We all have a tendency to wear a mask. There is a need to hide who we really are. Maybe we have been badly hurt by someone we trusted in the past. Or perhaps we’ve been told at some point we were no good. Whatever the reason, we put on a mask to try and fit in and make ourselves acceptable or protect ourselves from further hurt.
As we hide our innermost self from others, we can end up hiding even from our own self.
Taking off the Mask by Claire Musters is a helpful new book dealing with this whole area of hiding who we are from others and ourselves. Claire talks openly and honestly about serious problems in her marriage and church life that arose because of wearing a mask and were made worse by continuing to wear it. Only when she was prepared to let the mask drop and face who she really was could she experience freedom to be the beautiful woman God made her to be.
We need to realise that it is what God thinks of us and says about us that is important, not what others think and say, or even what we think about ourselves. Our own thought lives are often so damaging to us and are indicative of deep pain hidden inside, keeping us trapped behind a mask.
Claire opens the book with her own story before, in subsequent chapters, taking the reader gently step-by-step through a process of learning to see where and in front of whom we hide ourselves and how to work through that to freedom. At the end of each chapter are searching questions designed to help the reader gain insight and benefit from working through the book. It would be possible to read and work through this on your own, though probably better with a trusted friend or counsellor.
I found it helpful to journal my way through the book by making a note of particular points that spoke to me:
…too often we can act out a part that we believe is expected of us, rather than truly living in the freedom that God’s love brings.
He [God] delights in us and wants us to enjoy the experience of being ourselves, and yet so often we can be trapped in an unnecessary cycle of pretence.
Let go of the fig leaves of shame and guilt. Accept God’s covering of forgiveness and righteousness.
We need to learn to stop looking to others for validation, and spend more time gazing on our Father’s face.
…sometimes we …can look at the difficult circumstances we are in and allow them to colour our view of God and ourselves.
The adventure of embracing all that He [God] has called me to is really liberating.
I have given Taking off the Mask 4* on Amazon. I was provided with a free copy for the purpose of writing an unbiased review for the book’s launch today.