I shared my story with others and more peeling and more courage ushered in.
I still wrestle with the idea of writing. My wrestling match has moved on from, write what, to, who will read what I write. Ever faithful, He cleared that up as well.
If you write a thousand articles and reach just one for Me, I will be pleased, He seemed to say.
Are you that “one” I’m writing for? As I share my Journey to Him I hope you draw closer to God and allow yourself to get real with Him. You don’t have to tell the world. Just tell Him. Perhaps we can peel away our masks together, one layer at a time.
Are you in that hiding place today? Please know God doesn’t want you to hide. He wants you free to live an abundant life that brings you joy and Him glory. His arms are open wide and waiting to comfort you, and wipe away any remnants of shame, loss, and regret.
Perhaps you might leave a comment below and begin taking off your mask today.
A Truth – “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.” Psalm 139:1
A Read – Life Unstuck by Pat Layton
A Prayer – Lord, thank you for guiding me out from behind my mask. To be fully known, and also fully accepted, is the desire of everyone’s heart. Removing this burden of shame, regret and loss brings freedom, peace and joy. Please help me take this truth and tuck it away in my heart. Amen.