For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. - 2 Timothy 1:7
Some days, I feel as though a deep desire for perfection was wound into my DNA before I was born. Knowing Jesus and knowing that God created me tells me that’s not true; but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have times where I’m chasing absolute perfection.
Chasing perfection means that I am constantly on the lookout for what I can do to make sure others think that I am living the perfect life. I often find myself telling my friends that I’ve had a good day at work, don’t mind that they canceled plans on me (again), am reading my Bible and spending time with The Lord like I’m supposed to, going to church consistently even though I haven’t been, am okay emotionally, etc. just because I don’t want them to view me as “less than." I’ve even found that I lie to myself about a lot of these things and have often aligned my thoughts with the whole “fake it ‘til you make it” concept.
Fact: I fake it a lot.
Fact: faking it doesn’t get you to where you want to be.
So much of what I do and say in my life bleeds over into my spiritual life. There have been times when, even though I know Jesus knows everything, I’ve sat and decided that I didn’t need to ask for His help with whatever because asking for help would mean that I wasn’t perfect. The mask of perfection has almost ruled my life at times - especially when it comes to my relationship with Jesus.
There was a long span of time after my mom passed away that, even though I felt like I was absolutely drowning, I had a need to make sure everyone I came in contact with thought that I was doing okay and was grieving in a healthy way. I put on a show - going through the motions of everyday life - and soon, I began to go through the motions of what a “put together” Christian should do. In doing that, my prayer life was almost non-existent, worship was just another meaningless song to sing, church and small group became chores - always reluctant to attend and little pleasure found in them. This mask that I had created was fueled by the fear of others thinking negatively of me. Praise God that, no matter how hard I tried, He constantly saw through the mask that I had put on and lovingly continued to pursue me - even when I definitely wasn’t pursuing Him.
You see, God's view of you doesn't change if you’re hurting, angry, or sad. He doesn’t care if you aren’t “okay." He doesn’t see you as weak or imperfect because you’re having a bad day/week/month/year. God sees you as perfect - despite your circumstances - because He views you through The Cross that He let His Son die on for you. Because of that Cross, you don’t have to live behind a fear-induced mask of perfection; you can live mask-free in the power and love of Jesus because that’s who God created you to be!
1. Is there a time in your life where you let a mask define who you were? How did you break free from it?
2. Instead of hiding behind a mask of (whatever), what steps can you take to make sure you’re being authentic with those around you?
God, thank You for loving me. Thank You for the incredible gift of Your Son who died to save me from my sins. Thank You for seeing past every mask I’ve tried to hide behind and showing me ways to remove it and live mask-free. Would you give me courage to continue to live my life mask-free and live in the joy and freedom that You give me? I love you, God. It’s in Your Son’s name I pray. Amen.