As I walked into the cafe, I heard laughter. Focused on getting in and out with my juice I didn’t pay much attention. That is until I looked up and realized they were pointing and laughing at me! Uh oh...what did I have hanging out of my nose? Was there toilet paper on my shoe? Did my shoes not match....again? Was my zipper unzipped? What could be so funny? My first thought was get in the car and go somewhere else. But I was too far in the cafe, so I walked past them as fast as I could and stood in line for my juice. I could feel my heart racing all the way up to my nostrils thinking that something had to be wrong with me! Why were they pointing and laughing? All I wanted was a juice! As I stood there trying to figure it all out... my mind went back to a conversation I had with one of my daughters recently. It was about authenticity. It was about being real. It was about showing who we really are and not being afraid to shine for God in confidence. It’s about not caring what the world thinks, it’s about what God thinks. It’s about knowing who we are in Christ, and not walking in fear, but in confidence. It was about walking without a mask on so that others could see our authenticity. Authenticity?
What does that really even mean anyway?
I remember doing a study with my daughter and we looked up the word authenticity: This is what we found Authenticity: loyalty, faithfulness, sincerity, devotion, honesty, steadfastness, fidelity, safety, security. reliable, firm, unimpeachable, real, not copied or duplicated. Now that’s a pretty amazing word isn’t it? Wow! I want to be authentic!!!
We had such a special time that day and prayed that God would help us walk in authenticity! Not walking in fear, but in confidence of who we were! We even wrote out the definition and put it up to see.
Then all of the sudden, waiting for my juice...I realized how the enemy uses such trivial things to trip us up, to lose sight of the authenticity God wants us to walk in. The enemy is always there with a counterfeit lie to cause us confusion. Have you ever listened to those lies? “You are not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not thin enough, not spiritual enough, just not enough!” Oh I have! There are days I wake up and it’s roaring like a lion in my ears! But always behind those roars, is that still small voice of the Holy Spirit reminding me of my authenticity. Who I am in Him! Will I listen to the roars? Or will I listen to the still small voice?
I began to chuckle as I stood in line....how funny was this!!!! I was listening to the roars that something was wrong with me, when I knew who I was....why fear? What would the authentic Lisa do? I would go out there, say hello to that table of laughing people, and be friendly! Seriously? Yep, that’s what I would do. Easier said than done right?
I proceeded to get my juice, and also bought some gluten free cookies on the way out. I was my authentic self by golly and I was on a mission! I went out the same door I came in and there they were, still at their table....the laughing ladies! Oh my. I walked over (yes, feeling my heartbeat in my nostrils still) and placed the cookies on the table. A look of surprise came over their faces, as I said “hello!” I asked them if they would like some cookies with their coffee, and they were delighted! Was this the same table of people? Yes, it was! I struck up a conversation with them and come to find out, they were there meeting about gluten free recipes, and food! NO WAY! They all get together every now and then to support each other. If you know my story, you know I have to eat gluten free because of celiacs disease, and so does my son. I had just said recently to a friend of mine....”I just need help! I don’t know how to be creative with all of this gluten free cooking!” And there before me were piles of recipes and friends to help me! I am so glad I did not miss this opportunity!
And for you who are wondering why they were laughing at me....I asked them that very question! You know what is funny? They were not laughing at me at all! They were telling funny stories and didn’t even know they had pointed or laughed! Really? I bought into the lie I was the brunt of their jokes? They thought it was so funny that I thought they were laughing at me! Wow! I was about to put on my mask and hide, feeling rejected. I am so thankful I threw the mask to the wind and grabbed the gluten free cookies instead! Thank you still small voice....you have never failed me!
I realize more than ever that God has His hand on me every second. He wants to answer my prayers! It is my choice, and my will that many time divert His will. It is my choice to listen to the lies, or listen to the truth. It is my choice to leave the mask at home, or take it with me. Better yet, not even own one!
Have you ever worn a real mask before? It is hot, it gets smelly in there after awhile, and it’s not comfortable. Kind of like wearing the mask of someone you really are not. It’s a smelly, uncomfortable process after awhile! One of my favorite quotes is from Rick Warren: “The most exhausting activity is pretending. Faking is fatiguing. Duplicity creates anxiety. Wearing a mask wears you out.”
Authenticity! That has become my new favorite word! There’s such freedom in being authentic! I want it to become a part of who I am. Oh the wonderful things that await when the mask is taken off! I hope you will walk with me in this process, and love who you are! God sure does! In fact He is up there dancing over you with singing at the very thought of you! (Zeph. 3:17) That just makes me want to dance a jig! A mask free jig! Care to join me?