Ultimately, the “imaginary masks” we wear can cost us intimacy with Jesus Christ, His Presence, and His Abundance for our lives. William Shakespeare, well known Poet said, “God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.” Pretending to be someone we are not, drains our minds, bodies, and souls. Some people wear masks to protect themselves from vulnerability, pretending they have it all together and that everything is perfect. We occasionally hide behind alcohol, drugs, perfection, people pleasing, and other coping mechanisms. We have designed our masks to cover up our imperfections, allowing us to hide behind fake smiles, lies, unspoken sadness and loneliness, denied feelings of not being good enough, false validations, unseen tears and deniable fears, ignored emptiness or even the saying “fake-it-til-you-make-it.” I have learned faking is nowhere near the start line that leads to making it.
No doubt, faking is more like wandering through the wilderness, much like the Israelites, for forty long and unnecessary years. The Bible says in Joshua 5:6, “The Israelites had traveled in the wilderness for forty years until all the men who were old enough to fight in battle when they left Egypt had died. For they had disobeyed the Lord, and the Lord vowed He would not let them enter the land He had sworn to give us—a land flowing with milk and honey.” Instead of vying for other people’s approval and trying to live a life full of people pleasing, live to please God, no matter what others think of you. I understand what it is like since I have also struggled with an approval addiction. Namely, people pleasing and approval, which was exhausting and robbing me of my joy. But, as I became more conscious of my people pleasing habits, I realized the only thing it was doing was making me more miserable. All my time revolved around taking care of other people. For me, it became an intense need to please and care for others, and it was deeply rooted in fear of rejection and fear of failure. Thankfully, I have since moved forward by learning that I deserve to take care of myself, and it is nothing to feel guilty about, not now, not ever. Romans 8:5-6 says, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”
Accordingly, the most important stamp of approval comes from God. In the article, “4 Ways To Be A More Authentic Person,” it tells you to embrace your imperfection and dare to be a bit vulnerable. You’ll be amazed where the right kind of vulnerability can take you. We are not anyone else, we are ourselves, and can only be ourselves. The Bible tells us in Luke 6: 22-23 “What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.”
Take off the mask
Given these points, you can now begin to remove the “imaginary masks,” build your confidence and let go of trying to fit in, no longer having a fear of what others might think of you and most importantly, now having the ability to focus on your potential instead of your limitations. When removing the mask, you will gain confidence, peace, strength, vulnerability, more energy, the ability to be true to self, self-worth, self-value and authenticity. You must stop seeking validation from people, work, friends, or accomplishments. That doesn’t mean you forget about people altogether. However, you must remember that God’s love and acceptance are the keys to value and significance. Taking off your mask and uncovering your true self, requires effort and a commitment to change, but it can be done, and the rewards are well worth it. Are you ready to remove your mask and be that authentic person God called YOU to be?