Maybe you’re like me, and you don’t always realize when you’re wearing a mask. God has used difficulties in my life to show me a mask I’m wearing and to remind me that I won’t experience a fulfilled life behind one. During a particularly difficult time, He showed me I was wearing a mask which cleverly concealed issues.
At the time, my life was full of turmoil. My daughter was going through a painful experience that affected me deeply yet which I could not fix or control. When I focused on God, I did most of the talking. Non-stop panic prayers formed most of my communication with Him. Because of His great love for me, He didn’t force me to be quiet and listen. He waited for me to tire of doing things in my own strength.
When I sought help and guidance, I learned about Listening Prayer in Mary Geegh’s book, God Guides. Through Listening Prayer, I began to understand that God wanted my companionship. He wanted a closer relationship with me. He longed for me to wait in His presence and listen to Him.
Once I began listening and God had my full attention, I was amazed at what He said. He spoke to me about the issues I was hiding behind my Perfect ten mask–much like He addressed the issues in the life of the Samaritan woman. What He revealed to me caught me by surprise! I discovered I lacked compassion, humility, and the willingness to forgive. I was able to appear like I had it all together; why couldn’t other women do the same? I’d focused so much energy on generating that perfect image, I’d been oblivious to cancerous cells of pride growing rampantly behind my mask.
I was a seasoned Christian; you would think compassion, humility, and a willingness to forgive wouldn’t be new territory for me. Though I’d exercised these character traits to a point, I still had a long way to go in practicing them in all areas and when the pressures of life increased.
Once I recovered from the shock of exposure, I discovered I didn’t feel condemned by God. I felt overwhelmed by His love. This resulted in a full-blown conviction to change and remove the Perfect Ten mask. I experienced His great love for me in the midst of my weakness, and this knowledge spurred me forward.
“For now I [God] just want you to be with me and discover that our relationship is not about performance or you having to please me. I’m not a bully, not some self-centered demanding little deity insisting on my own way. I am good, and I desire only what is best for you. You cannot find that through guilt or condemnation or coercion, only through a relationship of love. And I do love you. ” William P. Young, The Shack
Even though I never experienced condemnation from God about the real me under the mask, I wasn’t sure I’d be as well received by people. As I grew in the experiential knowledge of His love, I began to realize it didn’t matter what others thought of me as long as He loved me. Still, moving past the fear of living without a mask has been one of the greatest challenges of my life.
By Sandy Ralya, Mentoring WivesLeave a Comment