Do you ever try to mask your true self in order to impress those around you? Maybe it’s only occasional, or maybe it’s more frequent. For most of us, myself included, it’s likely the latter. After all I was born and raised in the South- a culture known for parading its southern
So many days I pretend to be what others think I am, never revealing my true self. They say I’m strong, so I must act the part. Pull it together. Act strong, despite how weak I may feel. They say I’m a good wife/mom/friend, I must act that part as well. And while I will fail miserably at times in what I actually do while in those roles, I’ll never admit it or let others know.
And so it goes, all this pretending. An endless cycle. And as I’m perfecting my acting skills, I am left feeling alone and isolated. “No gets this. No one could understand my struggle. She has her act together. She…she is strong.” I repeat things of this nature in my mind while forgetting that the “she” I’m referring to is just another broken women pretending to be things she simply is not.
Maybe you do this too?
And perhaps you’ve walked into a church, the place where we should be our most broken, but instead of seeing other people’s brokenness, you’ve just seen rows and rows of plastic people. People who like us, have put up their facades, afraid of letting the world know their secrets and hidden pains.
What is our motivation for hiding our flaws? If it’s to make ourselves look better then we should be reminded that Christians are called to make much of Him, and not ourselves.
Or it could be that our motivation for hiding comes from a sincere desire to protect our hearts from hurt and rejection. But this can’t be how God created us to live in community. It just can’t. Because what good is community if it’s merely a counterfeit?
But the Gospel steps in, reminding us of what Christ has done for us despite our flaws and freeing us to bear those failures under that banner. The Gospel allows us to rejoice in a Savior who despite our many sins, loves us deeply. He chooses to commune daily with our real self. Shouldn’t that be enough for us to do the same with each other?
Every now and then, a genuine friend will come into your life. They’ll gently help you to remove your mask. They’ll let you know that they love you despite your flaws. They will be your token of grace. Maybe you’ll have just one or maybe you’ll have many. But you won’t always need to be on the receiving end. In fact for some of us, maybe our job right now is to be that token of grace in someone else’s life? Perhaps it’s your turn to show those around you your authentic self, flaws and all?
I know it’s scary when you’re vulnerable and real. You can get hurt when you let your guard down and I’m not promising that won’t happen. But in dying to ourselves, we find that the only anecdote for plastic people is authenticity. Be authentic. Show your struggles. And then point those who see your flaws to the only One who is flawless.
This post is dedicated to my sweet friends. They are my own tokens of grace.