Taking off the Mask

A woman who is unveiling her beauty is inviting others to life. ~From Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge

Part of my newfound freedom is Christ in that as I begin to get to know Him, I'm becoming more and more like me. That sounds odd right? But what I mean is that I'm becoming more and more like the unique and special person God created me to be. I'm learning about passions and gifts I've long squelched.

And last night I got the chance to walk in it. Life groups started, which if you're not a Gateway member means a small bible study that meets at another time during the week. I knew no one. In fact, these situations usually make me cringe because there's always that trepidation, that anxiety about first impressions, that proverbial question that we all carry within us that says "will they like me?"

But this time was significantly different. The first thing our leader said was that she "didn't want this to be a place where we wore another mask." In other words, she was encouraging vulnerability and authenticity. Yes! And the rest of the evening ensued with much laughter, openness, and honesty.

Now this is what God must have intended when he asked us to fellowship with other believers, I thought as I sat amidst the couples in the study. When one person encourages freedom it becomes contagious, and suddenly you've got a group of completely honest and open people who are at ease. It's amazing! And it made me think about what the leader said.

Masks. We all wear them at some point in our lives because life is painful, and let's face it, we'll do just about anything to avoid getting hurt. And really, it becomes an awful cycle because once someone around you puts up that wall, that mask, it becomes a trend. It's infinitely harder to be open to someone whose hiding behind one. A woman who hides herself encourages others to hide. But the beauty of this principle is that it works in reverse too. Free people free people.

By taking down our masks we give others permission to do the same. A truly beautiful woman is one who is most herself. It invites, it calls to us, it speaks of the authenticity of God. And can you imagine a whole room of women like this? What fun! What glorious relationships could be had if we were all encouraged to be ourselves, just as God had made us?

The truth is that God's a great artist, the artist in fact, and no mask, not even those famous venetian ones that captivate the imagination, could be as beautiful as what you're hiding beneath it. Life is not a stage nor a masquerade. It does not require a mask, just the opposite in fact. It requires an authentic you. So put down the mask, destroy it, shatter it. You are crucial to His Kingdom. Your beauty is needed.

Song of Solomon 4: 7 All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.


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