Growing up, I always remember the fun involved in putting on a costume. Dressing up as an army solider or a rough and tough cowboy was something my imagination could run wild on.
As a child, there was little need for extravagant material for these costumes. A simple bandanna over my face and a wooden stick for a gun were all the materials I needed to pretend I was the toughest sheriff in town, ready to banish all the bad guys. I would love to put mud on my face and crawl through the woods, pretending I was serving in some kind of infantry, ambushing the enemy in the name of freedom.
I know we all have pictures of the funny get-ups we wore growing up and going to various costume parties. Whether it was the Superman cape worn over our pajamas or the cheesy plastic masks attached with the tiny rubber band strap, we all loved the idea of dressing up as someone else. It made us feel special. Some of these moments in our childhood have been captured in pictures, and we can laugh at what we thought were great ideas for costumes.
Historically, many people participated in what were known as masquerade balls: lavish parties where costumes were adorned to conceal the real identity of attendees. The mask gave each person the ability to roam through the party without anyone recognizing their true identity.
The real person could only by recognized if you got close enough to hear their voice or possibly peer closely into their eyes. Although these parties were designed for fun, in real life, masquerades have become a day-to-day reality for many people.
Our past hurts can easily drive us in fear to prevent ourselves from ever being hurt again. They teach us to put up walls that keep outsiders from getting close. One of the biggest walls people put up is a mask, or a fabricated version of themselves. It is not the real and vulnerable person, but a fabricated personality that manifests itself. This has become a socially acceptable wall that is common in our culture.
We all hate hypocrisy and phoniness, but each of us needs to confront our own fabrications that we create, where we put up a mask for the world to see.
We end up putting on a show for people.
There are often different masks that we wear, one for each particular environment.
For many people, the fabrication has become so common that they have lost who the real person is under all the plastic and movie makeup.
Examples of Fabrications
Here are some common fabricated personalities or masks that people put on today:
1. The Happy Person: no matter what, always projects happiness, even when it doesn't seem authentic or applicable to the moment.
2. The Funny Person: always has a joke or something to laugh at.
3. The Professional Person: takes themselves and what they do for work too seriously.
4. I Have It All Together Person: never seems to show weakness or vulnerability.
5. The Spiritual Person: always has a Scripture to quote and appears to be very deep.
6. The Social Talker Person: deals with being uncomfortable and insecurities by continuing to talk, even over people.
Get to the 'Why?'
Why do we wear these fabricated masks?
It does not make logical sense, because we love it when other people are real and authentic. Our eyes well up in tears and our hearts flood when someone is vulnerable and shares their heart.
Yes, we are drawn to those who let their guard down and share their real self. At the same time, however, we still go back into the enemy's bag of tricks and put on our fabrications. There are some reasons for this.
1. We were not loved and accepted as our true self. The biggest reason we do not live in the freedom of our true self and give over to a counterfeit personality is that we were not loved in our real personality. It usually goes back to childhood, where a mask got strapped onto us that we have been wearing ever since.
2. We do not like who we are. It takes brute honesty to admit this one. If we can get real with ourselves, a big reason why we fabricate, wear masks and live like posers is because we do not truly like who we are.
Many people have lived their entire lives wanting to be someone else and not wanting to settle into who God made them to be. Whenever we do not love, accept and cherish who God created us to be, we scan the world looking for someone else to be like. We mimic their mannerisms or develop their idiosyncrasies, hoping we can maybe wow the world as they do. Yet, during all this, we are rejecting the beauty of ourselves and the significance of God's vision for us on this planet.
3. Fear of exposure. A little bit of fear and a little bit of pride train us to keep people from seeing our weak areas. We fear being exposed. The thought far perpetuates is that people will find out who you really are inside, or they may see that you are not always who you say you are. We all long for authenticity, but we have to remember that authenticity means that what you see is what you get. When you are authentic, image and character are the same.
The Scriptures tell us what living inauthentic lives is compared to:
"Burning lips and a wicked heart are like earthenware covered with silver dross. He who hates dissembles with his lips, and lays up deceit within him" (Prov. 26:23-24).
Talk is cheap, but fabrication makes it even cheaper. One of the greatest tragedies is found in a person who is lost and in need but is still pretending and putting on a facade.
Talk is cheap, but living a fabricated lifestyle makes it even cheaper.
4. Fear of rejection. Like a young teen who wants to join a gang, we all carry a deep need to be accepted and validated. Any root of rejection will also bring along a fear of rejection. The lie that drives the fear of rejection is, "If I show you who I really am, and you don't like me, that's all I've got, and it's tough luck for me. I don't have a 'plan B' person I can pull out of a hat."
5. Fear of being hurt again. Fear teaches us to keep people at a distance so as not to experience hurt ever again. Defensiveness arises because we are hypersensitive to pain.
The more we give into the thoughts and impressions of lies, the more defensive we become. The more defensively we live, the more inauthentic our lives become.
If we continue to buy the lies of the enemy, we will become stuck relationally, and the pain of our wounds will torment us for the rest of our lives. The ability to give and receive love will be squeezed right out of us. Over the long haul, these unresolved hurts will cause our heart to become hardened, numb and unreachable. Wherever you create a fabrication of yourself, is a place where you were hurt the most or fear being hurt the most.
God Does Not Anoint Fabrications
In a culture that admires flashy power and impressive charisma, remember that God does not anoint your fabrications. He anoints the real you! The problem is that most of us do not even know who the real "me" is. That's why it is so important to move from fabricated to authentic as soon as possible. The longer you delay this, the longer you will struggle to know who you are as God created you to be.
God will not heal you unless you learn to get real with Him. You can't lie to God, so quit trying. While you do that, learn to stop lying to your brothers and sisters around you. They see your fabrications anyway, so go ahead and pull the protective walls down.
Jesus confronted the religious fabrications of the Pharisees everywhere He went. The exterior that they projected was not matching the internal condition of their heart. By contrast, Jesus was eager to help very broken people who outwardly admitted their inward bondage. The difference? One kept the darkness hidden with a masquerade, while the other opened up their heart and lowered the facade to allow God to heal them.
God uses you most when you are just yourself. This may not be flashy and it may not make impressive newspaper headlines, but it moves the winds of heaven when a believer simply shows up and lives out of authenticity. God not only uses us in our weaknesses, He loves when we don't try to hide them. In fact, those who do not try to fabricate and hide their weaknesses, He uses even more than others!
What fabrications have come up in your life that keep you from living as your authentic self? What keeps you from confronting those masks and allowing yourself to experience greater transformation?
Mark DeJesus has served as an experienced communicator since the 1990s. As a teacher, author, coach and radio host, Mark is deeply passionate about awakening hearts and equipping people towards transformational living. His message involves getting to the core hindrances that contribute to the breakdown of our relationships, our health and our day to day peace. He is well-versed on struggles that originate within our thoughts. Through his own personal transformation, Mark is experienced in helping people overcome and live fruitful lives. He is the author of five books and hundreds of teachings. He hosts a weekly radio podcast show called "Transformed You" and blogs at markdejesus.com. His writings have been featured on sites like CharismaMag.com
For the full, original article, visit markdejesus.com.
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