Adoration offers time for deep, focused meditation. I often close my eyes. Sometimes, I have visions or dream-like encounters that I believe are guided by the Holy Spirit. Recently, I reflected on the physical face masks we’ve adorned over the last couple of years. My thoughts were led to the invisible symbolic “masks” that we carry with us.
We all developed personalities and ways of being in the world when we were young. We learned how to react and respond to situations based on our environment. Some of us learned healthy responses and most of us learned at least some unhealthy responses. These things helped us navigate childhood and develop into the person we are today.
But are those responses still serving us as adults? Are the masks we learned to wear allowing us to grow into the person God is calling us to be?
The Types of Masks We Wear
It is important to acknowledge and embrace the masks we wear now and those we wore in the past. They are a part of us, but they do not define us, nor do we have to continue to hold on to them. Take some time to ponder what your masks include at this point. Perhaps write them down and reflect upon their origination.
Here are some examples that many women encounter.
Mask of Friendship
Are we friends with certain people because we believe they will benefit us in some way? Do we put on a particular face in specific crowds to fit in even if the actions and discussion do not match our values and beliefs? Or do we hide behind our friends such that our own thoughts and beliefs are covered up by others?
This is not how God created us to live together. One of the most significant verses in the Bible about friendship is John 15:11-13:
I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
The power of true friendship is embedded in a deep love for one another. God’s version of love embraces all of who we are, past mistakes, current sins, and challenges.
Mask of Perfection
Do we portray ourselves as having everything together? Does our social media account depict pictures of smiling children in a perfectly clean house when moments before or after included tears and huge mess?
These images can be beautiful and impactful, unless they are the foundation of a false identity. Do we refuse to leave the house without make-up, feel the need to dress a certain way, and come across as though we effortlessly glide through life? Saint Paul notes:
I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ my dwell with me. // 2 Corinthians 12:9
Only God is truly perfect, and He wants to reside within us. Once we fully wrap ourselves around this truth, we can work to release perfectionism.
Mask of Independence
Do we take on too much to try and prove ourselves to others? Do we feel the need to achieve and do more to earn love and respect?
As women, we often feel pressured to take on the weight of the world. We feel responsible for everything to do with our children, family, and household. We think we need to partake in various church activities and school volunteering opportunities. We feel pressure to join in numerous social engagements, neighborhood events, and so much more. It is not a reflection of our motherhood or self-worth to accept the help and support of others. Asking for help and learning to set boundaries can increase our confidence, along with our mental and emotional health.
God created us to live and work in community. We need help from God Himself as we are encouraged in 1 John 5:14-15:
And we have this confidence in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked Him for is ours.
The Love of God for the Truest Us
We all have a choice, we can grow, change, learn, and reveal our true identities over time. We must also love ourselves as we are right now, weaknesses, challenges, masks, and all. This can be difficult.
Sometimes, it’s easier to forgive and love others—despite their weaknesses—than it is to forgive and love ourselves. Let’s remember that God knows us better than we know ourselves, He knows the deepest desires of our hearts, and the greatest sins. Yet, He embraces us and adores us far beyond our understanding.
May you have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. // Ephesians 3:18-19
Once we begin to love ourselves, forgive ourselves, and appreciate our growth, we can move forward.
Take time to ponder, as Mary did. Reflect and pray about your own masks, asking God to reveal them to you and help you overcome them, unveiling the unique woman that He created for a specific purpose.
Adoration is a wonderful time to be still and listen to the Spirit within you. Even if you only have a few minutes, the quiet time spent with God demonstrates your love for Him and infuses you even more with His love for you.
Whatever your masks may be, and wherever you are on your journey, know that you are loved beyond measure, as you are, this very moment. Every effort made to increase your faith and fulfill God’s purpose will further unveil the glorious woman you were created to be.
Barbara Yurasek Conklin is a loving wife and mother of three kids who currently returning to graduate school to finish her Master of Arts in Theology after 16 years of focusing on parenting and leading a direct sales team. She loves hiking, traveling, coffee, deep conversations, adoration, reading, writing, and public speaking. She is passionate about marriage ministry and encouraging women as they discover their unique purpose in life and the beauty of God in their own soul.