Read: “Love others well, and don’t hide behind a mask; love authentically…” Romans 12:9 (VOICE)
Reflect: One Halloween I was dressed as Snow White. The costume was one of those old ones with a smiling, plastic face-mask held on by a piece of elastic string. As my mom drove my brother and me trick-or-treating she hit a big pothole and the car bounced, causing me to bump my head. I started crying loudly so my brother started to laugh, which made me even more upset. He told me, “But the mask is smiling!” The irony of the loud crying and smiling mask was too much for him. He wasn’t insensitive, but he needed me to take off my mask so he could respond to what was actually happening.
I spent a lot of years wearing a smiling mask. Not a literal physical mask, of course, but I masked a ton of hurt and struggle. My mask was so effective that even I wasn’t always aware of what was happening underneath. During that time, I had many friends and still often felt alone. My unwillingness to face the hidden struggles kept my friends on the surface and prevented us from loving each other in the way God intended.
We heard this weekend that authenticity is necessary for deep, intimate friendships. With God’s strength and leading I was able to begin the scary process of removing my mask, showing who I really am and allowing my friends to truly know me. Living without a mask allows my relationships to go deeper so responsive love can flow more freely.
React: God wants us to fully know and own who we are and operate out of this knowledge. Ask God to reveal any areas where you need to grow in self-awareness or authenticity in your relationships.
Pray: God, thank you for seeing the depth of who we truly are. Help us to grow in self-awareness and be authentic in our relationships.