I love superhero movies. There’s something fun about getting lost in the fantasy world of capes, masks, and gargantuan fists. To see someone climb up the side of a building gets me stoked. To see someone smash the ground so hard it causes an earthquake makes me smile. And through a series of unforeseen, never-could’ve-guessed-it plot twists and turns that are completely predictable, the good guys win. I like that.
It’s fantasy in all the right ways.
I’m not always looking for a drama. I like to watch movies for the escape value. Life’s hard enough, so why be reminded about it on a 20-foot HD screen with surround sound? Can I get an “amen!”?
But when it comes to real life, there’s inherent danger in wearing a mask though it might be more fun and “safer.” It’s “easier” for me to pretend like everything’s always ok in my life. It’s easier for me to wear the mask of
- I’ve always got the answer
- My kids are perfectly well behaved
- I don’t struggle with “normal people” things
- Life’s easy
- “I’m doing great!”
- I’m coping really well
Why we wear masks
There’s a gap between who you are and who you want to be. And this is a universal truth. As I look across my life, there is so much that I wish I could do. So many areas where I wish I was better, stronger, more articulate, and a better leader. So many areas that I wish I’d matured in.
There’s a gap between who I am and who I want to be. And I’m not alone in this.
I look at their marriage and wish mine were more like that. I look at the way they parent and realize I’m not where I need to be. I see their leadership and am quickly reminded I’m not as strong as them. I see the way they handle adversity and notice I’m not able to do what they do. I watch they way they navigate complexity and chaos and wish I were different. I see the way they speak, they write, they excel, and realize I’m not them.
My gap is wider than yours in certain areas. And narrower in others. In some areas of my life, I have a gap where you don’t. But we all have gaps. So we try to cover those with a superhero mask. Because superheroes are strong where we wish we were. Superheroes can overcome anything. And they always win.
They aren’t scared. They can take a bullet. They can fly, climb, and throw cars to save people. Everybody loves them. Kids want to dress up like them for Halloween.
Nobody’s ever wanted to dress up like me for Halloween.
4 Truths about masks
It’s easy to compare others’ strengths to our weaknesses.
When we look at others strengths, it’s easy to compare what they’re great at with what we’re weak at. And that’s not fair. God’s given you strengths so you can use them to serve others. If we were strong in everything, we may be tempted to think we don’t need God.
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10
Others’ strengths aren’t your strengths. Your weakness isn’t theirs. So stop comparing.
Gaps call us to faith.
The gaps we see in life can’t be crossed on their own. And the gap between who we are and who we want to be can be an awfully large chasm that isn’t traversed overnight.
It’s hard to exercise faith when the skies are blue and we feel like we can “handle” everything. When we’re weak, unsure how and where to take the next step, we can grow in our faith.
If you look across your life and don’t see any gaps, be scared. Because your faith isn’t growing. And you’re probably looking in the wrong direction.
Exercise some faith and grow.
The world needs you. Not the you with a mask.
People are more endeared to you through your weaknesses than through your strengths. Because they have weaknesses, too! In fact, Paul the apostle says
But [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
If you want to fully embrace grace, and fully embrace the power of the One that rose from the dead, take that mask off. After all, you’re not fooling anyone.
Ever tried boasting about your weaknesses?
You are deeply known AND deeply loved.
You are known by God more fully than anyone on this planet. God even knows you better than you know yourself. And as deeply and fully as you are know, you are loved.
It’s impossible to be fully loved without being fully known. But most of us walk around in fear that if we’re fully known, we won’t be fully loved. Thankfully, that’s not the case with God. He knows our weaknesses. Our joys. Our tendencies to mess things up. He knows our past and our future. Yet still He loves us.
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! – God (Isaiah 43:1)
Live in that.