I recently watched the movie (again!) ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’. It’s a great old adventure yarn based on a true although somewhat elaborated story. Originally the unknown man wore a black velvet mask. Voltaire, claimed that he was the older illegitimate brother of King Louis XIV of France. It was Alexandre Dumas who introduced the ‘Iron Mask’ in the third instalment of his famous three Musketeer stories. Dumas portrayed this mysterious prisoner as the twin brother and (rightful King) of Louis. Whatever the truth, its good stirring stuff!
However, it got me thinking about masks and something my friend Dan Sneed wrote in his book ‘The Power of a New Identity.’ Dan writes –
Masks are worn for acceptance, to fit in, and to hide the broken places of our lives. We were created with absolute complete acceptance. When man sinned and chose to disobey God, that acceptance was lost. Sin separated man from God, but that does not change our need to be loved and accepted. The entire story of human history is about our search for a place of love and acceptance. Jesus came to reconcile man to God’s restoring love and acceptance. In Christ, God accepts us to the same degree he accepts his son Jesus. I know it seems too good to be true, but that’s exactly what the New Testament tells us. That is why the message of Jesus is called good news! I love how
The Message translates the words of the apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:11: “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we’re living for.”
For most, taking off the mask is a slow process and that’s ok! Discovering who you really are and becoming comfortable in your own skin requires courage. Personally, not only do I take my mask off slowly but also, I keep it handy just in case I need to put it back on. We all have the tendency to focus way too much on what other people think about us. Keep in mind, what you think people think about you and what they actually think about you are two different things. What other people think can be important but the two most important things are what God thinks about you and what you think about yourself. Also, there is what you think you are supposed to be. This most often comes from our life experiences. Lies can come out of those experiences but we deeply believe those lies and allow them to influence our thinking. Lies that tell you what you are supposed to be rather than who you really are. It is important to hold high standards for yourself, but don’t get caught up with what you think you’re supposed to be because you will never be good enough. Striving to be your best is very important too, but you don’t have to strive to be somebody of worth and value. You are already somebody of great worth and value! Let God show you who you are and then choose to believe it. Hang on to it, and let it change how you see yourself and how you live your life. Because of Jesus, the masks can come off. We can be imperfect and still be enough because Jesus is enough.
What masks do you hide behind to try and be “good enough” or accepted? Is it time to risk allowing them to come off? It is a process that can be scary and will require you to step out of your comfort zone but it is well worth it! I know because for me, it is an ongoing process. (Dan Sneed – The Power of a New Identity)