Last week was our first link-up on When A Woman Finds Her Voice, and that link up sparked some awesome conversation and heart-connections. We’ll be doing it here each Wednesday, this linking up and finding our voices, and oh how we hope you join us. Whether you’re a worn-out mama, a worry-wart wife, or a confident gal ready to share your heart-message with the world, I do hope you’ll join us from your blog, or if you don’t blog, be sure to leave us a thought in the comments.
This week’s theme: The View Behind the Mask.
I’m a lot like Eve. So much it frightens me. In accepting Satan’s lie that God was somehow holding out on her, Eve was forced to wear the mask, play the part.
I’ve done the same.
I’ve walked my own garden, made my choices that disconnected me from God. I, too, have believed it’s better to hide, to lie, than to risk the necessary work of genuine intimacy.
There are those days I fear being found out. Fear being known. Fear being exposed for who I really am. Naked and afraid, I hide under my perfected and polished fig leaf.
For years, I sat quietly hiding my deepest emotions from others, and worse, from myself. The lack of relationship paralyzed me, riddling me with insecurity and hopelessness. In time, I adopted a false voice, put on a “life-is-just-fine, thanks-for-asking” mask while I lived a life on the outside that was deeply divorced from my innermost truth.
I isolated. Sat at home (at work, at church), adjusting my false face. Keep it in check. No one can know. No one will understand—they may even blame me. Now’s not the time to crack.
Meanwhile I did what good Christian women do: buried myself in family, career, and service to others, pretending immunity from any past or present emotional wounds. Too often, I abandoned healthy boundaries at the first sign of resistance while I let the responsibilities of life postpone my dreams.
I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we all just took off our masks and spoke our truths.
Can you imagine how liberating it would feel if life on the outside could actually line up with the person on the inside? That’s God’s plan for us. He longs for us to be who we really are. To find and use our real voices.
Let’s consider some of mask-wearing behaviors and the lies behind them that want to keep us trapped. Have you ever masked your feelings, masked your soul? Why do you think we go to such lengths to hide our true selves?
29 thoughts on “The View Behind the Mask”
The fear of being found out ran deep in my veins for so long. Even now it takes deliberate, draining work to share my heart sometimes. I’m scared to show how I feel or tell what I think. But each day brings new promises. Thank you Jo Ann for your work and your beautiful friendship!
Oh beautiful Sarah … how I wish I had gotten this at your age. I stayed way too long in the muck and mire. You are such an inspiring model of a willingness to walk through the hard places. Thank you for being you.
I am still terrified of 98% of people finding out what I grew up in. The judgment, lies, and absolute hate had silenced my voice for 47 yrs. I am 50yrs. now and my voice is still so stifled. It is the extreme few people that I ever truly open up to, and let see the hurt, pain, shame, and absolute devastation I have felt. I never knew what real love was until the year 2011. Now it is only the end of 2013. I never opened up as a child or adult for I could not for I was threatened with banishment and death. Opening and writing my story and publishing will take incredible spiritual strength. I am working on that with the most incredible 2 Christian pastors and my God given and amazing Blessed therapist. I could please use a lot of prayers, thank you.
You absolutely have my prayers. I understand that fear. I stayed for way too long behind the mask as well. The façade that everything is fine! When everything in me was screaming!! But I had those deep seeded fears as well. For years I was threatened with death, being sent away from my family, (being told my mother would hate me & send me away) Being threatened with…I’m sorry I can’t even say it. But that intense fear kept me silent for many years. When I started writing & speaking about what had happened, some of those fears began to let up. I was led for so long to believe that
1~ I was the only one this was happening to
2~ That this is how all little girls are taught ~ how to please a man & be a good wife for them.
As a child I experienced the inhumane brutal tortures as very real, but was unable to see the contradictions of what I was being told. I couldn’t see that it couldn’t be both ways. That either I was the only one…or…all little girls are taught this. The threats kept me paralyzed & trapped.
I thank God that he removed the mask sent me an angel in the form of my husband Jerry & saved my life. I pray for everyone trying to pull the life-draining mask from their Lives & step into the freedom & healing we find in Christ.
WoW, you knew right from the start what was it that I could not say. I forwarded an email to you dearest Soul Sister and soul Survivor. The reason I say Soul Survivors is that the offenders may have broken our bodies, our minds and our hearts , and shattered our lives but they never took our souls cause somewhere somehow through it all we had Jesus’ strength, Jesus was carrying us and holding us through the most horrible trauma, torment, terror, and abuse and our SOULS SURVIVED.
After walking this same journey for so many years it is profoundly liberating to finally lay down the mask and just be who I was created to be. What a place of rest!! Jesus longs for us to just BE, and to lean into Him without controlling our every minute of existence. More free than I have ever been!!! Thanks for this reminder, JoAnne!!
Hey Dixie, you model this beautifully. 🙂 Oh that we would rest, be, and lean. Freedom waits!
Living in authenticity is such a freeing thing! I too have struggled with the mask and sometimes still hear the inner voice that cautions me from letting others truly know me. My childhood was so full of rejection that I was nearly paralyzed as an adult when it came to relationships. The more I am able to open my heart to the amazing, unconditional love that God has for me, the more I find myself allowing myself to be known and loved by others. I am learning to love myself with God’s acceptance and it is setting me free to enter into authentic relationships with others. Loving it!
