Are You Wearing a Mask

Jen’s Gem: Take off God’s mask and see Him clearly.

Early one morning last week, I decided to go to the grocery store. I had only a few items to pick up and I wanted to get this less-than-desired chore out of the way. Like many businesses that are open now, there was a requirement to wear a mask. A friend of mine had made one for me, so I was all set.

I put the mask on as I entered the store and began my shopping. Within minutes, breathing became difficult. My face was sweating, my reading glasses fogged up, and the elastic kept getting stuck in my hair. I thought, this is one of the b-zillion reasons why I am not a health-care worker. How do they do this all day long?
As I perused the aisles for the items on my list, shelves were empty. Produce was non-existent. The fresh fish counter was closed. I found myself getting irritated, impatient, and downright angry. I thought to myself, “We live in the richest country in the world, yet I feel like a refugee in a third-world country.”

I bagged my groceries and as soon as I got out of the store, took off the mask and breathed in the fresh morning air. Free at last! Free at last! I turned on the radio and the song “Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol was playing. I cranked it full volume. The popular 80s tune brought me back in time and perfectly described what I was feeling in that moment – rebellious.

Like many, I long for the freedom to go where I want, when I want, with whomever I want and wearing whatever I want. Let’s face it, we all took this for granted. Simple chores like grocery shopping have become so laborious that they are put off until starvation beckons. I will never again complain about this activity and I give you permission to hold me accountable if you hear me doing so.

The word “rebellious” is not a moniker that people would use to describe me. Quite the contrary actually. I like rules, structure, and predictability. There’s comfort and security there. However, sometimes this “sameness” is just that. The same. It’s boring.

I remember challenging my colleagues in corporate when they would say “We’ve always done it that way” when describing a process or procedure that had been around forever. My pushback would then typically result in me leading some type of process change project that saved the company time or money. I won awards and got bonuses for “rebelling” against the status quo.

Today my “rebel yell” is described as ‘out-of-the-box thinking’ on resumes and LinkedIn profiles. “Let’s just try this or that” I say to clients and friends when they are pondering something new. “If it fails, we’ll try something else.” No risk. No reward. Or as Denzel Washington said, “If you’re going to fail, fail big.”

Publishing my book, “Finding God. Finding Me.” was a risk. For years, after I received a clear message from God not to publish it, I presumed it would be forever stored on my laptop’s hard drive. However, bit by bit, I was being led to take steps to move it out of its “forever home” and into someplace new. One thing led to another and here I am with a published book on Amazon.

I’ve been floored by the response. Oh sure, the congratulatory messages feed my ego but it’s the emails and texts I get that say things like “I could so relate to this,” and “Thank you for being so vulnerable in sharing your story.”

Vulnerable. My mask is off. I’m an open book, rebelling against my own status quo of mask-wearing. I took a huge risk sharing my personal journey, yet the reward has been worth it as I hear of the positive impact it’s having.

God took a risk when He sent His Son Jesus to earth. He risked people not believing He was the Son of God. He risked showing Himself to people and not being accepted. Jesus revealed the complete nature of God, His character, His love, and His promises. God’s “mask” was off and people had the opportunity to see Him face-to-face for the first time. Was it worth it?

I think Hebrews 12:2 confirms that it was:

“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Because of what Jesus did, how He lived – we all have the opportunity to know God better. We all have a chance to get the inside scoop on how God thinks, what He feels, and who He is. The people who stood around the cross as Jesus died likely thought God failed big. But He didn’t. His success was seen three days later and continues to this day as His children draw closer to Him because of what Jesus did.

This week, I’d like to encourage you to consider removing the mask you may have placed on yourself, perhaps even God. When you see yourself as God sees you and when you see God for who He really is, I believe you will never put a mask on you or Him again.

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