I struggle. I struggle with the idea of struggling.
There. My mask is off. More like a face mask – those peel-off ones I loved as a 14 year old, that pulled out those black-heads so satisfactorily. Except, this time, I didn’t realize I was wearing the mask.
Part of my soul offered out, exposed. And the waves of vulnerability break upon the shoreline of pride. Or is it uncertainty?
Uncertainty of who this woman is. This 28 year old, so used to going it alone, and no longer wanting to. So used to fighting forward through the darkness of evil come against her, and fighting so confidently that when a punch comes in from the side I am suddenly thrown off-guard. My roots are rocked and in this dry, dry soil they are desperately seeking for water. Trusting that it has to be there. Just. Need. To. Go. Deeper…
My mask collection actually consists of various happy faces: the super missionary; the calm, patient mother; the ever-loving, perseverant wife; the expert homeschool teacher; the compassionate pastor’s wife; the loyal friend; the wise older sister.
I love for you to admire my masks and marvel at my strength.
But any strength that is there is either a mask or not mine. I would love to say that it is always His, but my own insecurities have not yet been melted away by His perfection.
And besides, in this desert I am finding it difficult to see His radiance beyond the glare of my own anxieties.
And these anxieties annoy me. They rub against me. The feel so old – so last decade, so coming of age. Did I not throw them off? Am I not now a woman: wonder-woman?
Where did they come from? Where did they creep up from these voids in my soul that are cracking my face mask and causing it to peel?
And Jesus. Beautiful, patient, arms-stretched-out Jesus. You know. And yet you still love. You laugh joyfully and wholly and your laugh tells me I am your child and you accept me as I am. That you find the masks quirky and silly and totally unnecessary and that you love the beauty of the face beneath – the exposed one, which can only go out in public with Him.
And you remind me of the lies that the devil tries to tell me: search yourself. Keep looking at yourself – maybe you will get to the bottom of this uneasiness.
And instead, you tell me:
Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat;
I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.
(Matthew 16:24-26 The Message)