Seeking God’s Approval: Mask vs Honesty
Greetings. Welcome to my post. My hope and desire is that you will find these posts to be informative and helpful for you. Life is a journey filled with mountains and valleys in our relational life and in our personal life. Sometimes we can predict and make something happen. But sometimes we can never predict an event or relationship difficulty and we need to adjust and cope with these curve balls. At times life can be great but as you know, life can also be difficult and challenging.
In my last post, I spoke about the false strategy of using a mask in order to please God and others. If I can think of ways to wear a mask as a strategy to not let you see me for who I really am, then I will us this mask to keep up an appearance of looking good. One thinks to do this Christian walk is to try and try to live up to a standard so that God loves me and others love me only based upon performing or living up to some standard. Your intentions are to make sure that God and others are pleased with you.
The challenge for all of us is to ask the question: Is this working? Far too often, people have been wearing a mask due to thinking that this is what one is suppose to do. Maybe you grew up in a family system in which it was expected of you to be good. I grew up in a family where the message was this: God is good; you are bad; now try harder to be good! This message taught me to think of ways to please God and others by putting on a mask of showing them I am trying to be good. Looking good as a Christian is very easy as all you have to do is play the part, show up at church and carry your Bible.
The problem for me was deep down I was hurting and was in pain but I was too afraid to let anyone know about this pain. Instead the family message was this: I prefer that you be who I want you to be rather than who you really are. From my family system and from my upbringing I learned to study people and witnessed the pros of being a compliant or a people pleaser in order to keep up this appearance and have others be happy with me.
In other words, who has been your family? Maybe it was your church family, maybe it was a Bible Study at church, and maybe it was your own personal family. Regardless of this, you know you wear a mask in order to please others. Can you think about your ‘family’ in which sharing yourself was frowned upon and you learned to hide your painful junk so their image of you would not be shattered? Can you remember which mask you wear in order to not make them unhappy or for them to find out who you really are?
In going deeper, what fear do you most worry or are anxious about? What reaction do you fear if you removed your mask and reveal the real you? Often times it is not taking off our mask that worries us; it is more how God and others may react. Perhaps you fear your family will judge you, or condemn you, or even worse, try to fix you by telling you to stop having problems and be a better Christian. Often time in Christian circles, the message is to only look good and be good but if you are not looking good, then it must mean that you need to read the Bible more, pray more, and engage in meeting with others or the pastor in which they will remind you that your problems need to be corrected my trying harder in your walk with God.
As a recovering mask wearer, I know that I did fear the expectations or reactions from others. I wanted them to know that I was fine. But I was not. So I went to a Christian counselor and this person helped me to see that I can remove my mask. Oftentimes wearing my mask was due to my fear that if I tell you who I really am, you will not like me or accept me. So I know that you too do fear if people will accept you due to taking off the mask. But I know now I have felt so much more freedom in my life and I recommend you too find someone to talk to so you can live a honest life and not a good life in which being good only leaves you feeling you have to wear a mask. Practice being honest and not being good in order to gain approval.