I just wanted to break into tears, watching as our governor gave an update on the state of how schools will be opening in the Fall.
I want my children to go back to school, it has been hard for them to be away from their structure, and friends. But I have a really hard time with the whole mask thing. (Before I continue I want to say that I know they are important, and I support the decision to wear them)
But just because I support the decision for people to wear them, doesn’t change the emotions behind the mask. It took me almost 2 months to wear a mask. At first we just made the decision that my husband would be the only one to go to the grocery store, and do our errands. Then we just got comfortable in that routine, and I just didn’t go out.
I think it was bad when I was watching a movie, and during one scene I got a little anxiety because all I could think was There are way too many people close together in that building. My husband was like Yeah, you can’t go anywhere.
And finally when I did go out, I didn’t realize how much I would hesitate putting on the mask. This doesn’t apply to just myself either, I can’t handle putting a mask on Olivia. She doesn’t wear one a lot at all. I can count on one hand all the times I have had to put it on her. I can also count on one hand the times that I have put it on her and just wept.
And for a long time, I couldn’t figure out why. Why should I feel this way when I am trying to look for flowers for a friend, but trying to get to the flower section that is hidden by a line of people? Don’t get too close right? Be careful who you touch.
(Again I want to be clear that I know masks are important, I am not against them, and I support the decision to wear them. My point is that I want to awknowledge that it can be emotionally hard, and that it is okay to feel that way.)
But for me, you wear a mask when you are trying to hide something. When you feel shame, guilt, or have done something bad. And for many of us, even if we have not done anything wrong, we still unconsciously associate masks with shame.
I know some of the people reading this actually do smile behind the masks, but I have also seen that for many, wearing a mask makes them feel uncomfortable, and out of the emotions tied to that, you don’t want to meet another persons gaze.
Who told you that you were naked? Genesis 3:11
And my friends, this has happened since Adam and Eve. Because what is the first thing Adam and Eve did when they disobeyed God? They realized they were naked and made clothes our of leaves to “mask” themselves. And then they hid from God because they were afraid.
Yes, from the beginning of man, masking yourself has gone hand in hand with disobedience, and shame. And what you are masking yourself from is really God.
You continue to see this theme of shame through out scripture. When Peter recognizes who Jesus is for the first time, he tells Him to “go away” from him because he is a sinful man. Shame.
And then when he denies Christ 3 times after sharing his undying devotion to Him, he cries bitterly. The kind of cry that happens when you are grieved. Yeah, I bet that shame was crushing.
And you have the women who bled for 12 years. By Mosaic Law, she was characterized as “unclean”. That means no one could touch her, and that anyone who she touched, or touched her would be unclean too. Knowing this, but trusting that even if she touched the edge of Jesus robe, He would heal her, she creeps through a crowd for healing. And I imagine she tried really hard not to brush up against someone else. She doesn’t even confidently approach Jesus face to face. She only has enough courage to creep through the crowd behind Him knowing that if she touches the edge of His robe she will be healed, and she would no longer have to live as an outcast. Shame, with the glimmer of hope of being accepted, being healed and no longer considered “unclean”.
So what happened in all this shame?
Although Adam and Eve were banished from the garden of Eden, and their life basically promised to be hard, God provided for them in making for them clothing from animal skin. He didn’t leave them naked and afraid. He met them in their fear.
When Peter tells Jesus to leave him because he was too much of a sinner to be around Him, Jesus calls his fear out, and says from now on you will be fisher of men. In other words, don’t live in fear, don’t hide, stay close I have plans for you.
And then when Peter denies Jesus 3 times, and after (like days and days after) he weeps bitterly because of the shame of his denials, Jesus invites Peter to have breakfast on the beach with him, and commands him that if he loves Him to feed His sheep.
The women who bled for 12 years was healed the second she touches the robe of Jesus, just as she hoped. But Jesus didn’t want her to continue to hide, He searched the crowd so He could publicly look her in the eye, as she fell at His feet in fear so He could tell her Daughter, your faith has healed you. He wanted everyone to know that this outcast, this women who was once unclean, was accepted and worthy to be called “daughter” because of her faith.
Your shame doesn’t discount you from the love, or the work of the Father. Your shame is an opportunity for Jesus to meet you where you are to tell you that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Him, because through Him the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. Romans 8: 1-3
So, how do we wear a mask?
We wear it, by taking the mask that we wear around our hearts off, that keep us from living in the freedom that Christ offers. We wear it knowing that we don’t have to feel shame, because there is no condemnation to those who believe in Christ. We wear it in confidence, knowing that He meets us meets us exactly where we are to call us into a life of freedom, apart from shame, but confident in who He tells us we are. Daughter of a King. Loved by a good Father. Set free from the bondage of sin and shame. Redeemed to live confidently for Him.