This time of year it’s a common question to ask children, “What are you going to be for Halloween?” The hype over clever and unique costumes captivates my attention each year. From little kids dressed like great-grandparents, to pets posing as humans, I enjoy the creativity displayed in the best costumes. I’m fairly certain I could “out-Pinterest” the rest of you if I really tried, but lucky for you, our family doesn’t observe this holiday so your trophy is safe.
There is one costume I’d like to see all of us wear; it’s an “un-costume” of sorts. I propose we all just go real. Show me an unmasked human being and let’s celebrate that. You want people to think you’re perfect. I get it. Friend, I’ve tried to sell that lie as well.
As I scream toward the half-century mark, I’m slowly peeling off the costumes and masks I’ve worn for years, and it’s liberating. You may have them too—emotional camouflage and cover-ups that hide what’s on the inside. It’s possible you’ve worn them so long you don’t realize you’re still hidden behind the façade. We probably all have at least one mask in the closet we save for special occasions.
Put on your perfectionism mask so no one sees you’re battling loneliness, depression, or anxiety. You’ll need the people-pleasing mask to hide insecurity. The tough-girl mask goes well to disguise your fear of getting hurt. My personal favorite is the superior mom mask, which barely covers up the real stress and strain of raising children. You get the idea. We have a mask for any occasion that challenges our emotional security.
Wouldn’t it be easier if we could drop the masks and be real? You’re a mess. So what. I am too. My kids argue, they misbehave, and they do things I vowed I’d never allow. I battle envy, struggle with comparing myself to other moms, and occasionally eat chocolate cake for breakfast. I pretend to have it all together, but have been known to cry myself to sleep because the stress of parenthood is overwhelming. The older I get, the more I’m willing to raise my hand and confess to the mayhem in my house. The mask I once wore was too heavy for me, so I took it off. I wasn’t created to hide behind it in the first place.
Why do we wear masks? Why not take them off once and for all? You might say you’re afraid people won’t like the real you. I’d argue they will like you more. Maybe you’re terrified you won’t measure up to the expectations of others. That’s okay. Those expectations are unrealistic. Everyone wants to be flawless; no one wants to be around flawless.
The only way to throw off the disguise once and for all is to remember we can’t reflect the glory of God while wearing a mask. He calls us to shine our light for all to see. It never happens behind a dark façade. The words of the Lord regarding what others thought about the soon-to-be King David in 1 Samuel 16:7 are true for you and me. “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”Drop your mask and let people see the real you. You’ll find honesty, transparency, and authenticity are more attractive than perfectionism. Your heart is what matters most. If it’s good enough for God, it’s good enough for the rest of the world.
About Kim Heinecke
Kim Heinecke wants to live in a world where children listen to the advice of their mothers without question. As a former single mom she’s been encouraging women using her life experiences in parenting, growing in the Word of God and everything in between. When she’s not negotiating with a teenager or wrestling a pre-schooler, you can find her camping in the family RV or pretending to understand sports with her husband and four sons. Read more from Kim at www.TheMomExperiment.com.