Seeking God’s Approval: Mask or Vulnerable
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 use this mask to keep up an appearance of looking good. One thinks how to do this Christian walk is to try and 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.
As we continue to focus on the power and purpose of these masks, we always have to be reminded that using these masks only sets us up for ongoing unhappiness. We try to please others or we try to please God, but we know deep down that this strategy is not working. Part of the reason we keep on focusing on these masks is due to this thinking: I am afraid to let God and you like me for who I really am. If I were to tell you my problems, my sin, my difficulties and all my faults, then I am not sure you will like me. If you really knew me, you could be upset, or mean or rejecting or minimizing and you may abandon me.
So we use our masks to ward off the fear of someone else rejecting or abandoning us. But when we think about it, this is really nothing new underneath the sun. Way back when, as you know, at the start of the Bible was a story of two people: Adam and Eve. As you remember, God gave them instructions about what to eat and what not to eat and he gave them clear guidelines of what they are supposed to do and what they are not supposed to do. God warned them there would be consequences if they disobeyed but also rewards if they obeyed.
As you know, they were deceived by Satan and they did disobey. And what did they do when they were not perfect or they did not live up to God’s standards? They do what you are I do: they hid. They came up with fig leaves to hide from God. They came up with their own masks. They used their masks or fig leaves as a strategy to think that maybe God would be unhappy with them as they fear God would be harmful to them.
Well, as you know, God did not strike them dead, he asked them to leave the Garden, and they left the place where life could have been perfect and good. But like all of us, we are looking for perfect and good and we know we will never find it. We are looking for that somewhere over the rainbow or someplace like the Garden of Eden where we can live in paradise and not have any more problems. But the reality is that there is not perfect place. If you belong to a family, a church, a Bible Study, a place of gathering in which to belong means that you have to be perfect, than maybe you need to answer this question: How is that going for you?
You see, just like Adam and Eve, they hid from God because they were afraid. And we hide from God when we get afraid. We also put on a mask because we are unsure if someone else will like us or can accept us again because we are less than perfect. But the reality of the situation there is no one who is perfect and God knows this. God did not let Adam and Eve stay in their stuck place with their fig leaves on. And God is going to come after you with your mask on because God deeply desires for you to not live in fear but to live and walk in love. If you are walking with masks because you are afraid, then let me come and help you learn how to walk in love giving yourself permission to take off your mask. And I promise you when you do this, life will go much better.
So my question to you is this: Do you recognize that you are walking in fear and wearing a mask? Can you name your mask? How is your mask working or not working for you? Do you sense you are walking in fear or all you walking in love and freedom? Do you know that God and others do want to love and accept you just as you are? Can you let them?