A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed my fall break at my grandparent's one-story brick house that has wooden panels for interior walls instead of paint. To get a break from the stuffy living room (and my boredom), I went shopping at the local Dollar General.
I picked up $30.00 worth in soup cans (for a canned food drive fast approaching) and candy for my brother. Although these were the only items I needed to purchase, I went to the Halloween aisle.
I'm a bit of an impulse shopper. I curb this habit by avoiding shopping unless absolutely necessary.
In the middle of the cat ears, face paint kits for wanna-be zombies, and fairy wands was this beautiful silver mask. It sparkled in the fluorescent store lighting. I have always enjoyed masks. Whenever I go into a costume shop, they are the items that draw my attention and fascination. I think I started liking masks because I loved the Hillary Duff when she played Cinderella, the Phantom of the Opera, and Wesley from the Princess Bride. They were all iconic movie characters who, you guessed it, wore masks.
I bought the bejeweled item because it was only $3.00. I bought it because whenever I have bought masks in the past and put them on (in the comfort of my room), the girl I see in the full-length mirror is mysterious, beautiful, and intriguing. I bought it, but I'm not sure if I should wear it. The masks I have always bought in the past have been itchy, obstruct my vision, or don't fit quite right.
Lately, I've been reflecting a lot on the question I chose for my title. "Do you like me, or the idea of me?" Do you like me, or the girl I present to you to see? Which one do I prefer for you to like and know? Another question is do I like Jesus, or do I like the idea of Jesus?
Let's delve into the Jesus part first. Jesus calls us to be perfect and holy like His Father. Jesus calls us to forgive endlessly, do charitable works (especially for orphans and widows), admonish evil-doers, and take up our cross and follow Him. He says that we are like sheep being led to slaughter, but take heart, because God is on our side. He says that this way of living is the best thing for us, but that it is anything but easy.
Jesus did not hide the difficulty of being like Him or following Him. Jesus did not hide His anger when people were disrespecting His Father's house - the holy temple. He did not hide His frustration when His disciples didn't understand Him. He also didn't hide His love for children and His immense ability to lay down His comfort to heal the sick, instruct the spiritually blind, and guide the faithful.
Jesus wasn't afraid of revealing Himself to others, but I am not always happy to do the same. I think this is because I am very aware that I am not as perfect as Jesus. There are things in my life I am not proud of. Here is my confession - I would rather you like the fake happy me, the me that doesn't mind that annoying thing you do, or the me that hasn't made a mistake than, you know, the real me. It's because I don't want to talk about when I'm feeling sad, don't want to have tough conversations with people, and I get insecure about my mistakes. Revelation: I'm human. I want to hide these things about myself.
But my dear friends, the antidote to fear is love. I am afraid to be me 100% all of the time, and love for myself and love other people give me will help cure this problem. Also, some honest self-reflection will help me avoid feeling the need to hide in the future.
I think we all struggle with wanting to hide ourselves. We all want to wear beautiful masks because they make us feel secure when we don't feel secure at all. These masks give us a false idea of control instead of allowing for love to transform our souls.
What I'm going to ask you to do is listen and be attentive to others this week. Ask more probing questions about their day. Listen to hear, not to respond. Carve out some face-to-face time for communication. Make it fun by going to dinner, or keep it chill by making food at home (food is vital in all relationships my friends!).
Let's start letting people see more of us than before, because honestly? We're all pretty awesome.