Oh to be fully know. Thank you for the beautiful reminder!
I think why I go to so much length to hide my true self is after being sexually abused so many times by so many different people I learned to hate who I was. It’s hard work to over come those thoughts. To erase that tape takes so much time. I was told that I wouldn’t never be a good person…after so many time hearing it you believe it. I’m glad that some people came out and took out their mask. I sure want to take mine out some day and keep it out and be free. Maybe one day.
As for if I was encouraged or inspired…yes… that’s why I’m still alive today. You can have earth angels out there but you have to do the work…but it’s nice to have someone walk along side of you for support
You show such courage, such real courage in the midst of the journey. Thank you for your honesty, even here, now. Praying for you. Believing in you.
I just realized that I’m the odd ball here. I’m sorry I can’t be like the others here. I still have my mask on most of the time. I just feel I don’t belong anywhere at the moment. Sorry C
I think differently. I think you may have well found yourself in community with a bunch of other women who either been exactly where you are, or they are still there. You are safe here friend.
You absolutely belong here C. I am so glad that you are here and reaching out. I so admire your courage and strength.
Yes, C — I agree wholeheartedly with Catherine.
We are all here for you when you decide to take that step & remove your mask. We want to hear your heart’s song. We love you.
My whole life has been a mask. I find it interesting that you say you “adopted” a false voice. Adoption puts a mask over who you really are. I created another mask on top of that, refusing to become what they wanted to shape me into, yet not free to express the turmoil beneath it. I don’t know whether I was afraid of being found out, so much as having both masks torn away and finding nothing at all – only an empty void where the real me should have been.
The “adopted” mask has crumbled into dust. The other mask doesn’t seem to fit anymore. Something is trying to force it out of the way, and I’m not sure what it is yet, but its voice is growing.
Interesting catch, Jodi. “I don’t know if I was afraid … of finding nothing at all–only an empty void where the real me should have been.”
I’m praying for the growth, friend. Praying it is watered and nurtured into full bloom. <3
Thank you Jo Ann for your post and all that you are doing to help myself and others to go forward as courageous women of God. I have really been blessed by this community.
I tried to link up above but am not sure it went through correctly. I am not so great at computer stuff.
Here is my post on the topic of laying down masks:
Thank you for your words of encouragement. What a blessing you are to us.
Sarah Knepper is doing a great job of checking out links, so I’ll get her to take a look.
Can’t wait to read your post.
“There are those days I fear being found out. Fear being known. Fear being exposed for who I really am. Naked and afraid, I hide under my perfected and polished fig leaf.” Yes, fear is so real some days that it dictates my life. Praying for God to release that fear and replace it with hope and live. Thank you, my friend, for this beautiful post.
Oh for those days that we overcome fear to be each and every one! Thank you, Tina, for your heart, your courage, and your intentional efforts to bring God glory.
Oh boy. I can so relate to this! How tragic that we, in fear and pain, do all we can to keep from being found out, when the truth is that there is nothing to hide… God knows full well who we are! He knows us and loves us just the same! Thanks Jo for this wonderful post. I think so many struggle with this. Colleen
Oh so true, Colleen. Oh. so. true.
The is my blog on masks. I hope it can be posted. Thank you, Norma Brumbaugh
To this day, I wear a mask hiding how I truly feel and who I truly am. Before in the past, I’d help everyone in need and love everyone the same. It takes alot even cracking my most inner thoughts to actually have me share my feelings with anyone. I don’t know what it feels to share anything with anyone and disconnecting myself by deleting social networks and disconnecting from friends while also hiding the truth of a decision I made months ago and not tell anyone as to why I did it since its something I cannot begin to share with anyone since I do not trust people and the fear of being found out has the walls surrounding my heart even thicker and further more it makes my pride go to a new high. Thank you Jo Ann for this article!
Father, I just lift up this precious soul to you. Strengthen Raul to be able to finally lay this burden @ your feet. Give comfort & healing where it is needed. Thank you for the opportunity of this place in which we can come together for the soul purpose of loving on & supporting each other. Father, only you know the when & the how of each of us finding our voices & in so doing, gain new freedoms. I ask that you would come against all fear of being found out. Instead give Raul a new boldness to speak. Provide ones with whom trust can finally be found. Use each of us Father to be that safe place to land, that harbor in the storm where we can hold each other up until the winds of destruction & fear have subsided. Give each of us an extra measure of your compassion & love for us as we journey forth on the road to breaking down walls that surround our inner most hearts & hold us captive. Cause the walls to come crashing down. Release us into all that you have for us. In Jesus Mighty Name. Amen & Amen!!!
We love you Raul ~~ This is a place of safety. Thank you JoAnn for providing this place. I know it was divinely directed.
Hello, I was researching a topic for my women’s ministry and stumbled upon this article. It blessed me. I have been personally struggling with myself, and trying to see what and who I am. The mask I continue to hid behind and why? I consciously thought this would be helpful for the women in my church it would be best to address the issue as a whole. Thank you for the article!!!!