Removing My Mask
Janet Perez Eckles, She Speaks Graduate

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8 (NIV)

"Yikes! You scared me," I screamed feigning fright. "Who’s that!" I peered down at the three-foot little person wearing a mask framed with wild hair colored in shades of black, purple, and pink. The features, distorted by a huge lumpy nose, droopy eyes and a mouth revealing crooked, jagged teeth, gave a new meaning to the word “ugly.”

A muffled, "Trick or treat" wafted from behind the mask. I chuckled as I dropped hard candy into the orange plastic pumpkin.

I have memories of my own boys dressed up in various costumes, dashing from house to house with their daddy trailing behind. I’d stay home to greet the neighborhood trick-or-treaters.

But now, years later, Halloween masks resemble those I myself try to slip on. They come in handy to cover the real me. So often in my life I’ve worn masks, perhaps not as horrid as the friendly trick-or-treater’s, but an effective masquerade nevertheless.

When people ask me how I lost my sight, I give the routine answer: "A disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa deteriorated my retina and took my sight."

A simple question followed by a simple answer. But when they ask about how I dealt with the unexpected tragedy, that’s a different story. I’m tempted to pull down the mask over my heart and give a bland answer.

"It was tough at first, but in time, I adjusted."

Underneath that mask, however, is a whole different script with the real answers: "I wanted to die, I hated my life, I wanted to give up, and wondered if my little boys would survive with a mommy who couldn’t see."

Then God’s Word nudged me to remove that mask and allow the glow of truth to shine through: “The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful” (Proverbs 12:22). In obedience, I resolved that when asked a question, I’d spill information that reflected what truly stirred in my heart.

Here are the results: when my words are strung with honesty without omissions, deletions or embellishments, I can breathe easier. When the mask is off, the air is fresher and the view is clearer. When it comes to sharing my feelings or relating events in my life, I’ve developed a motto: Don’t omit the negative or squelch the positive.

Not long ago, a good friend called and asked about my writing. I started to blurt out that it was great, moving along fabulously, and that my agent is working on a possible submission to a publishing house. But then I gulped and remembered that masks are stuffy, binding and often ugly. Instead, I decided to rip the mask off to pull out the truth: though my agent is working for me, I’m furiously laboring on the first edit. Writing a novel is grueling, it’s demanding and at times, the work is so hard that it makes me wonder if I’m really supposed to be doing this.

Ah! The feeling of telling the real scenario with honesty is like opening the window to a stuffy room and letting the fresh spring breeze come in to caress your face.

As our little ones unwrap their candy, I also peel off what hinders honesty in my heart--misleading comments, half-truths or words hiding my real feelings. Once all this is discarded, the reward appears in the mirror: a shining reflection that sparkles with sincerity and truth—a sweet fragrance to the Lord.

Dear Lord, thank you for giving me your Word to follow. Grant me the guidance when I speak, when I formulate my thoughts and prepare my replies to all situations. Grant me the wisdom to speak with a truthful heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Beautiful in God's Eyes, the Treasure of the Proverbs 31 Woman by Elizabeth George

His Princess, Love Letters from Your King by Sherri Rose Shepherd

Listen to Today’s Radio Show

Application Steps:
Before speaking, stop and measure your words—are they truthful, sincere and honest? If there’s a spot in your heart you’d rather hide from others, release it to the Lord and ask Him to grant you the courage to remove that mask.

Reflections:
Do I have the confidence in the Lord to know He accepts me as I am?

What keeps me from telling the complete truth? Am I hiding something for fear I might be judged?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 25:24, "A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit."

Proverbs 2:7-8, "He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones."

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This devotional really hit me where I'm at. As a family, we just came through a really difficult storm and I learned a lot about being open with others about how I was REALLY doing. But when I was open, the Lord used it to refresh me. Sometimes, He even used it to encourage the person I was sharing with.
Isn't it great the way God can use our storms? He uses those times that life is totally out of our control.
Thank You, Father, for using my storm recently and at the same time teaching me to remove my mask.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

this devotional really help me to understand where I am in my walk, when it comes to honesty. Just this week my husband and I were talking about being honest with people. I was able to reflect back on a time in my life where God taught me a lesson about honesty, He gave me a motto " if I be honest with myself, I'll be honest with others." This should apply to every aspect of your life.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taking off my mask...I do tend to wear different masks depending on the circumstances. I want my girls to be open and honest about the many feelings that they have pressing on their hearts. I need to be a better example to them by expressing my thoughts and feelings openly. Thank you for today's devotion. It has given me something new to commit to prayer. Have a great day all!

Carrie

Anonymous Anonymous said...

removing the mask is not always easy but God has his timing for all.

Blogger Melanie said...

So often we just give the run of the mill "I'm fine." or "same ol' same ol'". But so many times that's just not true. I don't like to feel that I burden people with anything going on in my life but you have helped me to see that God can use me to share with others. It's all about His timing. I must be honest with myself and trust He will provide the right words to share.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My pastors always tell us to remove the masks- to be real and that God cannot heal what you don't reveal.
This is true- and it is easier said than done, but I am realizing that I have to be honest and pure before God if I desire to see Him. The truth is that ONLY the pure in heart will one day see Him and I want to be one of those individuals. Sometimes it is still a struggle for me to be real and tell others how I feel because of fear of rejection or failure. This morning I read Gal 1:10 and it inspired me greatly. It doesn't matter what everyone else thinks- only what God thinks. And He loves us greatly! We forget how much He loves us at times but we must remember that His love is unconditional, not like ours.
The only way to remove the mask is to conqueor the fear that keeps it on! I repeat over and over, "Greater is He in me than he that's in the world", and being real gets easier once you see the great outcome! God works out everything for our GOOD!
We don't have to be perfect, as a Christian we think that we can't have bad days or grumpy attitudes... the truth is that we shouldn't, but we are human. So instead of us pretending and hiding like everything is good- we must be honest so that we don't supress and hide things. When we humble ourselves and become real- we acknowledge that we do need God - and that we still have imperfections. Chances are if you have felt that way or are going through, someone else is too. So let's be honest and help eachother overcome the obstcles that try to stop of from pleasing our Heavenly Father! The devil is a liar and we are overcomers in Jesus' name!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit."

The verse above is Proverbs 26:24.

The verse you referenced, Proverbs 25:24 is the following:

"It is better to live in a corner of the roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman."

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