Stop the Masquerade
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:14a (NIV)
During elementary school, my daughter was friendly and outgoing. But when she entered middle school she changed. Being friendly to everyone in sixth grade wasn't cool. Peyton quickly found out if she didn't conform to her friend's new standards she'd be an outcast. Worst of all was the betrayal. When she didn't change to be like her friends, they spilled her secrets.
That's when it happened. Peyton started wearing masks to fit in and please people.
She hid her accepting and sweet personality, and lost her true identity. Almost like a masquerade ball, she'd wear a different personality or mask, acting in ways her friends would want.
There was only one problem. Peyton was miserable hiding behind her masks and pretending to be someone she wasn't. Sound familiar?
I think most of us understand Peyton's need to fit in. It's one reason we wear our own masks. To please others. To hide our pain. To disguise fears and failures. We put on fronts to protect ourselves from an unaccepting world. And in doing so, we mask our true identity and lose our individuality.
Why do we keep up the masquerade? Because we want acceptance.
And often we're willing to lose who we truly are in order to keep important relationships, like friends or family members. Most of us can recall a situation when a trusted person hurt us by judging our God-given personalities, traits and talents.
In our attempt to hide our insecurity or avoid betrayal and hurt, we create a mask—a look we're willing to let the world see in order to be accepted.
I was determined to help Peyton stop doing this very thing. I encouraged her to return to truth. God didn't create us to conform to other's standards, but to stand out through our own God-given uniqueness. Our key verse reminds us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. This truth gave her the courage to remember who she was before she put on the masks.
Soon Peyton found friends who were like-minded, and started participating in activities that reflected her interests. By being true to her identity and rekindling her dreams, Peyton has followed her God-given purpose. Today, she's studying foreign language in college and hopes to teach in Japan or work on the mission field.
Maybe someone along the way has discouraged you. Put you down for being creative, quietly reading books, or loving adventures. Or maybe for dreaming big, or laughing loudly, or enjoying working with your hands. Perhaps a parent, teacher, pastor, friend or even a stranger didn't accept how God created you to be and you transformed yourself to fit in their preferences.
God sees behind our masks; He loves us and longs for us to be free from the fear of being rejected. If you're constantly changing masks to fit in, then you know the awful burden of maintaining the false you. Aren't you ready to stop the masquerade? Listen closely and hear God confirming to your heart today, "You are wonderfully made."
Dear Lord, I desire freedom to lay down my masks and be myself. Help me identify my false sense of self. Enable me to recapture the person I was before I started masking my fears and insecurities. I no longer want to fit in where I don't belong. I want to be all You created me to be. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Create a mask that represents the qualities of your false self. You can draw or use parts of a magazine and words. Then, offer that mask to God and ask Him to help you recall yourself before you wore the mask.
What are some expectations you put on yourself or false concepts you have of yourself?
Do you think you need to be a certain way to be loved and accepted by others?
Psalm 139:15-16, "My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (NIV)
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