A man came back from a weekend retreat experience and when a friend asked him how it was, he said, “I died!” The friend asked him what he meant. “You see,” the man answered, “I went to this thing not knowing what to expect. But in the process of that long weekend, I discovered that I had spent my whole life hiding behind a lot of masks. I realized that I had never even let my wife see me as I really was. I’d been playing games with her, and playing games with my children, and playing games with others — never letting anybody know whom I really am. The worst of it was to discover that even I didn’t know myself. I was not in touch with my own honest feelings about myself. And, as all of this was being exposed over the weekend, I died over and over again.” “I am convinced,” he said, “that I had to go through this death experience in order to become the new person that I hope to be now.”
Many of us, like the man in this story, have gone through life wearing masks. These masks are designed to hide who we really are inside. For whatever reason we wear them, the cruelty of other people’s opinions, hurts, life circumstances, even physical and social limitations, masks keep us from truly pursuing our God given purpose. Though masks protect us and hides the pain of disappointments, they also project a new persona which allows us to fit into whatever molds we, our family and friends, or society builds for us. In essence, the masks we wear scream out, “I am trying to be someone I am not.”
Our purpose in life hangs in the balance waiting for the masks to be removed. If we are ever going to be the people God created us to be, doing the things we were meant to do, then we are going to have to allow the created personas to die. The created persona dies as you remove the masks. Removing the masks reveals the real you.
Getting back to our authentic selves is a journey. A journey that involves taking off the masks and cultivating the real you. The journey is different for everyone but it leads each of us exactly to the place where we need to be, face to face with our own unique self. Who knows who you can be when you are simply free to be yourself? Won’t you take the journey?