The Girl Behind the Mask: Moving from Who I Pretend to Be to Being Authentically Me
Updated: Mar 12
FLAW- Who I pretend to BE
LAW- Authentically ME
Have you ever been spending time with someone, thought all was going along just fine, and then suddenly something shifted in you? You can't put your finger on what happened, but you could feel yourself getting agitated and all you wanted to do was run, shut down, make a joke, or punch someone! (It's okay to admit that last one... we won't tell!) #flawedhonestyisthebestpolicy #welivebyit
If your answer was yes to any of the above, we feel ya sister! The good news is that those thoughts and feelings are common to EVERYONE and are actually a big internal warning system that something has gone a little haywire, and most likely it did not originate with your current situation (unless the person you're with is just annoying, and then carry on, friend). When those passions start erupting, it's a good opportunity to pause and figure out what exactly is going on.
If you listened to the podcast or read the blog last week, you’ll know that we used the Enneagram typology/personality tool to help us understand how we often walk around with “masks” on, hiding or disguising our real selves as a result of behaviors learned as children to protect ourselves and to help us relate safely to the world around us.
Now more than ever we have a tangible example (no thanks to covid!) of what it's like to walk into a room where everyone’s faces are almost completely covered up—no imagination needed. What a weird experience this is! But in reality, in a more “normal,” covid-free world, we’re in a sea of masked adults everywhere we look. They’re just harder to notice because the masks are invisible, sort of, until a moment of stress hits.
It has been said that if we do not shed these masks into adulthood, it’s as if we are adults who walk through life asleep, which is why we love this quote from Oswald Chambers: “Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go into the invincible future with Him.”
When we walk through life “masked,” acting out the defenses we’ve rehearsed or second-guessing the way we think others want us to show-up, we actually take away their choice to love us—the real us—which is who they really want anyway. The act of hiding our true selves destroys connection and leads to feelings of aloneness, which I think we can all agree is one of the worst feelings in the human experience (not feeling known, seen, or heard), and happens to be one the world is especially combating right now.
We will never be truly known or achieve true connection, however, until we first know ourselves.
So how do we identify what these masks are exactly, how do we recognize them when we have them on, and how do we get rid of them for our sakes and those of our friends?
To continue using some of the language from the Enneagram to help us understand ourselves and our friends better, we must first recognize that everyone has a specific Core Desire that, when not met, can trigger our Core Fear. When we are afraid, our Core Sin (or weakness) takes over, our Masks go up, and we are ready for war.
Core Desire - what our hearts are longing for
Core Fear - what we're trying to prevent
Core Sin - how we start behaving when in defense mode
Mask - what personality we wear, aka our Enneagram Type
Friendship was never made to be a battle ground, however; it was made to be a weapon. One of the most powerful gifts of Friendship is that our truest friends should be more than happy (more like eager!) to see the person behind the mask revealed, while they help us confront the fears that keep us from being who we really are, and stand with us as God heals those things we allow to hinder us from authentically connecting with Him and one another.
What is the invitation of Friendship anyway, if not to be loved into my true self with the opportunity to love her the same way, too?
WHO I PRETEND TO BE
Take a moment to consider how the defense mechanisms we have are a lot like the masks on the Enneagram Chart Below. (*If you do not know your Enneagram number you can take the test HERE before you go any further). If we learn and break down these false defenses, we can then resist our own false sense of security and remove the masks that keep our true identities hidden. In turn, this will help us reach a deeper connection with those around us. When we are brave enough to do this, isn't it just like God to use the very people we hide from to reveal who we are behind the mask?
*FREE Digital Download Chart
Here is a little exercise that will hopefully bring all of this home for you. After you pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you as you go through this, take a few moments to think through the questions below.
1. In order to pinpoint a Core Desire of your heart, what is a message you’d love to send someone about yourself but don’t? In other words, what is something you wish others knew about you that perhaps you’ve been intentionally or unintentionally hiding or keeping “masked”?
2. When you think back to situations when that Core Desire wasn't getting met, what Fear did you experience?
2. 1 Corinthians 13:11 says: “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
Ask the Lord to bring to mind one or two “childish” ways of behaving that you could ditch for a more mature way of behaving.
3. I know it’s not pretty, but let’s call those “childish ways” what they really are: SINS.
Romans 8:9 says: “But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)”
While sin makes us vulnerable to the enemy’s advances, maturity is an armor of protection that he can’t break through.
With that in mind, fill in these blanks with the words the Lord brings to mind, and say out loud the last part of the sentence in italics:
When my spirit is controlled, my ______________ (“childish way” or sin, refer to #2) turns to _________________ (“mature way” or righteousness), and that makes me impenetrable to the satan’s line of attack against me.
Can you see how shedding your “mask” of protection doesn’t leave you naked or exposed, but actually leaves you more protected, making you stronger and impenetrable by the Holy Spirit of God?!
4. The key to walking out what you've learned here is to share this with someone close to you. Tell her what you’ve discovered about yourself, and ask her if she'd be willing to walk with you on the journey to "unmasking," as you invite her to shed hers, too!
In closing, we hope that with the help of these tools and truths, you will be able to use what you have learned to get to know The Girls Behind the Mask: You and Her, better than ever before.
Make sure to subscribe and listen to the Podcast where this week, we will talk more about what prevents us from being truly ourselves in our relationships, the “masks” that keep us safe, and how Friendship helps us sing the song of authenticity.
Song of the Week: The Last Song Of Your Life
*Note to Our Reader
We are often more familiar with who we aren’t than who we are, so when someone comes along to interrupt our defenses with invitations to let our guard down and be ourselves, it can throw us off! Who is this woman who helps us unveil what has been hidden? Who is this that fights with us to exchange our fears for faith? We call her... Friend.