False Impressions

2 Nov

What kind of horse can swim underwater without coming up for air? A seahorse! I can hear you groaning now!

Sea-Horse__NOT

Ready for some more horsin’ around?

Little Brother said, “I’m going to buy a seahorse.

Big Brother asked, “Why?”

Little Brother answered, “Because I want to play water polo!”

More groaning, right?

As I looked at this picture, I thought, just because we dress up as something, that doesn’t mean it’s who we really are! On Halloween, I saw a lot of costumes and masks ~ kids (and adults) pretending to be what they’re not.

And I thought a lot about masks this week.  We wear a lot of masks, don’t we?

  • The Mask of Independence (I don’t need anyone).
  • The Mask of Self-sufficiency (I’ve got my life all together).
  • The Mask of Perfectionism (I look soooo good).
  • The Mask of Occupation (I’m so busy… just look how important I am).
  • The Mask of Expertise (I’m not a know-it-all … I just know it all!)
  • The Mask of People-Pleasing (I’m glad I can always control how people see me.)

You may think of some other masks. All masks are attempts to hide who we are ~ sometimes with the intent to deceive, but most of the time as a reflection of our insecurities. Masks are false impressions!

But think a minute about those masks I listed.Are any of them based on lies?

Are we really so independent that we need no one? It’s good to stand on our own two feet, but isolation and prideful independence are never good ~ especially if we’re independent from the Lord! The Bible says we need to depend on (trust in, be contingent upon) our Heavenly Father (Proverbs 3:5-6; 1 Peter 5:7) and think of ways we can get out there and do good to others! (see Galatians 6:10).  Serving others will help us refocus our inward gaze.

What about the mask of self-sufficiency? Got it all handled, right? No problems, right? Why is it so hard to ask others for help? Perhaps it’s a blow to our pride. The Bible says we are to live in interdependence with other believers, practicing all the “one anothers” of scripture ~ “encourage one another, “love one another,” “comfort one another,” etc.

And then there’s perfectionism. It is based in the prideful desire to always look more than good ~ to look perfect ~ and it’s not attainable. Moreover, it’s foolish to strive for perfection. A better choice is to strive for excellence. The Bible says we are to do all to the glory of God. We can all go there, and it’s not burdensome.

What about this silly notion of occupation, staying busy on purpose so people will get an inflated view of who we are? Key word, “inflated.” So full of busyness and stressed out that we’re on overload, about to explode. The Bible says the best use of our time is to live and work to please God. We need the perspective and priorities of the Lord. 

I’m all for wisdom, but be careful with this mask of expertise. Know anyone who’s an “Instant Expert”? Maybe even an IEOAAE? (Instant Expert on Anything and Everything) Sounds like arrogance, sister to pride, doesn’t it? The wise person is teachable, not a know-it-all. The Bible says, “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice” (Prov. 13:10).

One of my all-time biggie masks is the People-Pleasing variety. My proud “self” wants your “self” to like, appreciate, and love me! No problem with that, unless it motivates me to compromise who I am in order to please you and others. And who says others’  “self” is right? The Bible says we are to fear and respect the opinions of God; we need only please Him. (See: “Pleasing God” by Diane Dew.)

Notice a common denominator here? P-R-I-D-E! Masks all are based in the foolishness of pride. We’re trying to protect ourselves or promote ourselves ~ the two extremes of pride ~ instead of focusing on what God wants us to do and how we can bring glory to His name.

Let’s be wise, not foolish.  How about we rip off our masks today? It’s a healthier way to live! And you are a wonderful creation of God … let us see who you are!

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