Unmasked

Hello, fall and hello, Halloween. Well, almost. Texas weather often makes fall a continuation of summer; but the change in Starbucks drinks, pumpkins in stores, and the color change on trees tells me it’s coming. It’s almost here.

Though my mom hates the color orange, she loves fall. Go figure. So we decorated heavily for this season growing up. At one point we even made a scarecrow from things we had lying around the house and called him Thanky. He is a bit worn now and so has been given a prime sentry position in the backyard where he governs the happenings of the alley from his chair.

Fall is also a time for masquerades. Growing up, I spent almost every Halloween at our church’s fall festival. I dressed up as Mary, Belle, and a scarecrow over the years, just to name a few. Dressing as something else is often empowering, don’t you think? No limitations, no expectations. You can be whoever and whatever you want to be, if only for a night. The insecurities and responsibilities you tend to carry temporarily fall away as you don the life of someone you’re not.

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People come out of their shells on Halloween. Or rather, they jump out of theirs and into someone else’s. And it’s always fascinated me. Unfortunately, dressing in costume isn’t really my thing. Rather than feeling empowered, I usually feel like a fish out of water. I’m much more comfortable in my own skin. Most of the time. Except when I’m not. Which is also most of the time. Man, that hits at satisfaction, doesn’t it? Always craving more. Always wanting to be someone we aren’t and then realizing that even that reality doesn’t satisfy. It just provides escape.

Too often I find myself focusing on my diet and exercise routine, expanding my thoughts with books, building my connections and relationships, shopping for clothes that make me feel more confident. And at the end of the day, I fall in bed exhausted and realize I missed what mattered most – character building with Jesus.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

When Halloween is over and the costumes have made it back in the closet, will I confidently slip back into my skin because I remember who I am and whose I am? My prayer is that I will stand before the Lord someday, confident that I spent more time pursuing Christ-like character than pursuing masks that provided temporary satisfaction. Either way, the Lord sees me as I am – unmasked when I come before Him. As vulnerable as that state is, I want to be comfortable there because He wants to make me a better version of that unmasked character. He is in the business of removing my masks and costumes to refine me.

About the Writer:
Kariss Lynch writes contemporary fiction about characters with big dreams, hearts for adventure, and enduring hope. Shaken, her first book in the Heart of a Warrior series, released in February 2014. Her second novel, Shadowed, releases March 3, 2015. A former freelance writer, she now works as the writer for the communications ministry at a church in Dallas.

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