Masks off

“Wow, you really have your life together for being 27,” my administrative pastor told me during our first official meeting last year. I had gone into the appointment with the intent to discuss the church’s social media strategy and see if I’d be a good fit for the social media team.

I had my credentials memorized and specific ways I could help them. It was a volunteer gig, but I was new to the church, so this was important to me.

Thanking him, I brushed off the compliment outwardly.

But inwardly, I knew the truth. I was running late to the meeting and had my heart set on getting a smoothie beforehand. With my sugar dropping, I realized I wouldn’t make it in time if I stopped. Smoothie-less, I pulled up to the church and could not figure out how to get in … or which of the 27 doors to use.

I erupted in hungry, frustrated tears, before pulling myself together and calling someone to let me in.

But, to his eyes, I had it all together. Because that is the vibe I work hard at giving off – a young lady with a plan and a fire resumé to recommend her.

I recently moved into the basement of my senior pastor’s family home for a short transitional period. These people loved me, but I knew that there was a lot they didn’t know about me. This last week, though, I began to realize that I can leave here this fall with a savings account due to the discounted rent and a better idea of what a two-parent, ministry home looks like.

Or I could leave their home strengthened spiritually and set up to thrive.

But to do the latter, I’d have to be vulnerable, and from my perspective, I’d have to obliterate the Myriah this family knew and loved.

That was a high price for me, so I waited and considered my options.

Would they still love me after I took off my carefully curated mask?

Would they still be so supportive of my ministry/calling/career?

Would they be scared if I ugly cried in front of them?

All my insecurities surrounded me as I texted and asked if we could sit down and talk.

And, you know what? All those insecurities were lies from the enemy. As I poured out my heart, I felt loved, understood, supported, and cared for.

I felt overwhelming acceptance.

The next day, I walked upstairs after work needing to unload from my day. And they listened and gave me advice, with the exact same amount of respect they had before. My vulnerability hadn’t changed me in their eyes. I think it just made them care more.

I realized what was holding me back from genuine community was pride. And that makes God’s list of most detestable sins multiple times (see Isa. 2:12; James 6:4; Prov. 8:13, 16:5). Confessing and forsaking that was my first step.

We’re all at the point in this pandemic where we’re sick of masks, whether we’re for them or against them. This mask though – the polished Christian seeking people’s approval – is one God has called us to remove (Gal. 5:16).

Wouldn’t it just be so nice if we could find safe spaces to remove these spiritual masks?

Myriah Snyder is a regular contributor to The Scroll. She’s the associate editor of The Christian Index, the newsjournal of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board. Snyder is a two-time graduate of the University of the Cumberlands and a member of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga.


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