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Lately the concept of masks has been pressing at my heart. A mask portrays something that we aren’t. We put on a mask sometimes to show that we aren’t hurting, that we don’t have any hang ups or that we really have it all together when in reality we don’t. The masks are cover ups so people will not judge us or see our imperfections. The masks make it seem like we are perfect but the reality is only God is perfect.

The one mask I have carried for so long is the response I have had to say to a question I have grown to absolutely despise over the years. “How are you?” This is a typical question I have been pressed with whenever I enter church. And quite frankly I have grown to brush it aside and respond with, “Good.” This has been my practiced response for years even when inside I have been ready to cry, hurting so deeply and physically and emotionally exhausted. My life may be in turmoil, unmanageable and stressful but only a few of my closest friends will hear my tears or the fragile side that I ache to share. Church has taught me that I have to stay glued together in the formal setting so I don’t trample on anyone else’s toes or shatter the masks everyone else is carrying. Often I have left church in tears.

This year I realized that I couldn’t put on the mask anymore because it was killing me on the inside. I had tried for years to keep my pent up feelings and anguish hidden at least at church. At home I expressed it to my closest friends and in my writing, the avenue I have always found helpful. But this year God opened a new door and I sprinted through it without any sort of regret. At last I was free of the constraints I thought I would always have to carry. The mask was removed and finally I could be myself seven days out of the week. It has been the best thing that ever could have happened to me! Now I can truly be transparent with the most amazing people that God has placed in my life. It has allowed me to begin to heal from the pain I have kept trapped inside of me for so long. Now I can be the person God intended me to be. The mask is gone and I am finally free to be myself. I can tell my special church friends what is really happening. I am learning they will accept me as I am. They accept me just as Jesus accepts me.

When we remove our masks it also allows us to step out of denial so God can begin to change, heal and transform us. He can’t do that until we can be real about who we truly are. And the best part about this process is that it liberates us.

Are you carrying a mask around? Ask God to help you remove that mask. The reality is God loves you even in your sins and weakness. He is aching for you to be real. I encourage you to take off your mask and be the person God intended you to be.

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