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Why are you still wearing a mask?

ďThe most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on your mask.Ē ó Jim Morrison.

As a kid I would always look forward to Halloween, the one time of year where kids can dress up and be whoever or whatever their little hearts desire.

I remember one year I dressed up as a zombie. I wore a black sweatshirt, black sweatpants, painted my face gray and green, and on my forehead a pink circle, which was supposed to be my brain. I came out of my house to show my dad how scary I was, but the person he was talking to looked at me and said, ďHey, a ghost.Ē I pointed out I was a zombie and went on my merry way. All I cared about was getting candy.

I still remember the awful smell of those rubber masks and how hot they were inside. I hated them with a passion. Thatís why I never wore one to go trick-or-treating. I liked the ability to breath as I was collecting my candy. However, a lot of kids wore them so nobody would know who they were.

Some of my friends would come up to me as we were trick-or-treating, and sometimes by their physical features I knew who was under the mask, but other times I hadnít a clue.

Trick-or-Treat serves as a reminder to me that we all wear our own masks around every day of our lives. We try to hide the fact we donít have it all going on and then some. We act like we must be perfect in all we do or no one will accept us.

So we go overboard pretending like everything in life is great when our whole world is coming down. When people ask us how is it going, sometimes we lie and tell people everything is going well. In fact that couldnít be farther from the truth. Everything can be going wrong, but because we donít want everybody to know our whole life story, we say everything is fine.

Of course nine times out of 10 we donít lie intentionally, rather it is second nature to just automatically say we are doing fine. We donít want to overwhelm another person with all of our problems.

I know I make that response more than Iíd like to admit. I can be sick as a dog, and someone could come up to me and ask me how itís going. ďOh pretty good,Ē I will reply without even thinking about it. Itís so ingrained in us to automatically tell people we are fine when they ask.

I realize there is a time and a place to open up to people, but to not let our closest friends help us to become better people and guide us through hard situations is wrong. See most people live closed off to the whole world. They canít trust even their closest friend.

As a result of this we go around and around putting on an act, just hoping that no one will figure us out. However, not opening up to a trusted friend makes for trouble down the pike.

We refuse to let people know who we are, and we keep playing a part. Eventually we will get burned out and lose our carefully crafted image.

We can only keep our masks on so long. Sooner or later the real us will come out for everyone to see. If only we would take off our masks and be open to a true friend, we would save ourselves a lot of heartache later on.

We must come to the realization we all need to open up to someone who we have great confidence in, someone who we can expose our emotional nakedness to, a person we can tell our innermost secrets to without the fear of being judged.

It can be as simple as asking a friend to meet for lunch or if he or she would be willing to come over to visit. Sit down with your friend and start out slow. Donít overwhelm yourself or the other person. Ease into things even though you are friends. You will still need to build up a greater level of trust.

The act of taking off our masks and revealing who we really are can be difficult and at times very painful, but what is even more painful is walking around with our masks on all the time. We can take off our masks and let people see us for who we are.

We must be careful that we donít get scared and be comfortable where we are. We can choose to take off our masks and let people see us for who we are.

Next week I will talk about what may be the biggest challenge to us taking off our masks and accepting ourselves the way God made us.

Stay tuned.

Published: November 15, 2016
New Article ID: 2016711159987