To the Mask-Wearers
You already know who you are. Because you are so tired hustling for that perfect life. You know the ideal life you want and you are hustling so much for it. Yet you still don’t feel like enough. Yet you still don’t feel like it is attainable. So you hustle more. And in the meanwhile you have started to wear a mask. So that everyone will believe that you are all right. So that everyone will know that you are enough.
Those of you wearing masks right now know exactly what I’m saying.
But with your mask you get this painful truth:
Only your mask receives love.
Maybe you made it to the “in group” but no one still really knows you—or really loves you. You still feel like you are not enough. You are probably making decisions that you right now have regrets over as you are still keeping up your hustle to stay in the “in group.” Feelings of not enough, feelings of regret, feelings of shame, feelings like you can never get off this path you are on are holding this mask up to your face.
At times you feel suffocated. But you can’t leave your house without this mask. You don’t remember any other way of life.
Here’s a true and sad list for you. It comes from this recommended book The Cure by John Lynch, Bruce McNichol and Bill Thrall. The cool part of the book is it is part allegory or parable. It is so much easier to read truth when it is a part of a story. (Read the book!)
“All of us are tempted to wear a mask when:
- We want to prove to others that we’re worthy of their love.
- We want to prove to ourselves that we’re worthy of being loved.
- We want others not to feel sorry for us.
- We fear if others see us truly, they won’t want to know us.
- We want to be seen as great.
“Believers in Christ additionally are tempted to wear a mask when:
- Our failures tell us the experiment of grace didn’t work.
- We want to prove to God that we’re worth His choice to love us.
- We believe God wants us to fake it so he looks good.
- We want God to make our life work and our behavior seems like the price tag.
- We think God cares more about right behavior than our trust and dependence.
- We think God we’re in competition with others graded on a spiritual curve.
- Our shame makes us believe we must assuage God’s disgust in us.” The Cure, p. 18
All of this realness is followed by this quote from the parable:
“No one told me that when I wear a mask, only my mask receives love.” P. 19
We at Spirit & Life don’t want you to come to church wearing your mask. We are doing our best to create a mask-free zone so we can see you and accept you. We are not perfect at it but this is one of our values that guides all of our decisions.
Being a part of the Spirit & Life church family is a start for you to realize that you are worthy of love and belonging. You are worthy to be seen.
From Part 3 of our series “Am I Enough?” Pastor Matt shared this truth beginning with this scripture from Romans 8:31-39:
"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died —more than that, who was raised to life —is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
"Nothing. Nothing. Not one thing. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ.
"That’s the Gospel. That’s the truth. For those of us who don’t know if we are worthy of love. For those of us who strive daily to prove our own worth. For those of us who think if we are a good parent, a good spouse, a good child, good at my job, then we will be worthy, then we will be lovable, then we will be loved, then we will be enough, THIS IS OUR GOSPEL.
"When we aren’t a good parent, when we aren’t a good spouse, when we aren’t a good child, when we fail at our jobs, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ. There isn’t anything we can do to prove our love. There isn’t anything we can do to lose that love. There’s nothing. Nothing separates us from God’s love. We are loved. Whether we like it or not. Whether we can explain it or understand it or not. Whether we feel it or not. We are loved by God in Jesus Christ. Always. Forever. No strings attached."
Our masks have strings attached. May you be brave to take off this mask and find out how loveable you are.
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