I was a nervous wreck Saturday because I had to dress up in something I was not very confident in...and I had to walk a runway. I have never walked a runway. I am five feet three inches tall-- on a good day -- that is about one foot shorter than you need to be to become a runway walking model. I was out of my league. And because I was out of my league, I was nervous.
Now, not only was I doing a runway/model thing for the first time ever, but I was doing it with a bunch of twenty somethings. I was intimidated to say the least. When I get intimidated I usually end up doing something stupid and I did not want to do that. But I was so nervous. I wanted to break a leg, have a fire at the venue or have the whole thing canceled for some unknown reason. But that wasn't happening...so I had to find a way to hide.
Enter the mask. We were Mardi Gras so thankfully masks were involved. I made them take the stick off of my mask so I could permanently fix it to my face. I did not want anyone to see me for who I really was!
See, you wouldn't even know that was me, would you? And that is the way I wanted it. I wore that mask proudly because I felt hidden behind it. No one would know it was me walking the runway. Right?
We are in the middle of an awesome conference right now at our church called Heartcry (stick with me here...I promise to connect the two seemingly non-related stories rather quickly). Monday night we had a speaker talk to us about how we could not and would not experience a revival of our spiritual life until we spent time in confession before God. Then he said (and I quote), "We have to take off the masks we hide behind and get real with God and the people around us."
Immediately, my mind went back to Saturday night and to the panic I felt when I thought that I might not have my mask to cower behind. And God used that picture to say to me, "Paige, you keep a mask up all the time, not just Saturday night. You try to hide behind flowery prayers, encouraging phrases and acts of service but I see past that mask every time. I want you to be real. I want you to be open, repentant, vulnerable and broken before Me so I can use you for My Glory."
Being without my mask makes me very uncomfortable. I feel exposed. At times I am ashamed of what is really there without the mask. I worry about how people will feel about me if they know the REAL me, the mask-less me.
But my God beckons for me to remove my mask and to quit playing hide and seek with my sin. I want to see God move in a mighty way in my church, in my community, in my state and in my country...but I don't want Him to see the real me. Or maybe, I don't want anyone else to see the real me. But until I get real with Him, until you get real with Him, He can't move us on to the next level with Him.
So I realized, no matter how painful it may be, my mask must be removed...completely. I have to confess my sin to God and lay my life out before Him so He can clean it up and use it to further His kingdom. My masquerade must come to an end. So last night, I laid my mask on the altar and turned and walked away from it. I am trusting God to be my protection and defender in place of my mask. I am excited for the work He will do in me because I can see Him now so much clearer than before.
Ready to toss your mask aside? Come on, join me out here on the runway of life...