How do you be yourself in a world who continually asks, no demands, you to play different roles, like a masquerade party where you are incessantly changing costumes? But this party isn’t fun. Well, it’s a little fun at first. We get to reinvent ourselves, keep some level of intrigue going on, hide behind beautiful masks leaving the less appealing parts undiscovered. The fun dies down after a while, and it just gets exhausting. At some point, we just want to throw all the costumes into a fire in protest and watch the pretense and falseness burn away into the night, never to return.
I love the sound of being authentic. It sounds so poetic and liberating. Being myself is poetic in some ways. But in other ways, it’s grueling and even ugly. My true voice in one moment may be saying something very evolved and elegant, like, “It is good for the soul to be so alive and to know it is loved.” In another moment my true voice may be saying something very vulgar, like, “This life sucks. I’m so done with it all.” Instead of a poem my true voice sounds more like a scratchy record sending out songs of mixed messages.
Today, being myself looks like unhooking from the contrasting emotions that authentic living permits into one’s heart. I’m tired of the highs and the lows, the gratitude and the greediness, the trust and the anxiety, the peace and the angst, the feeling that I am loved and the feeling that I am nothing. My emotions insist on bouncing around like ping pong balls in my psyche. Trying to find stillness in the midst of unending motion seems to be futile.
Today, being myself is allowing my mind to be numb. It may not be healthy or good, but it is where I am at. If I am going to make it all the way Home without locking up the parts of me I don’t want the world to see, or Jesus to see, I am going to need breaks. Being numb is my break.
I pray through the aching tiredness of my spirit, “Lord, please don’t be disappointed with me for being numb.” I hear him say,
“Don’t worry, I am with you, even in the numbness. And I will be with you, when you are ready to feel again.”
Such a simple message, but one that carries me to a profound place. I am not perfect. I am not the poster child for emotional health and pure authentic living. I am the poster child for knowing less than I did ten years ago, and for finally realizing how many masks I wear…all the time. The further I go into this deep place with the Good Shepherd who leads me there, the more aware I am of how patient and kind He is.
In the tears, he says, “I am with you.”
In the laughter, he says, “I am with you.”
In the numbness, he says, “I am with you.”
Being myself is allowing my heart to believe that the me behind all the masks is the me that God is seeking out. As I remove the masks, I may lose value in the world’s eyes, but my worth grows ever fiercer in God’s eyes. I may be more boring than I thought I was, wearing nothing that sparkles or shines. I may be needier than I thought I was, wearing nothing that covers the shame and nakedness. I may be more afraid than I thought I was, wearing no armor around my internal world. But the one thing that will remain clear even after it is all exposed, is that God was with me the whole time, waiting for me to only believe it.