She stands there smiling, nodding her head, responding but not listening.
To everyone else, she is strong. She has it all together. People often ask, “How in the world can you do it all?”
They want to see the superwoman. So, she wears the mask.
She hides her pain, her shame, her anger, her hurt behind the mask of her smile. Afraid her truth cannot be accepted. Afraid that her truth will keep her from being loved.
Do you know this woman?
Is she you?
I must admit, I know this woman. She has been me.
For more years than I care to admit, I lived a life untrue to myself. Camouflaging my passions, my purpose, and my gifts, the real me was hidden behind smiles hoping to gain acceptance and love from others. Quickly, I learned to play the game showing others the person they wanted me to be.
When we accept Christ, we come to realize that God gains no glory from us living a fake life, hidden behind masks seeking to win the approval of others.
So if you are at the point you want to break free from the mask, then here are just three ways you can live your life authentically.
Embrace your story
To live our most authentic life, we cannot hate the experiences that helped shape who we are. Denial and shame get in the way of being able to embrace our story so we can live an authentic life. Shame wants you to think you are unlovable, beyond redemption. Yet, we know in God’s word that “all things work together for the good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28) and His plans are for our “peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Yes, we have made some mistakes. Some bad things have happened. You can live your life behind a mask ashamed, filled with guilt, or you can live seen in freedom through Christ. Repent and surrender it all to Him. Only Jesus Christ can transform us into new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17). His blood redeems us. We are not our mistakes.
So embrace your story for HIS glory and come from behind your mask.
Embrace truth over opinion
Before anyone had an opinion about your life, God already created a divine purpose for you. The only way we will be able to be live a life true to ourselves is by knowing God’s truth. What does He say about you? What does His word say about being a wife, a mother, or a friend?
You see, other people will always have an opinion about who you should be. They will say things like “you are too much,” “why you always gotta act like that?”, “Girl, you’re special.” We grow up hearing our people comment on our bodies, our hair, and our personality. But you know what, God gave you that curly hair. God made you an introvert. God created your loud laugh.
When we place more value in the criticism of people than we do God, we start living a life to please people instead of pleasing God.
So know HIS truth. Get in His word and write it on your heart. Every area that you feel insecure get in His word. Talk to Him in prayer. Allow God to show you who He made you to be then you can walk boldly in His purpose for your life. Only when we align ourselves with the truth of God’s word are we able to live a life seen, loved and purposed.
Embrace your happy
Okay, I know. You were with me until now. How in the world will embracing my happy help you live an authentic life? Maybe you feel pretty happy already. Well, if you are like I was, I allowed my happy to be based upon the responses of others. My decisions were centered around what others wanted, what others needed, and what they thought. Because I wanted those around me to be happy, I avoided conversations that would lead to tension and disagreements. Simply, I didn’t want the conflict. I kept quiet on expressing what I really wanted because I didn’t want them to withhold affection, their relationship, or even their love. (Yes, I know, this is all so unhealthy. But it is still true.)
Embracing your happy means accepting others may be disappointed, upset, disagree, or just don’t care with the choices and decisions you make. . You know what, that’s okay. Allowing the approval of others to be the foundation for your happiness and joy is like building on sinking sand. Your happiness and joy will never be stable.
Do you know what makes you happy? Really. Like could you answer that question if I were standing in front of you? For a while, I couldn’t. Most of my life revolved around trying to keep people that I lost me. If you don’t know, take some time figuring it out. Try new things. Be okay doing those things along. If other come cool, but if not—go anyway. Most importantly, know that joy only comes from a relationship rooted in Christ (Nehemiah 9:10).