Reflections: When The Masks Come Off

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I used to write a blog on which I explored various thoughts. I stopped it about a year or so ago but sometimes a memory on FB will come up and I’ll search back through it to see the growth or lack thereof. As I was looking for a post from a couple years ago, I came across this one. I can remember the pain and joy I felt during this time.

It was a year before I’d realize I’d fallen in love without even knowing it. (Sometimes I can be slow) and two years before I’d realize that you don’t have to act in something just because you’ve fallen in love. We are human and our emotions can direct us down paths we don’t really want to want. We have to choose whether to let our emotions lead us or if we are going to lead our emotions.

(As I finished typing this intro, a friend sent me this song below . I had to laugh at how it aligns with what I just typed about emotions! It’s a worship song, so if you’re not into that, just skip over it. If you are, take a pause and check it out!)

It was a fun year filled with a LOT of trips and ministry and growth. Totally different from the last two summers and this summer. It was a summer to remember because it was pivotal for so many experiences.

By working in ministry with a group of kids I adored, being able to serve in my sweet spot, I learned some of my strengths, weaknesses, and areas I still had to address with God. I saw my fears and my pain laid out before me daily.

By watching a friend die in front of me and thankfully come back to life, I learned that I had it within me to care again – at any level. Before that, I’m pretty sure I’d stopped really caring about anyone at a heart level. It had become very surface and superficial.

By watching a friend battle addiction and triumph over it and fall again, I learned that even though who believe hard and with all they have can make terrible choices.

By getting out with creatives, I learned how to release my passion again. I started enjoying life to the fullest despite being so unsatisfied with so many areas of it.

I’m not sure where you’re at in life, and I don’t intend to make this blog one where I explore my thoughts with you on anything other than the Bible and business, but as I read this I thought of some conversations I’ve had with people recently and how so many people are hurting. Maybe this post will help one of you online who haven’t yet told anyone about your pain.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 15, 2016

That last one was difficult. The mask of indifference and apathy. The one that said, “I don’t care how you hurt me. I am tough. I can handle it.” The one that led me to believe I didn’t care. 

Oh… But I cared.

I cared so much I had nightmares weeks after the mask was shattered. I couldn’t stop seeing situations play before me, showing that I cared deeply. I could feel my heart beginning to hurt and longing for the comfort of the mask to say, “This isn’t affecting me”. 

The masks are gone and I am now left to face the woman I am. The woman I have hidden all these years. The woman God created me to be. 

I like her. This woman I am. I like how she cares so deeply for other that she sacrifices her own comfort at times. The first time I felt a tear at the cost of another’s pain, I surprised myself at how deeply I felt the sadness within my heart. “Bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2, NIV). Who knew that I could feel another’s pain once again. That I could go beyond caring into truly loving. For years this has lacked in my life due to fear. And I will admit that loving others – truly loving others – hurts. There is a pain that comes along with others not meeting your expectations and learning how to handle that, since they aren’t held to your expectations. (That is another post though.) 

What have you missed out on due to fear? What people haven’t you befriended because fear tells you they would never like you or accept you? How has fear stopped you from living?

For too long fear ruled over my heart in the form of indifference. Protective mechanisms were in place as I surrendered every bit of my future to this dark shadow over my life. The one that said I am not “good enough”, “pretty enough”, “skinny enough”, “young enough”. All lies spoken to hold me back, in a place of comfort. 

The masks were hard to peel off. The flesh that peeled off with them at times bled when ripped off. It was messy and I cried a lot – which was another new experience. But the freedom I feel right now cannot be replaced with anything I’d want more.

The masks are off and I have stepped in where I belong. My life has changed from March to now. My outlook has changed since dealing with the layers I had added to myself. I feel myself loving, laughing, dreaming more than I ever have. I feel myself growing closer with friends, experiencing true love, and knowing what it means to “BE”.

What masks do you have left that need to be removed? What is preventing you from removing them? 

I encourage you to deal with them. 

  • The mask of “I am okay”
  • The mask of “I don’t need others”
  • The mask of strength, courage, valor
  • The mask of joy
  • The mask of having it all together
  • The mask of security
  • The mask of faith
  • The mask of confidence
  • The mask of knowledge
  • The mask of friendship
  • The mask of self-righteousness
  • The mask of fear
  • The mask of loneliness
  • The mask of personality 

We hide behind so many masks that we forget or never even learn who we are. It’s time you dig deep and learn who God created you to be. At church this month we are talking about becoming “unpeeled” so I am going to be challenged by the talks as I ensure I do not have any masks I kept around for safety. I pray you will deal with your masks and remain unmasked as well.

I challenge you to go through your closets and verify you did not leave any masks behind. I challenge you to confirm you are being authentic and real. Confront any issues within you that make the masks more comfortable to wear than your true self.

I will come back and explore some of these masks as I hear from you which ones you are struggling to remove and as I see which ones try to make their way back into my wardrobe. But for now, know that anything that you do or say and then do not want anyone to realize you are dealing with leads to putting on a mask. Let’s peel them off and move forward! All of them.

Until next time,

~Shell

6 Replies to “Reflections: When The Masks Come Off”

  1. My masks began to be ripped off in 2006. I’m still working on them. Writing my memoirs,as I’m doing now,is a huge help in taking off the last of those masks…it is a painful and joyful process. 🙂

    1. I can imagine that is helpful, Bill. As I’ve worked on compiling my poetry and shared reflections on them from today’s POV, I could see the masks I’d worn over the years to hide pain. The girl on paper was my raw emotion whereas in person I was masked beyond what I even realized until I began shedding them. Thanks for reading!

  2. Truth hurts and can be ugly… but it’s real!

    I’m glad to see you! It’s been a while!

    1. Hey, John! Yes it does and is! So necessary though. Thanks so much for warm wishes – been trying to establish a summer blogging schedule with my daughter being out of school and having sports practice hasn’t been as easy as I thought it would be. I saw some posts of yours in my email that I have some thoughts about so I’ll be getting over there this weekend (which starts tomorrow for me). You’ve been busy while I’ve been away!

      1. The monsoon finally arrived lol!! I hope you’re having a blessed summer with your daughter! And I hope you continue to enjoy the blog!

        1. Yes! I enjoy your mind. It gets me thinking too. I am bad about reading it in email since it’s there. Now I have to get over to the actual blog and comment! Lol

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