The Roles We Play, The Masks We Wear

2 Mar

We all have roles we play, such as:  husband or wife or single person, mother or father, brother or sister, employee or employer, manager or subordinate, being a friend or befriending someone, caring for sick family members.  These roles are important for our personal survival and to the community as a whole.  We need to play these roles for our free society to function.  We need to be responsible for our roles in life or the community around us breaks down.

But we all wear masks also.  Are masks always bad?  Possibly, but sometimes they allow us to function within our various roles, though not perfectly.  There is the victim mask – I am weak, help me and don’t hurt me, I can’t do it myself.  There is the “macho” mask – I don’t need “nobody”, I can do this myself, I am an island.  There is the Romeo (arrogant) mask – I’m hot and I know it, you are privileged to know me, I can and will take advantage of you.  There is the brave front mask – I am hurting inside either mentally, emotionally, or physically but nobody will see my hurts.  But are these masks helpful in our roles as people who don’t operate in a vacuum but operate in families and various communities?  If we remain on the surface in our lives and relationships, the masks help us get through life though but only in a shallow, non-effective way.

Gary in an “old man” mask

There is a better way forward, though.  It is the way of transparency, of dealing honestly with our emotions, our desires, our hopes and dreams.  2 Corinthians 10: 12: “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves.  When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”  In verse 18 Paul says:  “For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”  And Romans 12:3 says:  “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you:  Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

Maybe the key to a proper view of roles and masks is to “think of yourself with sober judgment” according to your faith.  If we compare ourselves with ourselves our perspective will probably be very cloudy out of focus and wrong.  We will be puffed up with pride or ashamed because of past darkness’s.  I believe a proper view of ourselves is found by looking at Christ’s actions and words when he was here on Earth and His view of us now.  As a believer, saved by His sacrifice for me on the cross, I am forgiven.  Clean.  Pure.  Jesus has a place for me in heaven not because of what I have done, but what He did.

So, a proper view of myself involves seeing me through Jesus’s eyes, taking stock of the gifts He has given and also the limitations He has allowed and push forward in life, depending on God for strength.  I may be looking at an out of focus future because of Parkinson’s Disease, but with God there is hope.  Am I am being as transparent as possible with those around me in the various communities where I live out my life; whether my family, work, friends or church groups?  Transparency will yield satisfying and eternal results in all my roles.  Masks aren’t necessary with the this prescription enriching our lives.

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