For the first 31 years of my life, I felt like I was wearing a mask.
For 31 long and exhausting years, I attempted to hide who I really am. I tried to be someone I am not and I pretended to be someone else.
With each layer of disguise and deception that I piled on, I was further covering and burying the precious soul God created to flourish.
He designed me, like you, to be exactly who we are. Even our imperfections, blemishes, cuts, bruises and scars…no matter how big, deep, dark or noticeable they are…they all piece together to form God’s perfect design. And this design is much more than a work of art. It is a beautiful masterpiece.
If this is true, and it most certainly is (according to the God-breathed Word, aka Holy Bible), then why do we try to run and hide from who God made us to be? Why do we “cake on the makeup” so to speak, to escape our natural beauty?
Each one of us has our own reasons for living a veiled life. For me, I discovered that my mask had to do with my outward performance and my inward bent toward perfectionism.
I had never considered myself a people-pleaser. However, in my attempt to showcase a perfect life (years ago) I learned I was also subconsciously trying to please those around me with an “I-can-do-it-all and do-it-all-perfectly” performance attitude.
Social media only strengthened my appetite for perfection. Which is why I went rogue and took a sabbatical from social media (in 2017). I didn’t like how it was making me feel – the judgment and constant comparison combined with the highlight reel of filtered perfection from my so-called “friends” ate me alive. I couldn’t seem to quench my thirst so I had to force myself to leave the party all together.
In my time away from focusing on “the scroll,” I began to learn things about myself. Like my need for perfection. Believe it or not, I never even considered myself a perfectionist until 2014 when my life slowly began to spiral away from all things seemingly “perfect” and down towards the raw, real and dirty. It was down in the dirt when I choose to wipe my face and remove the mask I was hiding beneath.
Friends, if we are not careful we can fall into the world’s trap of filtered perfection and become someone we are not. It’s as easy as applying too much makeup – one minute you’re rubbing BB Cream on your face and the next your layering on foundation until your face starts to crack. You know what I’m talking about.
Our culture screams at us constantly not just through social media and other mediums like television, print, and radio/podcasts, but also in plain and ordinary day-to-day life. If we’re not careful we can put on a front without even trying to. It’s a slippery slope to stumble down and you won’t even notice that you slipped until you flip through your photos and see a selfie of yourself and you don’t even recognize the person staring back at you.
Some may call it maturity but I call it wisdom. Wisdom obtained by actively and intentionally seeking and praying for it because I was that person who couldn’t identify the (wo)man in the mirror. My identity was wrapped up in the reflection of whom the world wanted me to be and not of whom God crafted me as.
It took a lot of scrubbing and detoxifying to rub off the grim culture was attempting to sink into my pores, but oh, does it feel good to finally see me. The me God created me to be with an identity in Christ reflected as someone I am just starting to get to know. The depth that is no longer dark but filled with a spirit that longs to be reunited with her Creator.
There are no two ways about it – this lens was only obtained after years of struggling to fit the mold of who culture wants me to be. After being smooshed like Play-Doh, the Maker was able to begin sculpting me back into my original design.
And He isn’t finished yet.
“Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for Yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong— then guide me on the road to eternal life.”Psalms 139:23-24 (MSG)