When I was a child I used to collect porcelain venetian masks. I loved the bright colors painted on smooth complexions. I felt a sadness about them and was especially intrigued by their hollow eyes. Perhaps because I didn’t have to spend time and energy trying to figure out what they were thinking, I could create their identity birthed from my own imagination.
Masks are fun for halloween, but just like our hurts, habits or hangups, the mask begins to handicap us. It makes it hard to see. Hard to communicate. We are often misunderstood.
I think many of us wear masks. We hide our true identity, we mask our pain, we isolate behind that hurt, habit or hang-up and over time the mask becomes glued to our face. We may even come to believe the mask is our real identity, and when people come at us with a pick to try and break the mask to free us, we run for fear of the pain of exposing what is underneath.
When we learn to look to our identity in Christ, we can humbly remove the masks because we are focussed on what God wants for our life, we care only about His approval, and we can shed our masks one layer at a time, one day at a time. When we learn to go to God in all circumstances he builds a new identity out of the former, one that is stronger, braver and has purpose for the greater good.
“Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God- the free life!- even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. that person will find delight and affirmation in the action.” -James 1:22-25