Masks That We Hide Behind

The new church plant I am a part of, Refuge Community Church, recently discussed the act of hospitality in the context of bringing people to Christ. 

“But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

Ephesians 2:13-20, NIV

Some of the discussion questions were: What masks do you hide behind that hinder hospitality? How do you feel God is leading you to respond? As I listened to Shawn, our associate pastor, give an example in his own life, I realized what was mine. 

A mask that I have hidden behind for many years is a façade that I am not as dorky as I am. Writing and saying it out loud makes me laugh because it is a bit ridiculous how trivial some things are when you look at the big picture. However, this has been an area of hurt in my life and of particular sensitivity. In the elementary and middle school years, I was made fun of because of how I dressed, how I spoke, and how I acted. It’s hard to dress well if you don’t have the money to pick out your own dress style and hard to speak well if you pick up English words from a non-native speaker! The hurt and ramifications of being teased has carried into adulthood, affecting my self-confidence. I worry that people will see the real dorky Eileen! 

Here is Dictionary.com’s definition of “dorky”: stupid, inept, or unfashionable. I can relate to being unfashionable. Being dorky in my experience has also included feelings of derision from others and rejection in social settings. Feelings of being seen as weak by others or not accepted. I often felt feelings of being a semi-outcast, not necessarily the person in the corner of the cafeteria but maybe the table next to the corner, lol. To this day, I still get nervous in a group setting when all eyes turn to me in a conversation. I fear what I say will be perceived as dumb or not valuable.

That evening at our church gathering, we got into groups and I confessed my “mask” to a friend whom I have recently gotten to know. In regards to hospitality, I told her honestly that I may refrain from attending particular events or I often may not invite particular people to something I am hosting because I fear they may find the event lame or they will see the real (dorky) me. When she prayed for me, she asked the Lord to reveal to me how people who care for me view me. She shared with me her personal view of me and said many encouraging things.  

Because of her prayer and encouragement, that evening I experienced freedom in revealing the whole me to others, not the just the parts I have traditionally allowed others to see. As the weeks have passed, It has been so freeing to not be afraid to show others the dorky side of me. I can be dorky and still be worthy of love. Because God loves me and sees me as worthy (Ephesians 2:4-7; Isaiah 43:4a; Jeremiah 31:3), I can believe others will love me and see me as worthy. Thankfully, the Lord has given me the gift of finding humor in most things. I am still susceptible to experiencing hurt in situations, but I can laugh and find humor in many of my idiosyncrasies.

It is easy to underestimate the power of speaking encouragement and God’s truth to others, but let us not forget. The Lord uses His body (people) often as a vessel to speak to His children as was the case of my friend at church.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11a, NIV

This is Urban Dictionary’s definition of “dorky” which gave me a great smile and laugh: 

Someone who is beyond awesome.
Don’t you just love how dorky he is?

My hope in sharing this is that you will experience freedom from façades you may hide behind that prevent you from being fully loved by others or fully engaging and loving others for Christ.

The freedom I am experiencing (because of Christ’s love for me) will give me the courage and desire to fully engage others for Him. I will be attending events I have the opportunity to participate in and will invite people (I have been too afraid to let in) into my life to share God’s truth and love with them.

I would love to hear from you and pray for you! Feel free to comment below.

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