Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Women's Ministries, Writers

Careful, your mask is slipping…

I was recently watching a show that I had recorded on TV, called Kingdom of Heaven, taking place in the 12th century during the Crusades, set in Jerusalem. {http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0320661/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1}

It was very fascinating to me that the king of Jerusalem at the time was not a well man, he had leprosy. But that did not stop him from ruling the country. His birthright deemed it so and he did his job to the best of his ability. It was interesting how he wore a metal face mask to hide the ravages of leprosy that had attacked his face. For every day tasks he had a plain mask, where the only thing you could see was his eyes. It was a little unsettling to be able to hear him speak but not see his mouth or his lips moving. The mask was solid in the area all around his face except for his eyes. What I found very interesting was that when he knew he needed to go to war with the enemy, with all of his frailties and disfigurement, he knew as the king he had to be the one to lead his people, his army into battle.

He did not dress down for the battle either. He put on his full armor.

It was so astonishing to see him enter the battlefield dressed in his finest linen edged with intricate gold stitching and amazingly intricate patterns of other gold fabric that had been woven into the garment. But what was even more fascinating was his mask. The mask he wore was absolutely stunning. It had been carved with beautiful flowers and vines that intersected all over the whole thing. When he met his enemy in the middle of the battlefield he spoke with strength and determination and was able to settle their proposed battle without any bloodshed.

Upon his death he wore another mask that was darker in color to reflect the somber situation. The last words he spoke to his sister were, “Please remember me for who I am and what I used to look like in my youth.” You see, she had not seen him in his disfigurement.

He had servant’s that took care of him and his decaying body…and were sworn to secrecy. And I don’t believe it was from embarrassment, I think it was from a place of honor and respect. But after this king had breathed his last, the sister removed mask ~ his beautiful & perfect mask ~ to reveal a face that was hideously disfigured by the leprosy.

She was of course shocked, but you could tell the sadness in her eyes was simply because her brother was now gone. Not because of what he looked like.

So how many masks do we wear throughout our life, our day?

When we are feeling disfigured spiritually by the sin in our life, we put on a mask, and use beautiful garments to hide what is really going on underneath. We have different masks that we wear depending on who we are with. A mask with our family when we are out in public. A mask when we are with our family behind closed doors. A mask that we wear when we are volunteering at our kids school. The mask we wear at work every day. Maybe even the mask we wear with our spouse?

Most of the time I think that mask we tend to put on is just a regular, simple and fairly ambiguous mask. The one that says, “Life is great!” when it really isn’t.

The more beautiful the mask, the more disfigured the soul. The harder we try to distract from the ache of our soul, the deeper the lines are at carved into our mask. We don’t want to let anyone know about what is really going on…

  • Anxiety
  • Financial problems
  • Eating Disorder
  • An abusive relationship
  • Difficult children that are getting out of control
  • Addiction problem
  • And the list goes on and on.

So what happens when that mask slips? When our frustrations and fears get the better of us and we begin acting out of control?

Luke 12:2-3 says, “There is nothing covered that won’t be uncovered, nothing hidden that won’t be made known. Therefore, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in an ear in private rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops. (HSCB)

How much of our life stays covered and hidden from the Lord?  NONE of it! The masks that we have so cleverly and carefully fashioned over the years, will fall away in the instant that we come before the Lord, humble ourselves, and ask Him to make the beautiful the disfigurement of sin.

I John 5:12-15 reminds us, “The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesn’t have the Son of God does not have life. I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for. (HCSB) {emphasis mine}

The Lord came to earth for YOU…to bring you back from the depths of sin and eternal death.  He does not want you to experience the death of sin, so He has given us the gift of His salvation.  There is nothing we can do to earn it.  There is no need to wear a mask of perfection for Him…because He can already see beneath the mask.

From personal experience, I know what happens when you remove the masks you where in your life. Freedom happens. But it isn’t easy. God expects us and wants us to be a part of the recovery. We have to be determined to operate within the power and strength of HIS might…not our own.  When we try to do it on our own, the mask will pop right back on!  Don’t save the mask, no matter how beautiful you think it is!  THROW IT OUT!

You find true freedom in walking the path as the person God created you to be, flaws and all. You will bring honor to the Lord when others see that you struggle in life, but more importantly, you put your faith and hope in the power of the Lord.  When the mask comes off, we are proclaiming that we are not perfect, but we are perfectly LOVED by the Creator of the Universe.

And if you have any doubts as to where “the mask” fits into the spiritual battle armor (Ephesians 6)  we are called to wear?

It doesn’t.

There is NO mask.

When the mask comes off, our countenance will tell the story of God’s redemption and His love.

Matthew 5:16 declares, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” {emphasis mine}
Take off your mask today ~ choose to live in the freedom of eternal life ~ and share with others the great glory of God’s salvation!
Blessings,
 René
Luke 12 verses 2-3

 

 

 

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Honest “No” vs. Dishonest “Yes”

YES ~ to give an affirmative reply to; give assent or approval to.

