This article is from Cathy. It is so good that I wanted all to share in it...
When Bill and I were in Florida in January we spent a lot of time reading, relaxing, and praying. I would spend the mornings in a devotional listening to music and praying. It was one of those mornings when suddenly I heard the Father say to me to write. The instruction was to write about the many masks that are worn in church. Particularly He revealed the necessity of removing the masks that pastor’s and leader’s wives wear. This got my attention.
The Father said, “Take your masks off and be real.”
Many will say, “This is my protection.” “I cannot trust people with the real me, the genuine person I am.” The admonition of the Father is to be real, genuine, not fake. Quit being fake news. (a little tongue in cheek there)
As we continue on this journey we need to be people of peace, people who are genuine. The expectations of others, of religion, of peer pressure, or traditional role forms have to be dismissed, cast aside, and look for the real person. In returning to the basics of the faith, to Jesus our role model, we can begin to be authentic again.
The Bible says that we cannot serve two masters. Only one will win. When we wear the mask we tire of it and reject the forms that have forced us into wearing the mask. When we reject the form, we often reject the real with it. Many pastor’s wives have walked away from the church, from their husband, from the Lord due to the pressures of performance and model expectations. The mask wears out.
We must return to the loving Jesus that we met early on. You may say, “I do love Jesus.” Then I ask, “Why the mask?” You really are fooling no one with the mask. The world knows when your mask is on. You know when you have the mask on. The Lord knows too. The only thing that happens is you come across as not real, an imposter, and the worldly view, hypocrite (actor).
My first love is Jesus. I have to come to him with a heart of transparency. I have tried wearing the mask. I have tried to fit the forms that are expected. I fail miserably trying to be something I am not. I have told Bill all along that I am not the normal pastor’s wife. (whatever that is) I have tried to hide, to quit, or just exist. The Father has not allowed any of those responses. Deep inside I know the call of God on my life and I cannot run from it or cover it with a mask.
Whether you have just come to Jesus or you have known him for 60 years, he wants to remind us that he is our first love. There are many masks we can wear. 1. We can wear the religious mask and pretend that we are righteous and that we have no problems. 2. We can wear the perfect mask pretending that we are always right and we have it figured out. 3. We can wear the whining, complaining mask keeping people away from us because we are toxic. 4. We can wear the mask of anger and displeasure which protects us from others since we project that we are ready for a fight. 5. We can wear a mask of shame and bitterness which makes us look humble, but underneath is seething with bitter anger. The list of masks could go on and on. You know the one you wear.
But really most important is the reality check that God is calling us to. It is time to return to the real relationship, the good one, the genuine one. The Father knows where you are. He just wants the real person back; the one that fell into his arms in full trust. You see, having a mask on makes you think you are safe, but in the long run, it is only hurting you.
As I write this, I soon will be 70. So many of those years I have been wearing a mask, different ones at times, trying to protect myself. It really got me no where. As a pastor’s wife the demand to be perfect is so hard, yet unrelenting. It is hard on you and I know I have failed so many ways. When the Father spoke, I determined to not wear a mask again. I am taking them off, throwing them away, and my life’s desire is to please the Father and if that pleases people, good; if not, well, I pleased the Father. He loves me this I know and He wants the real me, not a fake, masked rendition of me.
So, I encourage you to take off your mask and let’s live in that freedom every day.
For you will find that walking in freedom brings peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. So I am returning to the 9 year old who was called of God to ministry and was joyful in the call and now at 70 be joyful as I was at 9. I am no longer a slave to fear! I am a child of God!