Have you ever wondered why we wear masks on Halloween? Well, I have! I did some research and found some pretty creepy stuff, so I’m going to let you look that one up for yourself! Let’s be honest. We all probably have a costume or two from our childhood that we remember wearing on Halloween, especially the one mom hand-made. For one night, we got to pretend to be someone else, and there was such excitement at the thought of collecting insane amounts of candy. It was almost as if we were rewarded for pretending to be someone who we’re not.
The Mask You Want Others to See
As we’ve gotten older, is it possible that we have traded a “Halloween mask” for another kind of mask—the kind of mask not made of paper or plastic but made of social media accounts, academic achievements, and trendy clothes; the kind of mask that allows us to “blend in” and be accepted; a mask that doesn’t show a monster on the outside, but one that tries to cover up the true monster on the inside; A mask that looks a little nicer than what’s underneath; a mask that we think will save us from the hurt of being fully known and rejected? This is the mask we would rather people see over our true selves.
For the majority of my life, I walked around wearing a mask. Actually, I was pretty good at switching between multiple masks depending on whom I was with and what I thought would bring me the most acceptance. My relationships would only go as deep as I allowed to avoid being vulnerable with others. I built walls so no one could see into the dark depths of my heart. I lived in fear that if people knew the real, unmasked me that I wouldn’t be loved or accepted. I thought I had succeeded in keeping some of the darkest reaches of my heart from everyone—that is, until I realized that I hadn’t succeeded with Jesus. He knew the depths of my heart even though I could fool everyone else.
God Sees What’s Behind the Mask
He knows you completely too. Slow down and let that sink in. There are no secrets—none. Even if you have succeeded in keeping something from everyone in your life, you haven’t kept it from him. He has known you on your best day and your worst day. You have never done something that he doesn’t know about. You have never had a thought that he doesn’t know, a feeling that he doesn’t know. Think about the closest relationship that you have—maybe it’s a family member or a friend. What that person knows about you is nothing compared to what God knows about you. Matthew 10:30 says that even the hairs on your head are numbered.
He knows everything about you—your thoughts, your feelings, and your body even more infinitely than you know yourself, and guess what?! In light of all of this, the all-powerful, all-knowing God still loves you. You are fully known and loved by him—a love that is unparalleled.
Take Off the Mask
So God knows you. No question about it. But do the people in your life know you? I mean really know you. I’ve found the best way to stop hiding is to get into community! And I’m not just talking about having fun with your friends. What I mean is a true Christian community—a community that knows intimate aspect of your life, holds you accountable, tells you hard truths, and loves you when the mask comes off and things aren’t so pretty. I know from first-hand experience that when people don’t know the real you it can get pretty lonely, and maybe you feel like you are alone in your sin struggles. What you’ll find when you choose to take the mask off and let people see those not so great parts of yourself is that you aren’t as alone as you think. We are all in a constant state of refining and redemption. Now, here’s the big question: will you continue to live in fear or choose to take off the mask?
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” -Tim Keller (The Meaning of Marriage)
Maybe you’re a college student who’s thinking to yourself, “I know I need to do something about this, but I have no idea what.” Maybe you’re thinking, “I would love to have Christian community but don’t know where to look.” The answer is Family Group! Click here to sign up!
-Kenzie Allred (College Team)