NOto reject, refuse approval, or express disapproval of.

Has this ever happened to you…the phone rings (or you get a text notification) and before you even answer the call, you knew it was someone calling to make a request. May be a request of your time, your talents, or even a monetary request. And as you use your most congenial voice, saying “Hello”, you know that your calendar is so full that you cannot possibly say yes to the event that you are being requested to help with. Or possibly you have reached the end of your budgeted “extra” money?  All of these thoughts swirl around in your brain like a blender on high speed, and a feeling of panic overtakes you.

“What will they think if I say, no?”

You know that you have the ability to help out at the school fair or to babysit a friends little one; or you finally get the call from a mom inviting you to a luncheon that you’ve always wanted to be invited to!  But…you already have a commitment that day during the same exact time. All of those things can go rushing through your mind in the span of seconds. What do you end up doing?

You say yes to that committee, you say yes to that school event, you say yes to the church event, etc. All the while knowing that by saying yes to those things, there will be other parts of your life that will suffer because you are adding too much to your calendar. Or as they say, you’re adding too much to your plate.

That last phrase made me think how about 10 years ago we decided to stop eating on our dinner size plates and changeover to the luncheon size plate. It was a physical and visual help to our whole family as we restructured what our eating habits needed to look like. It works!  You cannot put as much food on a smaller plate. (Yep…that’s my college class of “physics for poets” paying off big time there!).

But then there are those days where you attend a function and they have the bountiful buffet table spread before you. Sometimes, well most of the time, you get back to your table and you set down your plate and you exclaim, “Oh my goodness! How did I get this much food on my plate! It all just looks so good and I knew it would all taste so wonderful, I just couldn’t decide and so I just took a little bit of everything.”

I don’t know about you, but after experiences like that, and after finishing a plate that is too full, I feel horrible for the next several days. My body cries out to me, “Why in the world did you do that to me!” My friends, this is exactly what our mind and our hearts cry out to us when we have put too many things on our calendar…making our plate too full. The time with our spouse is diminished. The time spent playing with our children doesn’t happen because we have to spend time preparing for that extra event.  Time away from home causes missed opportunities elsewhere.

Now don’t get me wrong…I’m all about being involved in my community; be it my family, our church, our neighborhood, or my kids’ schools. It’s very important to be involved and get to know how we can best serve those communities with the gifts and talents that God has given me.  I’m talking about balance here and how to achieve it.

Matthew 5:37, “But let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one.” 
2 Corinthians 1:17, “So when I planned this, was I irresponsible? Or what I plan, do I plan in a purely human way so that I say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” simultaneously?”
James 5:12, [ Truthful Speech ] “Now above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. Your “yes” must be “yes,” and your “no” must be “no,” so that you won’t fall under judgment.”

These three verses are just a sampling of how God’s Word encourages and admonishes us to be careful with our speech and the actions that follow.  We are created in God’s image, and as such, we are a reflection of Him.  God keeps His word and never makes a mistake in His answers.  We are called to those same standards as followers of Christ.

I used to get so conflicted about deciding what events to be available for and what not to. I would fall into the trap of wanting to be liked and accepted by the other moms at school, so out of fear of being left out, I would say yes to things that I knew I truly did not have the time or resources to participate in. But isn’t that what we do? We volunteer, and then we volunteer some more, and then we volunteer some more. To what end? We get home at the end of the day and we don’t have anything left emotionally or mentally to give our family. We work so hard at times to gain the approval of others that we don’t realize we are showing our family that they come second. Why do we do this? Why do I not remember that my identity is in Christ and He has the best plan for me…better than I can even imagine for myself.

One way to start changing what your plate looks like, is simply….to think!  Instead of jumping at the opportunity and saying yes right away, give an honest answer that might sounds like, “You know what…that sounds really exciting, but I cannot give you a firm answer right now. Let me go home, look at my calendar and talk with my family and I will get back to you as soon as I know if this will work in our schedule.” My friends, that little moment right there will save you a world of anxiety and frustration!  You may find that you can say yes…and Honest Yes…and it will be a joyful activity to be involved with.

If you have to come back to that person with an Honest No…you are doing two things: 1) You are honoring the Lord with your time and blessing your family with your sanity; and 2) You are making room for someone else to have the blessing of saying yes.  Yes…someone else is out there waiting to be asked.   God may have someone else in mind for that event or activity.  Be patient and trust that God will have you in the right place for a time intended for you to be a part of!  There is no “FOMO” with God ~ you know…”fear of missing out.”  God isn’t on pinterest, facebook, instagram, or twitter. Those outlets aren’t bad in and of themselves, but the credence we can give them in our life may at times be out of order.

An honest no is ALWAYS better than a dishonest yes.  Take a breath.  Pause.  Think.  Wait.  Then answer truthfully and thoughtfully.  Honor the Lord in all that you say and in all that you do.

Blessings,

René

James 5 verse 12