superhero’s. I was usually a princess. I know, some things never change.
Some kids had crafty mom’s who sewed little sequins and ruffles onto dresses or created robots out of cardboard boxes. My mom was not one of those and so our costumes were most often purchased at a local variety store. The costume box contained a hospital style gown decorated to look like whatever you were supposed to be and a molded plastic mask with strategically cut holes for eyes and nose. The mask had a thin rubber elastic attached with two tiny staples that were supposed to hold it securely to your face. I remember Mom peering intently at me, trying to ascertain if I could actually breathe with the mask on. I could not. The one-size-fits-no-one mask holes never really lined up with where my nostrils were. The eye holes didn’t allow for clear vision, either. Your need for oxygen was pitted against your need to see. Possibly, I could catch a glimpse of where I was, but no more. Walking into things was a very real danger.
I adored my princess mask. The long yellow waves of painted hair glistened with a sparkly blue crown. I felt transformed from plain ol’ freckled Donna into a beautiful princess. But behind the mask, I was blind, asphyxiated, and sweaty. As much as I wanted to be Cinderella, the truth was that I couldn’t wait to take the mask off, just so that I could breathe again.
Hiding behind a mask can feel right and safe and even fun for a little while. Soon though, the effort of being unable to clearly see the world around you, the difficulty of drawing a breath, of being someone that you are not becomes a burden rather than a game.
We all wear masks from time to time. There is the church mask, the teacher mask, the good parent mask, and the look how good, kind, caring, dependable, wealthy, spiritual, honest, capable, and politically correct I am mask. These are the faces that we present on Facebook, at our jobs, and to the greater world.
We want to show the world our best side, our perfect self, and not admit that inside we are broken, lonely, and needy.
A few weeks ago, I shared about Mary bathing Jesus feet with her tears, wiping His feet with her hair, and anointing Him with precious perfume. Mary had removed her mask to sit at her Savior’s feet. She set every other thing aside and pressed in to Jesus.
It feels risky to take the mask off. Like Mary, we may suffer criticism from other mask wearing people. But God sees the real us, and He, who is love, loves us.
For you have died and life is hidden with Christ in God. ~Col. 3:3
The only covering for a believer is the blood of Jesus, Christ in you, the hope of glory.