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The mask

This got forwarded on to me – the author is Charles Finn. So many people I know struggle with this. Don’t be fooled by me. Don’t be fooled by the face I wear; for I wear a mask-a thousand masks; masks that I’m afraid to take off, and none of them are really me. Pretending is an art that’s seco…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

This got forwarded on to me – the author is Charles Finn. So many people I know struggle with this.

Don’t be fooled by me. Don’t be fooled by the face I wear; for I wear a mask-a thousand masks; masks that I’m afraid to take off, and none of them are really me. Pretending is an art that’s second nature to me, but don’t be fooled.

I give you the impression that I’m secure, that all is sunny and unruffled with me, within as well as without. Confidence is my name and coolness is my game. I am in command. I need no one. But don’t believe me-please. My surface may seem smooth but my surface is my mask, my ever-changing and ever-concealing mask. Beneath dwells the real me in confusion, in fear, in aloneness. But I hide this. I don’t want anybody to know it.

I panic at the thought of my fear and weakness being exposed. That’s why I frantically create a mask to hide behind, a nonchalant, sophisticated facade-to help me pretend; to shield me.

Acceptance, followed by love is what I need. It is one thing that will assure me that I’m really worth something. But I don’t tell you this. I don’t dare. I’m afraid to. I’m afraid that you’ll think less of me, that you’ll laugh, and your laugh would kill me.

My life becomes a front. I idly chatter to you in the suave tones of surface talk. I tell you everything that’s really nothing, and nothing of what’s everything. So when I’m going through my routine, do not be fooled by what I’m saying. Please listen carefully and try to hear what I’m not saying, what I’d like to be able to say, but what I’m afraid to say.

I dislike the superficial game I’m playing-the superficial, phony game. I’d really like to be genuine and spontaneous and me. But that fear-that wall of fear…it stops me every time. My survival depends on breaking through that wall. It depends on me…fighting my fear, shedding my mask and showing myself to you. But I am scared. I’m afraid that deep down I’m nothing-that I’m just no good, and that you’ll see this and reject me.

So, I play my game, my desperate, pretending game, with a facade of assurance without, and a trembling child within, and so begins the parade of masks.*

Do you resonate with this?  Do you have a place to take off the mask? 
*If you’d like help in getting to a place of authenticity, let me suggest this link for women.

Comments (5)

  • Oh yes, this resonates alright!! Funny how you can think, just because you are a Christian, that you no longer wear masks. When I was praying this morning, I became aware that despite thinking I was crystal clear and honest with God, I actually had hidden away behind a lot of excuses and opinions that I formed when I was afraid that God had gone. That I wasn’t acceptable, that He would reject me too like some people had, that my worth was gone if I ever had any in the first place. That I was mistaken about Him and had got my theology wrong and I was a fool.

    Pretending, hiding, closing your ears to what’s true because you can’t believe it will be for you so you can’t take the risk on it – those things are not always conscious decisions. Self deception is an unbelievably strong thing.

    God’s coaxing me to let Him take down the masks and have me trust Him again. I wish that was as simple as it sounds! Like that writer says, I don’t like hiding and I want to be generous and spontaneous again, but I’m scared. Nice to know I’m not the only one!!

  • My mask goes on whenever Im around people, no matter who they are. It only comes off in the presence of one person, the one who loves me totally, uncondionally the one person I can be totally free with.The one person who was there at my conception and birth and has seen everything I am, everything Ive done and everything I want to be.

    My prayer is that one day, His body will be the same as the Head and then I wont need to wear a mask at all.

  • This is beautifully said. For the last ten years, since a horrific divorce, God has slowly been stripping me of that glittering image. I must say, that I am getting nearer to that authentic self with many of my crutches removed. All of my identities: the uber successful professional, the glamorous socialite, the large beautiful house, the high profile successful husband, the large extravagant parties, the off and on rejection of my children, the loss of status and friends, …well you can say I have been downwardly mobile.

    And while I have very little these days, I must say I have never been more joyous.

    I do still see those vestiges of claiming my worthiness in the eyes of others, those insecurities that my raw self is not enough for their approval and I revert back to who or what I was. Or fall in to the trap of being smarter, intelligent or more knowledgeable

    I recommend a wonderful novel written in the 80’s, by Susan Howatch. Is a wonderful story of of spirituality and morality, played out in the Church of England – a tale of God, sex, love, self-analysis and forgiveness.

  • St. Mark of the Cross

    Just like Moses and his veil we are… When all we really have to do is allow the glory of God to shine through us whether in prosperity or poverty – God’s glory does not depend on our mood. By the way, anyone got any make-up I can borrow, I have to preach to a group of Russian speaking people tomorrow in Bristol, TN and they think I am such a man of God… lol

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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