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Today’s Truth

Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16, NIV).

Friend to Friend

Just keep it together until after Bible study.

I begged my tears to stay put as I drove down the road toward my summer women’s Bible study group. For many summers, our group met at a friend’s house around her pond to study and pray together while our kids laughed and splashed in the pond.

On that particular day, I had my very first counseling appointment scheduled right after the Bible study. Everything about me teetered on a razor thin edge, but, I didn’t want anyone to know that I needed help.

As far as rest of the world was concerned, I was a good mom who was extra attentive to her kids. No one saw the complex mental gymnastics that I did each day to control everything at home, keep it together at work and most of all, never let anyone see me sweat. I knew that if I allowed even one crack in the perfect mask that I’d created, my entire persona would come crumbling down.

When I arrived at Bible study, I got out of the car and slipped my sunglasses over my reddening eyes. Bless the sun! We opened our Bibles and talked politely about polite things until one friend burst into tears and cried out: “I can’t take it anymore.”

This was one of the most admired women in our church and she began spilling the difficult details of her life.

There was something about the eruption of her pain that pushed me over the edge. Before I could stop the tears, they flooded down from behind my sunglasses.

What happened next changed my life for the better.

On that day, I became real.

My perfectionism mask cracked and crumbled off as I talked about my out of control anxiety and parenting failures. I felt so raw and expose, terrified of what the other women would think. Yet, these godly women drew near and prayed over me as my friend and I wept out years of tears.

When we wear a mask covering up our imperfections, that mask suffocates us even as the weight of our sin crushes us. Taking off our mask with and sharing our struggles or sin is how God begins our healing process within.

This is why the pastor James teaches us to “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. …” (James 5:16)

There are three important lessons in this one verse:

  1. Our sin makes us sick, emotionally, physically and spiritually (see James 5:15).
  2. Carrying our sin in secret keeps us far away from healing.
  3. James addresses this teaching to believers, so it’s wise to prioritize confessing our sin and struggles to other trusted believers.

Our realness drew us closer together as a group. We stopped showing up with our Sunday smiles and our study times became richer. Our prayers for each other during and after the groups became more real because we took off our masks.

It’s scary speaking up, but your spiritual, emotional and even physical healing is worth it! Satan wants you to keep your sin or struggles a secret so that he can suffocate you with shame. Over the years, I’ve found trusted voices in Christian counseling, my women’s groups, an accountability partner, a family addiction recovery group and a few trusted Christian friends.

Have you taken off your mask and shared your struggles with a trusted Christian friend? What advice do you have for women who need to take that courageous step today?

Let’s Pray

Dear God, I want to be real. I am tired of pretended that I have it all together or that certain problems aren’t a part of my life. Give me the courage to talk with the trusted voices in my life and tell them the truth. I want to experience the life-giving hope, peace and freedom that comes from confession my sins to both You and others.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

  • What is it that you are hiding from others because you want them to see you all shiny and put together?
  • Is your desire to be perfect keeping you from experience the precious promise of freedom in Christ?

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s content is from Barb’s new devotional book, Surrendered: 40 Days to Help You Let Go and Live Like Jesus. This 40-day devotional invites you to let go of trying to control others or outcomes and learn how to live like Jesus. It’s like a spiritual coffee break that infuses you with scripture, reflection questions and practical tools to apply to your life.

 

© 2020 by Barb Roose. All rights reserved.

34 Responses to “Taking Off Our Masks”

  1. Sherri says:

    I don’t think now is the time to start ANY devotion with” take off the mask… “While I really appreciate the devotion itself, I think we need to not become tone deaf to what is going on in our world right now… Thanks

  2. Shay says:

    Thank you for this! I’ve struggled with the thought of getting a counselor as I have always been the counselor! This year because of all that is happening in the world, it really had a toll on my world! I became a caregiver for others and if I’m honest I just continued to put on the emotional mask! When I needed help, I wore the mask and pretended I wasn’t struggling… perfectionist! Stretched was an understatement! On top of that, I was always fearful of hurting the feelings of others so I would never express myself! Behind close doors, I was breaking down, crying non-stop, questioned my purpose but would always put on my mask to cover up that I was a emotionally wreck that week and continued saying yes to every request. Having our masks off, is in no way implying that we are not taking into consideration what is taking place in this world, as it is important! It wasn’t until I was honest with God and close friends that I was able to grow and heal! I confessed I wasn’t perfect and struggled with confrontation!

    14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land”. -2 Chronicles 7:14

    As believers are healed our world is healed! Being emotionally drained, clogs up how we can be a source of pouring encouragement to a world that NEEDS it! Having a counselor doesn’t mean that I’m weak, don’t trust God, nor does it imply that I don’t have faith! But my God, my close friends and being a caregiver has showed me that I have blind spots! Even leaders, ministers, world changers …. have blind spots! So I will boast in my weakness, for when I am weak, God is strong! Thank you for this! Happy Friday!

