I am so excited! This is going to be an exciting year. Last week, I mentioned that I would be starting a new study with Candace Payne. She is the Chewbacca mom and her topic is joy. My daughter has invited me to join her in this study along with some friends.
As I opened the book to read today, I came to the prologue, “Behind the Mask.” She explains how this all came about. She and I have familiar stories I do believe. I was so intrigued as I was reading this.
These are the last two paragraphs of her prologue,
“When life punches you in the gut, it can be difficult to must a smile – much less a laugh.
I get it. My journey to becoming a Chewbacca Mom was more than an overnight success.
It’s a path that you, too, can travel if you want.
It will lead you to take off your mask, finding freedom,
and experiencing defiant joy.” Candace Payne
As I read this, I thought about what was ahead for me. I will learn to take off my mask. There is not one lady (or man) alive that does not wear a mask sometime in his or her life. At some point, all of us wears masks. Why? Because we can’t stand to let others see the real us. Why? They might not like what they see, they may make fun of us and most of all we will feel vulnerable. We feel like we have to have it all together at all times, so we put on our masks. For some of us, it’s the mask of a hero. We can do it all. We can perform miracles and we can do a dozen things at once and we’d like to think we do them well.
The mask of joy is one we often put on. We want to smile, laugh and let others believe everything is great; when in reality our world is falling apart. We don’t even know what true joy is, yet we put this mask on and pretend we know exactly what joy is.
The mask of self-confidence is one we all struggle with. We put this on to let others know we are self-confident. Give us a task whether we are qualified or not, want to do this or not and we will accomplish it. It might not be to our liking or it might not be our talent, but we are going to do it because we’ve been asked to do it and we don’t want to disappoint others.
I am a multi-masked person. I have several masks I wear at different times. One is the self-confident mask, one is the joy mask and there are other masks that I wear from time to time.
We go into church quite often wearing a mask that says everything is fine in our world. When in reality our world is falling apart at the seams.
I could go on and on. There are so many masks people wear every day. I may have mentioned yours or maybe I haven’t. You know the mask you wear. We must remember some people, especially family and friends, just might be able to see through those masks. Even if they can’t, you aren’t hiding anything from God. He can see clearly through your mask. You have to remember what it says in Psalm 139:1-4, “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.” We can’t even think a thought that God does not already know about. He knows what we are going to say before we even say it.
I am reminded of this, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13 God created each of us and he loves us just as we are. We do NOT need to put on a mask. He won’t love us anymore if we pretend to be somebody we aren’t. In fact, he may be disappointed in us.
She goes on to say we can find freedom. Isn’t that what we all want right now? Freedom to not only be ourselves but freedom from those things that hinder us? My fight is with self-esteem or self-worth. I am always thinking someone could do what I do better or that I am not worthy to do what I am called to do. I often feel the things that I create, someone could create them better, prettier, or stronger. I feel so much like Moses at times when God calls me to speak at a Ladies Event. Why me, Lord? I am not a speaker; I am a writer. I have a speech problem, I talk too loud, too often or too much. I often tell God, “You’ve called the Beth Moores of this world or the Candace Paynes of this world or the Joyce Meyers of this world. I am not in their class nor am I capable of doing what they do; so why have you chosen me?”
It may be the freedom to admit we aren’t super moms or super ladies. Maybe it’s the freedom to admit we need help at home or help at our jobs. Maybe it’s the freedom to say, “I can’t do it all.”
Maybe it’s just the freedom to be ourselves. The freedom to be who we want to be or better yet, what God wants us to be. Maybe God is calling you to something and you feel like you don’t have the freedom to step up and step out.
Stop and name what it is you’d like to be free from. What freedom are you wanting right now?
Finally, she challenges us to experience joy. I am here to tell you, you are only going to experience joy when you come to Christ, take off your mask and receive freedom from Christ from those things that are hindering you. It will be the kind of joy you have never experienced before and the kind of joy the world does not know. It’s the kind of joy that only God can store in our hearts.
Today I was vulnerable. I took off my mask and shared some things with you that I’ve never shared before, or at least not for a long time. I’ve told you what mask I wear, what I would like freedom from and shared with you that I want to experience more of the joy that God has already started in my life. We have to remember (I have to remember every day), “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139”13-14. We are wonderfully made. God created us; God does not make junk.
I hope this year you will join me in taking off your mask, finding freedom and experiencing joy in Christ. If you plan on doing her study let me know; I am starting a Facebook page for those who are, so we can hold each other accountable, encourage one another and inspire each other.
Let’s be who God created us to be, doing those things he has created us for and let us find joy in Him.
Dear God, you have called me to once more take off my mask and just be me and to be real. I have taken my masks off so much just to put them back on again. Help me not to store them away, but to rid myself of them completely. You have called me to experience freedom in a new way and you challenged me to experience more of your joy in my life. I can only do these things through your strength and with your help. Guide me on this new journey and may you ever be present with me. Amen