leaf-bugThe world can be a place that makes you feel you have to put on a mask. Camouflage is fun to see in nature, like this leaf bug.

It isn’t so fun when you feel you need to put on a mask in life in order to be accepted and loved. You don’t want to be judged so you hide who you really are and put on an avoidance mask or a functional mask, a people pleaser mask, the mask of anger, a happy mask etc. You know, avoid all the pain and protect your authentic self, but a self that you really don’t like.

I went to Celebrate Recovery last week, a place where you can give up hurts, hangups, and habits to the Lord. I gave up my need to put on a mask. I picked up a blue-chip! I put on a “happy mask”, and “I have it all together “mask regularly. Because I experience a chronic illness, one I know the Lord has healed but waiting for the manifestation of, you know that truth right?  I have a choice; stay in the house (what I typically only have the energy for), or go out in public and put on a “happy face.”   The energy required of donning a mask for Sunday service can, for example, put me on the couch for a couple of days. This had to end!

I know the out-in-out Christian is a joyful Christian. But when you are sick and brain fogged and fatigued to the max, it is very difficult!

A few years ago, the Lord had spoken to my heart and told me that “It’s not about you” and what I experience in life I am to use to encourage others. 2 Corinthians 1:4 in the Message says “He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, no more so than the good times of his healing comfort – we get a full measure of that, too.”

If I put on a mask, it is harder for people to relate to me and let me encourage them in the Lord. I know that I am to keep the Lord in the forefront at all times Matthew 6:33 and not hide the joy of the Lord. Nehemiah 8:10. I am to shine his light Matthew 5:16.  I am to think about what is pure, lovely, good, praiseworthy, noble, etc. and I will have peace. Philippians 4:8–9.  I am to be content in all situations sick or well, Philippians 4:11-13. I know the power of life and death is in the tongue, Proverbs 18:21.

But if I look like I am never struggling, people will not know that I have been through a test or trial that they may be facing. It may help someone to know that they are not alone and can talk to me about their circumstance. Heaven forbid, they may even be put off by my fake smile and laughter and think I am unapproachable. This actually happened! When you wear a mask, you don’t let others know the real you. One of the most basic needs people have is to feel connected to other people and that can’t happen when you are hidden.

Glory Story: Just today, I had to go back to bed instead of being with my grandchildren ( I traveled 1,000 miles to see them).  I was feeling a craziness and heaviness that I hadn’t had for at least a week. I was feeling tormented.  After laying there 50 minutes, sleeping maybe 10 of those minutes, I received a chain text on messenger.  It said, “God told me to tell you that everything you’re going through is taken care of.” I realized once again that He uses people to send his messages. I got out of bed and called a friend to pray off the crazies.  God is so good to me, and to you!!

His words have power and my words have power so I will have to be careful, But I no longer feel the need to be “chipper” when I am not! Praise the Lord!

praying-handsFather God, I worship you and thank you for being who you are!  I repent of the times that I have not been real in your sight or the sight of others and I ask you to forgive me. I thank you that every day you give me a new beginning. You say that your mercies are new every morning, for great is your faithfulness.  I know you say that your Joy is my strength, Joy that comes from the hope we have in you. During the days that the “house” is sitting on me, I will enter into your presence with friends to pray off the heaviness and put on the garment of praise. I know that in your presence is peace, hope, joy everlasting, and I will be content in your presence, no matter what!  Thank you, Lord for being who you are and helping me this day to know that you have taken care of everything.  In Jesus Christ Name I pray, Amen