    • Barb Roose says:

      Shay, you preached it! Thank you for being real with us and sharing your story – and most of all your willingness to let go of wearing your mask and sharing your struggles with trusted Christian friends. You’ve inspired us today!

  3. Tina says:

    Personally, I really enjoyed this devotional this morning! I needed to hear this and it really spoke to my heart this morning. I think most of us would like to think that our friends see us as shiny and put together; that is why we only highlight the good on our social media. love, love, love this!

    And as for the first comment, if she is in fact serious, she has taken this devotional title a little too literal!

    • Barb Roose says:

      I’m so glad that you enjoyed today’s devotional, Tina. Thank you for joining me over here at GiG. You’re so right! We like for everyone to think that we’ve got our “Sunday Smiles” on all of the time, but we’re struggling with something and we should love and support each other through it.

  4. Tammy says:

    Well Sherri, this title caught my attention, as I am sure it was intended. I am sure the writer was not indicating taking off your mask of protection. I work in healthcare and wear a mask daily, so I understand the importance of them more than most. I felt the devotion was well written, and hope more people read it because of the title!

  5. carol says:

    Barb,
    Once again you’ve hit me were I been struggling, this week.
    Anxiety. There I said it. I thought I had gotten over this thing; I guess I never looked at this, from the perspective of asking God to forgive me for it!
    I know the deceiver, uses discouragement and worry to separate us from His protection and love.
    Bless you today.

    • Barb Roose says:

      You did it, Carol! I am standing and cheering for you. It takes courageous to be speak up and out about what’s hard and you did it! I’m praying God’s freedom and blessing over you. Thank you for connecting with me today.

  6. Sylvia Mae says:

    There’s so much truth within this devotional. However, you lost me at calling struggling as ‘sin’. It’s not sin that keeps our masks on, it’s fear of rejection, becoming vulnerable and shame. Those aren’t sinful, it’s being human. Taking off our masks takes courage, not shaming. When we open our hearts, even within a group of followers of Christ, the raw truth isn’t always welcomed. As a matter of fact people often run, not walk, away while jumping back into their own safe bubble. Try sharing about a loved one who is suicidal and you need the body of Christ to reach in. The room swiftly clears after a prayer or two, time after time. It’s time we allow Christ to remove the scales from our eyes and open our hearts to compassion & the truth

    • Barb Roose says:

      Thank you for stopping by GiG today, Sylivia Mae! I think that we’re on the same page – I agree with you that struggling isn’t always the same as sinning. I join in praying that we can be courageous and be real with each other and that other Christians are willing to stand with us and pray for us in our struggling seasons.

  7. Nancy says:

    Barb, Thank you so much for this beautiful devotion. I had just written in my prayer journal about NOT being transparent with my gynecologist yesterday in my physical exam. Yes, depression is hidden so much behind “my mask” and I don’t have ANYONE but Jesus that knows how I suffer through it all. Our “MASKS” we all wear have been around forever and I think so many people are incredibly “prickly” now about everything. We all know that Barb meant well with her words “Taking Off Our Masks” and those that may be offended by her choice of words perhaps should think about the MASK they are hiding behind themselves. Thank YOU LORD for using Barb’s words to minister to me this morning.

    • Barb Roose says:

      Nancy, you are an encouragement to others! I’m sure that there are many women who are thankful that you were courageous enough to admit how hard it is to take off our emotional masks. I’m so glad that today’s post was a blessing to you and I pray that you allow God to surround you with the support and love that you need to take care of yourself.

  8. Wanda says:

    THANK YOU BARB, I WISH I HAD READ THIS YEARS AGO. DUE TO MAJOR SINS AND POOR CHOICES I MADE AS A TEEN AND YOUNG ADULT I HAVE SPENT MOST OF MY CHRISTIAN LIFE TRYING TO PROVE TO EVERYONE THAT I REALLY AM A CHRISTIAN– TO THE POINT OF MY OWN EMOTIONAL DEMISE. I AM BETTER NOW BUT I STILL STRUGGLE WITH THIS. PLEASE PRAY FOR ME AND THANK YOU –THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS!!!!!

  9. Nancy says:

    Thank You Barb for sharing such a great devotion! I think we are all living in a very “prickly” world where so many are easily offended. We all need to pray for each other in Love, in the Love and Peace of Jesus. I think if anyone is offended by the words “Take Off Your Masks” in the context you wrote the devotion, they may be hiding behind their own mask! I know your message hit me on the head because I do wear a mask all the time – behind depression and this and that……THANK YOU for your brave analogy of “Taking Off Our Masks” – I am sure many women are blessed as I was with your heartfelt devotion!

    • Barb Roose says:

      Thank you, Nancy! I recognize that there are a lot of strong feelings and sensitive hearts around so many things these days. Life is really hard, so all the more reasons that we want to be real with our trusted Christian friends about what we’re going through.

  10. Beverley says:

    Thank you for this devotional, Barb. I have learned that hard lesson too and am so much happier being real. I find that I can make close friends who’re real too, and that makes the friendship so much deeper. I loved the metaphor and thought it was so appropriate for the times we’re experiencing right now. Thank you.

