It's the time for fall harvest, colorful autumn leaves, fresh apple cider, pumpkin picking, candy, and costumes.
I have loved dressing up in costume since I was a little girl. My creativity and imagination are always stirred when I get to choose who or what I want to dress up as, and then create a costume to bring it to life.
I've never been a big fan of off-the-rack costumes. I love the adventure of going to thrift stores to find items that I can use to create costumes that look realistic and authentic.
I prefer to use face paint instead of wearing a plastic mask. I never liked wearing a mask when I was a kid because it had to be positioned just right on my face to be able to see out of the eye holes. I wore glasses which made wearing a mask even more difficult.
Sometimes the thin elastic band that secured the mask in place would inadvertently snap like a rubber band. Dang, that hurt! And it didn't take much to overstretch the elastic, rendering it useless.
If you moved around too much, the mask would get jostled around, and slide out of place. Even a slight movement of the mask could further hinder your already limited vision. If you weren't careful when you had the mask on, you might stumble and fall to the ground, scraping your hands and knees. Worse yet, you might rip your costume.
Breathing with a mask on is awful! Besides not being able to breathe well, it makes you hot and sweaty. It makes your glasses get all steamed up, and let’s be real, bad breath just adds to the misery! Between not being able to see where you're going and not being able to breathe, you just can't go very far, very quickly, without risking injury.
I believe many of us choose to wear a mask every single day of our lives. Wearing a mask in life has risks, just like wearing a mask with a costume. It means you can't go where you want to go as quickly or as freely, without being in danger.
So why do we do it? Why do we pretend to be someone we are not? Why do we believe we are safer behind a mask? Why are we afraid to be ourselves? Why are we afraid to be authentic?
Being willing to be transparent can be scary. What if people knew…? Would they still like me?
What is it that we're afraid of?
If we take off our masks, we risk being laughed at, mocked, ridiculed, bullied, shunned, and hated. If we take off our masks… we risk being ALONE.
The fear of being alone is one of the deepest fears we face as human beings. We are created with a deep need to be connected to others. We need to be loved. We need each other to survive. We need each other to thrive. We need each other to heal. We need each other to be REAL.
What we fail to recognize is that the mask doesn’t protect us. It doesn’t offer the safety we seek. The mask stands between us and those we care about most.
We must stop believing the lie that tells us we're safe as long as we wear the mask. When we focus solely on how others might see us, we forget about the quality and necessity of our vision. We forget how hard it is to see with a mask on. We forget that it impairs our vision. We forget that wearing a mask puts us at risk of falling, getting scraped up, and being badly bruised. We get so accustomed to it; we forget how uncomfortable it is. It is hard to breathe under there, and sometimes it stinks!
Don't be afraid to GET REAL. Take that mask off, my friend! Take it off. Breathe deeply and walk forward with clarity and confidence.
"For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
*Special Birthday wishes to my Mom and my Sister who share a birthday today! Love you both!*