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“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women, merely players.” -William Shakespeare

Is it human nature to hide ourselves behind masks? To walk through life living up to what others think of us; never showing who we really are? Are we truly free in a world of stereotypes or do we find ourselves playing dress up in a masquerade ball?

Masquerades- the popular European pastime in which people dress up in costumes and mask creating a quest to unveil participates identities while sustaining their own. Figuratively in life we all wear masks. It is in our nature to show the better part of us; disguising our flaws, mistakes, and past. We rush to cover up any unappealing qualities, ashamed of what we truly look like exposed. From the beginning of time mankind as been following the example of the very first man and woman; Adam and Eve. God created a beautiful paradise for them to live in, giving them only one command, to not eat of “The Tree of Good and Evil.” They disobeyed God and became aware of their nakedness and covered their bodies and hid from God. Adam and Eve were then cursed by their sin, no longer comfortable before their Creator. To this day, we continue to walk through life somewhat uncomfortable in our own skin, afraid to show who we truly are in fear of what others might think.

Looking beautiful, being smart, having personality, becoming successful, are all common characteristics that people in every walk of life pursue to obtain. We care about what people say about us, the way they look at us, and how we our treated. In fact, every glance, word, and perception becomes important in how we perceive ourselves. How can we become our true selves when we are only concerned with the thoughts of others?

What defines who you are? Think about it. Society? Culture? Religion? Family? Peers? If you don’t know who you are, you have become lost behind the mask that you have created for yourself; playing dress up in the stereotype that you have chosen. Eventually, the life that you have settled for is a life that you did not bargain for. In your search to escape the masquerade ball you continue to dress up in different layers to disguise your shame in clothes like: sex, lies, drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, depression, crime, or hate. You bare the weight of the costume you wear and somehow in the process of hiding, Satan himself stole your soul.

The Bible calls Satan a thief whose only desires is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). The worst part about Satan’s strategy is that he uses our fears against us. Instead of facing our struggles and insecurities we end up masking them. However, in the face of death, loss, and destruction there is hope. The story does not end there! The Bible verse continues with God promising to come and bring life and bring it to the fullest.

We are not able to live out our destinies if we do not live in the purpose that God created. Find the courage to trade appearances for authenticity. Trying to hold up to the expectations of the world is impossible, but God knows the true destiny for your life. God tells us, “I know the plans that I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).” God has plans for your life and if you hide from them you will never witness the greatness that He has in store for you. He desires you to come as you are; placing down the mask and becoming transparent before Him. It is then in His strength that we define ourselves, no longer identified by the mask that we once wore but in the freedom of who we were designed to be.

Stephanie L. Grider

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