Have you ever ventured into a lavish masquerade party? For one night only, guests wear elaborate masks to hide their identities from others. Yet, oftentimes, the masquerade is a daily reality for some of us. The mask doesn't come off. We tend to hide behind the images we've created rather than being our true selves. Either because we care too much for other people’s opinions, or because we’ve chosen to pressure ourselves to meet external expectations. Sometimes it seems easier to put on appearances than to stay true to who we are.There are two ways of facing the world. Either through a projected self or an actual self. The first is the person you show to the world. While the second refers to the person you really are.
In what ways are you living a life of your projected self? Perhaps it’s a career your parents choose for you. Maybe it’s a relationship that you forced yourself into. It could be the person you've pretend to be so you could gain acceptance by a certain group of people. No matter how you get there, the desire to reach perfection can make any of us overlook God's plan in preference for what seems required. With evolving expectations set on success, money, and beauty, we can get caught in a constant hustle for more, and on a tight timeline to gain it all. It’s a pressure that builds up, eventually making us feel like we’re not enough and have no choice but to act like someone else. But that route only leads to being in danger of falling into depression and forfeiting joy.
It's when the curtains close on your routine and you’re home alone, you're left to face yourself. Who remains once you've removed the mask? Strip the names and labels placed on you to embrace the quirks. Your unique personality, the weird dimple in your chin, and your awkward laugh. Looking for validation in all the wrong places - possessions, people, positions - can easily become an endless search for identity. Instead, look to the Creator, the one who says in Luke 12:7, "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." He will never leave us empty-handed.
Figure out whether you're projecting a false self instead of your true self. A few indicators of putting on a façade include you making an effort to maintain it, succumbing to stress, and fearing rejection. But when you've put down the mask you're relieved and free to propel into your calling. By connecting with your true nature, you allow God to work within you.Your identity cannot come from those around you or the material things you may obtain. Your identity can only come from God. He loves you just the way you are. He says you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are more than a conqueror and he tells you to be strong and courageous. He created you for a specific purpose. Embracing your actual self means being free – free to finally step up to your calling!