So, I’ve never been able to put out a blog post about masks. I’ve tried. Masks/walls are something that I have thought about a lot. Probably the most of any one topic.
This morning I was thinking about it, and realized something. I’m not afraid of people, I’m afraid of change.
The baseline of letting people in for me is simple. If I truly let them in, then they’re going to end up knowing me well enough for me to not have to tell them for them to have an idea what’s up when I’m not doing well. If they know what’s been running through my head recently, they’re much more likely to catch, and comment on, moods and actions relating to those. How does this involve change? Because it means I’m accountable to someone. It means that I know they’ll see when something’s wrong. And when someone else sees it too, then I know I need to change. Normally when something’s wrong I know what I need to do, it just takes a while for me to do it. And in the meantime I spend days, weeks, or months slowly pulling farther away from God. If someone knows my mask and can get past it, I’m much more likely to stop being stubborn and change.
It’s like when I scraped my knee right before going on our Spring Break mission trip. I wore jeans all week, not many people could see the scrape. All the girls who were near my bed (well, shared air-mattress) saw it though, because I had to roll my jeans up and tend to it at night and in the morning. There were times in the day when I would have to do stuff that just made it worse, but the people around me didn’t know about it. I could just ignore it and push through. But by the end of the week, I jumped out of the van and the friend I was with sent me a look and told me I shouldn’t have done that because it hurt my knee. She knew it hurt my knee because she’d seen it enough to 1) know what it was like and what would hurt it and 2) she’d seen it and my reactions to it enough to recognize my facial expressions even when she couldn’t see what exactly I’d just done to my knee. I realized I couldn’t get away with anything pertaining to that scrape, because she knew it was there even when I had it covered again.
The same applied to emotional and spiritual wounds. Over that week she saw enough of mine while it was just the two of us talking, that when there was a crowd of people and one of them started bothering me, she’d catch my eye and I’d know that she knew why I’d withdrawn. I found that when I’d told her things I’d been willing to face them, but around crowds I wanted to ignore them; since she’d seen them when we talked, I couldn’t deny them when I wanted to. Take the last line of the above paragraph, and change “scrape” to emotional/spiritual wound/struggle. “I realized I couldn’t get away with anything pertaining to that wound or struggle, because she knew it was there even when I had it covered again.” I couldn’t get away with ignoring them, and I had to seriously consider change. Dealing with them.
I know that some people fear what others will do once knowing their weaknesses. I’ve known that fear too, but right now I mainly just wanted to focus on the fear of change aspect. Because that’s what’s more relevant to me right now.
I’m not too afraid of people hurting me. That’s only happened deeply once. I’m not as gun-shy about trust as some people are. I just wonder if I really want to give someone the chance to push me and make me face things I wanted to “happily” ignore.
For all that, I’m still trying to discover what’s a mask and what isn’t. Still trying to figure out who’s me and who I want others to see. For the past couple months I’ve been trying to eliminate as much of the mask as I can, and I’ve found that to do that…I have to be willing to change. I have to be willing to go to God with problems I find. Because if I don’t, I can’t be comfortable without the mask. If I have anything to hide, I’ll keep trying to hide it. If I’m hiding from God in some area, there’s no way I’ll let my actions admit it when I’m around a group. If I’m working with God on something, then I can be okay with others seeing it. Not telling everyone about it and letting them know my innermost thoughts, but just being honest in my body language even. Being willing to let it show when I’m tired, or a little upset, or something similar.
When I’m either already trying to change, or willing to let someone push me, then why hide? If they hurt me, God’s got my back--I can cry to him. (Admittedly, that doesn’t make it easy when it happens)