As a psychology student in college I learned about masks people wear to protect themselves from other people knowing who they really are or how they really feel. A mask is defined as a covering for all or part of the face, worn to conceal one’s identity, anything that disguises or conceals, and/or any protective covering for the face or head. I am the queen of masks.
I have a Mommy Mask, Wife Mask, Daughter Mask, Mentor Mask, Servant Mask, Tough Lady Mask and my extra special Church Lady Smile Mask. Each mask serves it’s specific purpose to protect me from those around me knowing my personal war with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
When I began thinking about what to write for this month all I could think about was my Church Lady Smile. Come on now, you know what I’m talking about. The smile on your face you wear on Sunday’s at church whether you realize you do or whether you adorn yourself with it right before you walk in the door. My mask looks confident, happy and sounds cheerful and loving. I place this mask on every time I feel like I am going to emotionally loose it at church.
I am a woman in my mid-thirties that feels like I should still be a college student. I am a wife and a mother and most of the time I feel disqualified to be either. Most Sunday’s are a struggle to get the family to church and present ourselves ‘all put together’ so no one notices that on the way to church the kids were screaming and my husband and I were fighting.
I know that we are not the only family that this happens too, we all have our moments. Each Sunday however, I feel the need to switch gears from being wife and mom to representing the pastor of our church as his assistant. I have to look the part, right? Wrong. I burden myself with so much pressure to look and conduct myself as a professional, friendly, godly and above all else, strong in the faith and emotionally sound. I put on my Church Lady Smile, the one that makes me look like I have conquered the world and I can handle every all at once.
God knows when my Church Lady Smile Mask is super glued on for survival. When I am walking through something, I want to conceal my real feelings and try very hard not show it at church. For some reason, I am not comfortable showing my brother’s and sister’s in Christ that I am secretly vulnerable and emotional. This is exactly the opposite of everything I have ever learned from God’s word.
I need to take off my mask and let myself weep in His presence. I need to ask for pray and let those whom I call family surround me and walk with me. My Church Lady Smile has helped me along my journey so many times that I often don’t even know I am wearing it. I have allowed myself to be conformed to the ways of the world concerning emotions and vulnerability. The world tells us to act strong, be strong, live strong. No one can be strong all the time.
Please take a moment to step back and evaluate your masks, we have all them. Ask a friend, family member, spouse, or significant other if they see you wearing a mask or trying to hide behind a tough exterior. Next, find one or two people who you feel ‘safe’ being vulnerable with. Share with them your exposed heart. Finally, take the mask(s) off and be who you were created to be. Weak or strong, fearful or brave, out spoken or quiet; JUST BE YOU!
To read more of Cassie’s posts go to “Cassie’s Corner”