Behind the Mask
What does your mask look like? When we keep our lives appearing spotless, who are we helping?
A knock at the door. My heart hammered. I whirled around and did one last check for clutter. I sprinted for the remote and turned off the cartoons that kept the girls entertained for the last hour as I cleaned. The girls followed me back to the door.
I welcomed the family inside. It was our first play date. I wanted it to go well. I tried to look at my little post-stamp house through their eyes, wondering what they saw. I checked Adela and sighed with relief. She had kept her shirt clean and the bow tucked next her ponytail.
The kids settled into play. The mom and I sipped tea. Her eyes flicked to clean counter-tops and a mopped floor. She didn’t hide her disappointment. My stomach sank.
My new friend cleared her throat and gave me a half-smile. “My home never looks this clean. How do you do it? I spend so much time playing with the kids, doing laundry, trying to keep meals on the table…How do you keep the floors clean?”
Discontent spread across her face and her cheeks flamed with embarrassment.
I covered my eyes with my teacup hiding my confusion.
I did not know what to tell her.
The truth was ugly.
The truth was I had not played with my girls once that day. The truth was there were piles of laundry hidden in my bedroom. The truth was that we would be eating leftovers tonight because I had not prioritized cooking another meal.
Worst of all, my mask had hurt a young mother who was doing everything right.
For a moment my pride wanted to keep silent, but my soul knew better. I set the coffee cup down and confessed. I confessed all. A few minutes later she laughed. We grew comfortable. By the end of the visit I had a better and very dear friendship.
The next time I had a play date I dressed the girls in our home clothes and left toys on the floor.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (ESV)
How do others see God in us? Through our perfections? No. They see the power of God when we struggle. They see God’s grace, peace, love, and joy, when we hurt and rely on Him.
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
How much does our mask of pride prevent the light of God from shining through?
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"...and God was already there with me."