Have you ever felt the pressure to be the best you can possibly be? The best son or daughter? The best employee? The best spouse? The best parent? The list goes on and on. No matter who we are, we have all felt the pressure to put our best foot forward and be close to perfect at some point in our lives. Recently I’ve been feeling that there have been many times in my life where most people do not know the real me. They don’t know the real me because of the simple fact of I put on a mask. Not a literal mask, but a mask of what I think people want or need me to be. And there are a lot of masks I wear. The perfect daughter: I have been striving to make my parents proud of me since I was thirteen. In high school and college, I hid struggles from them so they wouldn’t know their daughter was flawed. I wanted nothing more than their approval when really I always had it. I had placed false pressures on myself because I thought that it was what they wanted of me.
We all have masks we struggle with in our lives.
The perfect employee: I just never want to fail at work (but obviously, I do). I don’t like missteps and I don’t like when I appear to not have it all together. I want to do everything well enough so that others take notice and appreciate the work I’ve done. The perfect partner: in many relationships throughout my life I would mask things about my personality and who I really was. I would attempt to mold myself into their version of the “perfect girl”, convinced that if I didn’t change myself then I wouldn’t be able to keep them happy. I deluded myself into thinking that I needed to do all of this for other people.
We all have masks we struggle with in our lives. We try to be what we think others want or need, even if it is a detriment to ourselves. However, the biggest mask I think we all try on at some point is the perfect Christian. We hide our insecurities, our deepest struggles, our faults, anything that could mar our reputation. We come dressed in our best, paste a smile on our face, and if anyone asks how we are – we give them the rehearsed answer of ‘good, everything is good.’ Because God forbid we bring our true brokenness into a place full of perfect people who all have a strong faith. We often feel that we can’t show that we are actually broken. I’ve felt that. I feel that now and often.
God never calls us to perfection.
I see others who seem like they have it all together, they pray better than me, they quote scripture quicker than I can, it seems like some people have faith as simple as breathing. So I put the pressure on myself to do the same. As a Christian we can’t waver, right? Once we start to believe in Jesus, we can’t ever admit how much we still sin. We could never truly show how messed up we truly are because then we won’t be good enough to be a follower of Jesus. But that is all a lie. God never calls us to perfection. He doesn’t expect us to never falter, in fact, He knows better than anyone how much of a mess we are and yet He loves and accepts us IN SPITE of everything. Every mess, every sin, every broken part of us is loved beyond measure by the One who knit us together and who knows every piece of our heart and every hair on our head.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” We do not need to hide our weaknesses because through the power of Christ we are strong. We are stronger when we admit we are weak and need our Savior.
We often feel that we can’t show that we are actually broken.
If you still think you have to be perfect to follow Jesus, take a look at some of the people in the Bible. Peter, a devoted disciple, betrayed Jesus not once, not twice, but THREE times in just one night. Paul, the man who wrote half the Bible, before he followed God he was the most feared man in the land for slaughtering and imprisoning any Christian he could. Jonah, a prophet of God, one of the few people who directly heard God speaking to him back in the day, ran away when God sent him to Nineveh. Literally, he ran in the opposite direction and as far as he could. Countless others in the Bible messed up and fell short because they, like all of us, are human. Humans fall short. That’s okay!
It’s okay because we have a God who loves us so much. Not the masked version of ourselves, but the real and true person behind every mask we could possibly put on. He loves us so much that he gave up his only son for all of us. He did it all because He loves our broken, sorry butts more than anything in this world. If we are strong in our weaknesses, I think it is about time we drop our masks. Not only drop them but shatter them. We are broken yes, but pretending that we are not is true weakness. Author Donald Miller says, “When you are with God, you have the freedom and courage to be yourself.” What better place to leave our masks at the door than at church? A place filled with people who struggle just as much as you. God is with us friends. Our masks can’t fool Him, so we need to find the courage to not fool others. “…In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world,” John 16:33.
At King of Kings, one of our core values is authenticity. We invite you to come as you are.
No masks needed.
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About the Author
Kelsey is the Kids Kount Outreach Coordinator and a graduate of Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her favorite week of the year is VBS, she loves to quote the TV show Friends, and she’s an avid Michigan fan (sorry not sorry, Husker fans).