Off Stage

At church we’ve started this great series about masks. Let’s be honest, it’s awful.

Not that the preaching is bad (it’s phenomenal, actually).

Not that the content is questionable (it’s spot on).

Quite the opposite.
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It’s great, but the series is awful because every word is powerfully convicting, maybe more for some than for others, but you show me a person without a mask and, well, you’ve either introduced me to Jesus or a corpse. I already know Jesus and quite frankly I don’t have that much interest in dead bodies—so my point is, we’re all wearing masks.

Believe me, I know.

I slip mine on and off with perfect ease. A practiced professional protecting herself from pain and heartache so well she’s begun to wonder if she can even feel certain emotions anymore.

And the funny thing is—I really don’t have any reason to wear these masks. Maybe I could go back and blame some psychological history, but I know that’s more an excuse than a cause. What is really at the heart of this preemptive strike against the world is fear.

Fear of rejection.

Fear of failure.

Fear of pain.

Fear of loneliness, heartache, unhappiness…you name it.

And the tighter I hold to my mask, the less comfortable I feel in the world.

And everything I’ve been trying to avoid, ironically, becomes a reality.

But the mask is comfortable. We’ve worn it for so long it feels like it’s a part of us, so much so that it morphs into our settings, even our accessories.

A cellphone in the middle of the crowd…I won’t feel so alone if I connect to something…even if that something is superficial.

Sunglasses to hide the eyes wide, panicked, maybe even tear-filled.

Empty phrases like “I’m doing great.” Or better still…”I’m fine.” Words just to fill the void and mask the true feelings bubbling just beneath the surface.

Anger.

Depression.

Embarrassment.

All that you dare not share if you want to be accepted.

But the masks are exhausting. A charade. A never-ending play.

I’m sorry, Shakespeare (and Madonna), but life is not meant to be a stage. And all the playacting eventually will just wear you down.

We are created to be authentic.

Raw.
Real.

A piece of fruit gave us a mask, but a cross stripped it away. It’s time we reaped htos rewards.

Building relationships.

Finding wholesome entertainment.

Accepting the rest that He offers.

A life in the world, but not of it.

A life off the stage.

Free.

How will you break free?

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