At a recent family event at Orchard Baptist we thought about superheroes and the children who wanted to made masks. There were some really impressive creations and we got this great picture of some of some of the children at the end.
Masks look cool and in films they help a superhero to protect their real identity in order to keep their family and friends safe. Masks are important to superheroes, but do we need them?
Do you wear a mask?
This might seem like a silly question (what, a silly question from me?) because it’s pretty obvious if someone is wearing a physical mask or not.
What I’m talking about is a mask as a way of living or behaving that hides who you really are.
Someone may come across as being really confident and brash, but it can be a mask that hides their deep insecurities. You often see this on reality TV where someone is dominant in the group, but in front of the diary camera they come across as a person in pieces.
Someone may be the life and soul of the party when they are secretly battling with depression. The tragic death of Robin Williams and what subsequently emerged about hs battle with depression is the highest profile illustration of this in recent years.
Someone may act like they have lots of money when they are really struggling financially. Many people feel under pressure to appear financially successful and this is one of the things that can lead people into crippling debt.
So why do we wear masks?
One of the reasons is that we can feel under pressure to be a certain type of person. Advertisers tell us that we should be having fun and enjoying life, that we should be rich and successful and that we deserve more than we have. They then lie to us by implying that if only we bought the product that they are advertising then we could have all of these things.
In response to this pressure, people who want to measure up to the perfect picture that is portrayed can try to wear a mask and pretend to be who they are not.
I hope that we can move towards the point where we can become comfortable taking these types of masks off.
Part of this involves the acceptance that some of these things we are pretending to be don’t matter.
- You don’t have to be rich to be successful.
- You don’t have to have all the answers all the time.
- No one has fun all of the of time, life just isn’t like that.
It also involves accepting that real change is better than pretending.
- If I am struggling with depression, it is better to seek help than to pretend that I am okay.
- If I am deep in debt, I need to work out how to get out of it (try CAP if you need help), rather than borrowing more to try to look well off.
- If I don’t have the right answers to a problem I need to learn to ask for help and work with others rather than pretending that I know it all. (Contestants on The Apprentice generally need to learn this!)
So, are you wearing a mask?
If so, how about taking it off and trying to become more comfortable being you?
If so, how about taking it off and working on real change, rather than just pretending?
The Bible talks a lot about change. When we turn to and follow Jesus, he will begin to work in our lives changing us and if we cooperate with him then we will be transformed.
I watched the 2013 Lone Ranger film recently and I love the way that when people first meet the Lone Ranger that they often ask him
‘What’s with the mask?’
It’s a great question that some of us need to ask ourselves.
Strangely they never ask Tonto ‘what’s with the bird on your head?’ but hopefully that isn’t a question that we need to ask ourselves.