  11. Janice says:

    Loved this devotion and how REAL it reminds me to be with my trusted Christian friends. Thank you for sharing your heart like this so that it helps other women share their own.

    And agree that surely everyone should realize this title was a METAPHOR relating to our current mask requirements during this pandemic.

  12. Melinda Southard says:

    I wish I thought I could really open up but my problems were identified by one lady at a retreat as being “too raw,” and therefore maybe not ready to be shared as they would overwhelm the group. I came home feeling very defeated. It seems that some things are acceptable to share and others are not so much. My husband, who was a successful airline pilot and businessman, had a failed business was indicted on fraud charges and put into prison (plea bargaining to avoid a jury trial that might have given him more time) and while he was in prison my Duke graduate adult son, hooked on cocaine, committed suicide. No one wants to hear these things it seems; it’s too much for them to handle. I have been in therapy, GriefShare etc. and tried to handle it myself except for some close friends who have been there for me. So I still wear my mask. Even once when someone asked Nancy Reagan how she was doing after Ronald died, she replied that she didn’t talk about it; that people didn’t want to hear it or talk about it.

    • Barb Roose says:

      Melinda, I’m so sorry that you felt rejected by that careless comment and for the tremendous pain that you’ve experienced with your husband and heartbreaking loss of your son. You’ve been heard, seen and loved here today. While you haven’t experienced the kind of love and support that you’ve needed, don’t give up hope on finding those trusted voices that God will send you.

  13. Sherri says:

    Thank you for being gracious to my response Barb…. There has been so much division amongst believers in regards to the whole mask debate…. and to be honest, this mama’s heart is weary and grieved from ALL the things that seem to divide our nation right now…. If it’s not one thing it’s another …. hence, my reaction to your title … we can learn so much from each other… thank you for the devotion- from a woman in progress

  14. Monica says:

    Thank you Barb for a great devotional that has sparked so much reaction. I am in my early 50’s, and a few of the blessings of getting older is that my filter has deteriorated, my figurative mask is wearing away and I am learning to develop a greater tolerance for respecting all opinions as I don’t know the path the author of those opinions has walked. One of the greatest virtues is vulnerability, as by revealing one’s true self it opens the door for healing, love, acceptance and peace. Being real and relatable is infectious in a positive way. Don’t expect pity and sympathy when you share these truths in a group of supportive women who struggle themselves but do expect empathy, support and encouragement. Thank God he has chosen us, and when we truly surrender what’s on our plate to him in prayer we can experience a joy and peace in very trying circumstances.

  15. Susan says:

    Today was crazy and I just now read my daily devotion from GiG. Your words are so right, in so many ways. My story is short. I have a ‘tribe’ of young women who I share my time with. One came by today to ‘talk story’, as we say in Hawaii. Somehow we ended up talking about our hearts. All of these women think I’m amazing, but I told my friend that I’m not. After some discussion, I told her I feel like I’m a fake. I’ve shared that with my husband and my counselor only. She was blown away. As I told her this, I reminded her that it’s only by God’s grace that I have finally come to terms with myself. She opened up and began asking me questions about God, heaven, acceptance and faith. My sharing the frailty of my life opened the conversation to teaching of Jesus. What a gift. So, as you can see, as we drop our masks we open the way for the Light.
    Thank you for your thoughtful and conversation provoking devotion. God bless.

    • Barb Roose says:

      Susan, that’s so powerful! Thank you for being vulnerable with us and showing how God can use us as lights for Christ when we’re real with the people around us. Blessings to you!

  16. Diane says:

    Thanks Barb for being real and helping many other sisters in the Lord struggling in loneliness and the agony of self-condemnation. Thank God our Heavenly Father sees us with loving eyes!

    Melinda, the key as Barb spoke is “trusted voices.”
    Monica, I couldn’t have said it better, you expressed my sentiments at this conjure of my Christian walk!

    God’s love my sisters . . . ❤️

  17. Bernadette says:

    I always say I am an open book, boy was I wrong. I recently started having panic attacks and I felt as if I was a burden to my eldest daughter but she was there walking me through when I had my first panic attack. I felt as though I had to be this strong mom for my kids but I realised it is ok not to have everything together all the time.
    Thank you for this devotion

  18. Lynn says:

    The truth is I don’t have any one I can cry with. I am alone muddling through everything. I cry out to God. I know He hears me, but to quickly text a friend to pray for me, etc, it’s not there.

    • Barb Roose says:

      Precious Lynn, thank you for sharing your tender heart with us. While we’re not there to physically wrap our arms around you, we see you and God sees you. You are loved and treasured. I praying for God to send you the hands-on love and support thank you need. Is there anything else that I can pray for?

  19. Tammy says:

    Thank you for you devotion today! I have felt the struggle of breaking inside and not letting the tears fall. The words spoke to me as I wear a mask at work and then take it off at home and often take my struggles out on my family, when I should take them to God and to others I know can pray with me and for me! Thank you!

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8