Behind the Mask

My daughter has been gone to camp this week, and I’m really missing her.  One more night and she’ll be home.  Pretty soon she will be moving off to live on her own.  I was warned about how quickly my children would grow up.  I believed everyone when they told me, but experiencing it first hand is very different.  They’re all growing way too fast.

I pray daily for my kids and constantly look at how different situations may impact their lives down the line.  The small ripple that starts today can become a full blown tidal wave when they are adults.  Over the years there have been several things that have had to be un-done from when Meghan and Connor were younger.  I had absolutely no clue about what it meant to be a mother, and I didn’t put any thought into how my actions or teachings would manifest as they grew up.   Now, I choose purposefully what I teach them.

First and foremost, they are now being taught about God and about walking in relationship with Him.  But it’s more than teaching the concepts.  It’s about teaching them how to live it out in daily life.  I can talk at my kids all day about how great God is, and make them recite the 10 commandments.  Although there is value in that, it can’t stop there.  How I conduct myself at home, at work and everywhere else is a greater example to them than giving a lecture.  I know it’s a shocker that kids don’t pay attention to what we say; that is unless we say the wrong thing.  Then they are all over it!  I digress.

Back to the point, I can’t just shut off a wrong attitude while I’m in front of my; or any; children.  I grew up with putting on the front when we were in public or with extended family.  The fake smile, the uncomfortable hugs, the painful pinches when I said the wrong thing all that taught me that it wasn’t ok to just be me.  I learned early that I had to be fake, and that the only way anyone would love or accept me was if I hid behind a facade of being the “perfect” family.  My parents aren’t the only ones who ever taught their children that.  I teach my own, and anyone reading this knows that there are times when we all try to save face by putting on the mask.

The problem with all of the “niceties” is that it leaves us feeling alone and alienated. As a parent, I don’t want my kids to think that they can’t share when life is hard or that they have made a mistake.  I don’t want a false sense of perfection to be their goal.  Heck, I don’t want anyone who comes to know Christ through me to believe that as a Christian they are supposed to put on a front in order to be accepted by other believers.  Life is hard, and walking through this life with integrity and honesty is even harder.

Today I’m doing great.  There haven’t been any challenges other than my feet hurting because of my stupid high heels.  (But they are pretty cute!)  Tomorrow may be a different story, and there have been plenty of days in the recent past when doing good was a petition of prayer.  Let’s be honest with each other, and purposeful in the choices we make to be sincere.  If I ask you how you’re doing, I am asking about what is going on behind the mask.

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  – Hebrews 10:19-25

Lord, thank you for a calm and quite day.  Thank you for how productive I was able to be, and how my spirit remained at ease.  I pray that you would grant me the eyes to see truth, the ears to ear the truth and the lips to speak the truth.  Amen.

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