I truly believe that we have to lead by example. We can’t just set all these crazy expectations on everyone else and never attempt to meet them ourselves. I think if we started trying to be our image of perfection, we might give everyone else a little more slack, maybe a bit more grace and mercy. Maybe if we understood how hard it really is……
Now, wait a minute…. We know how hard it is. At least I do. Living up to some idealistic picture of perfection is exhausting. I can’t do it. I fail daily. And daily, I put on a mask to pretend I have it all together.
I remember when I was in Kindergarten, I was the poor kid in class. You know the one. I always wore hand-me-downs. My mom was a teen mom, so even by the time I was in Kindergarten, she had just turned 20. I always felt out-of-place. Something must have been wrong with me. We lived in Reno, NV at the time. It gets pretty cold and snowy there during the winter. My teacher asked me once if I had snow boots. I said, “Yes! I just left them at home.” And there it is, the first moment I remember putting on a mask and pretending I was something I wasn’t.
I didn’t want to be the poor kid. I didn’t want to have less. I didn’t want anyone to know I had less. I felt shame, I felt out-of-place.
Every day the teacher would ask where my boots were and I lied. They would put ziplock baggies over my shoes, cinched down around my ankles with rubber bands, to help them from getting soaked in the snow on the playground. I hated those stupid baggies. They never stayed on. I couldn’t play like the other kids. But, I never admitted I didn’t have boots. I just lied.
Is it in our human nature to hide from the truth of our situations? Did someone make me feel ashamed? Would I have found a helping hand (or a hand-me-down pair of boots) if I could have just been honest? If putting on masks, hiding our true selves, and striving for perfection begins at such a young age, is it possible to change?
This April I will be teaching at the Canvas Church Women’s Retreat: Masquerade. My hope, is that as a community we can learn to remove the masks and live a free, transparent life in Christ. There is freedom in truth. For more info on the Canvas Church Women’s Retreat: Masquerade go to http://mycanvaschurch.com
This blog was originally posted at Angela’s blog: Wide Open Spaces