Not So Masquerade Ball: You Are Cordially Invited

Mask and Book courtesy of Talia Felix

This morning I was watching the Today Show, and they had three women on who had come up with a list of twenty-three things women should stop doing.  One was stop apologizing all the time, another was stop telling yourself no, and so on.  Then they asked those at home to chime in about what we believe women should stop doing.  So I went on the site, but couldn’t find where to add my comment.  So here I am sharing it with you.  I don’t think this is just a thing women should stop doing, but Christians should stop doing.

Ready.  Here goes.

Stop saying you are okay when you are not.

We walk into church and someone asks how we are.  Our reply is good, okay, fair to middling, but we really are not doing well.  We are really struggling in our faith, our imperfections, in our weakness, in our workplace, in our home life, raising children, being a spouse, in following our dreams.  In pleasing God. So why do we take our mask to church like it is a giant masquerade ball?

Casting Crowns wrote a song that is so fitting here about trading the altar in for a stage.

This weekend I attended a Simulcast that led thousands of women, and a few brave men, back into the arms of grace.  We have a tendency to start with grace and then try to keep it by following the law.  Its like someone presses our default button and we jump back on the treadmill of works.  Believing we are following the will of Jesus we begin to only do that which is hard for God, not realizing He said, “My yoke is easy.”  We chastise ourselves for things we say, think, and do when the Holy Spirit has not even convicted us.  Instead we are condemning ourselves.  And who wants to give the enemy all that ammunition to use against us?

The best way we can live as Christians is to drop our masks and take up Jesus.  With a loud shout to proclaim that we are not perfect, but we are loved by the perfect one.

Through years of therapy I have realized that I have had enough masks to throw a ball and not have to invite one other soul.  Only one invitation to send with hundreds of R.S.V.P.’s.  Years of others abuse and self-hatred have left me reeling from the words I have to describe myself.  Yet they are not the truth about me.  Still I happily pick up whatever lie and wear it like I am at Mardi Gras.  Partying all night, and party all day, every day.

Then after the morning comes I feel miserable.  I am left with this lap full of masks, some scattered on the floor, and all alone wondering if people would love me if they really knew who I was. The ball turns into another kind of party.  The drown in your sorrows kind.

Thoughts such as these echo in my mind, “If they knew I struggled with self-hatred, if they knew that I struggle with wanting to be the perfect mother and wife and always end up tapping out, if they knew that I can’t keep a schedule to save my life,” and much more.

Well I’m tired of wearing masks.  The ones that cover up the wounds that shout, “You are not good enough.”  “No one will like you if you are not miss perfect, and miss good girl.”  “No one will stay when they realize you are human, and what kind of leader are you anyway.”  “You call yourself a writer.  I don’t think so.  Your words don’t matter.”  “How can you call yourself a minister?  You know what you have done.”

So I am inviting you to my not so masquerade ball.  There is only one thing NOT to bring:  No masks!  No being someone you are not.  God made everything in seven days and said, “It is good.”  He created you just as he created the rose, the Grand Canyon, the rain forest, and the mountains.  He formed you in the secret place of your mother’s womb, and made the world wait nine months for your grand entrance because He was so impressed with who He made you to be. (Feel Free to Tweet that!)

In Jo Ann Fore’s book, When a Woman Finds Her Voice, she states,
“We intend to hide our shortcomings, and the fear inside our hearts, but instead, we hide our beauty, our true selves.”

We will be dancing to a certain song collection at the Not So Masquerade Ball.  The playlist will be composed of the songs He sings over us.

17 The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV

There is beauty in brokenness Beloved. I’m cooking up something for you.  Hopefully it will be ready next week.  Until then.  No masks.  Even if you are broken you are beautiful. Oh, wait a minute.  No masks after that either.  Ahem.

Next time someone asks how you are doing just be real.  It will give others the permission to be real as well.

 Hope your dance card is full! <3Melinda

Jo Ann Fore