This past weekend was the annual women’s retreat in Enid hosted by Heartland Women’s Ministries. The theme centered on becoming “unmasked.”
Carol Sallee, known in Enid for speaking during the abstinence tea events for middle school girls in connection with Hope Outreach, was the keynote speaker for the women’s retreat.
Her focus: We were not created to hide, to mask, to cover ourselves from the Truth. We were meant from the beginning to be open, transparent and honest with God and with others.
Since Eve in the garden (Genesis 2) we as women have been “masking” ourselves and putting on a brave face or a happy face so as to please others, to hide shame and guilt, to keep others from knowing how we really feel.
Women featured in the Old Testament and the New Testament wore their own masks, from Sarai and Hagar, Leah and Rachel, Rahab, Naomi, Martha, the woman at the well, the woman with the blood condition and the list goes on.
Sallee relayed to the audience the true meaning of “hypocrite” was a person who played a part behind the mask in Greek theatre. We all may wear a mask, or many masks in some cases, depending on whom we’re around because we are trying to play a role.
But if we’re going to be real with God, others and ourselves, we’ve got to rip off those masks. The moment Jesus called out your name and brought you forth from your darkness into His light, He showed you that you could remove that mask shrouding you from seeing the Truth.
Of course, nobody’s perfect. Even if we know Jesus personally, we will keep trying to put those masks back on. It feels safe and comfortable. Why do you think Halloween is so popular? You can pretend to be someone else for a while and no one takes offense.
Sallee’s point was God really wants us to be transparent on the inside, not the outside. She referred to the retreat’s signature verse in Romans 12:2: “Be not conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
The hope here is we are a work in progress as we walk with God on a daily basis (Philippians 1:6). The closer we get to Him, the more unveiled we become. It’s a natural progression: The more filled up with Him we are, the more His life shines through and overflows. We can’t help but be honest and transparent.
I will always remember a statement made by my pastor, “Intimacy: Into me you see.” Only when we have this type of openness with the Lord can we truly be unmasked. The same goes for our relationships with our spouses, our families, our co-workers, our friends, even our enemies.
I personally think the lyrics of Sara Bareilles’ song “Brave” sum it up:
“Everybody’s been there,/Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy/Fallen for the fear/And done some disappearing,/Bow down to the mighty/Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue
“Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live/Maybe one of these days you can let the light in/Show me how big your brave is.
“Say what you wanna say/And let the words fall out/Honestly I wanna see you be brave/With what you want to say/And let the words fall out/Honestly I wanna see you be brave.
“And since your history of silence/Won’t do you any good,/Did you think it would?/Let your words be anything but empty/Why don’t you tell them the truth?”
Contact Ruth Ann Replogle at www.facebook.com/JustHoldOnRR or firstname.lastname@example.org