I've been thinking about this for a long time, but it bubbled to the top again earlier this week when I heard Real Me by The Who on the radio. I'll skip explaining the story of the song because it is really not all that important to what I'm thinking about. But it ends:
Can you see the real me, preacher?
Can you see the real me, doctor?
Can you see the real me, mother?
Can you see the real me?
Between that and Halloween coming up, I started thinking again about how much time and effort people put into hiding who they really are and to trying to convince people that they are somebody different. How, to at least some extent, we all wear masks, all the time.
Even though I certainly do it, I'm not entirely sure why I do it. Sure, sometimes I have to seem tougher, so I try to hide my weaknesses. Sometimes I have to be more brave, so I try to hide my fears. Sometimes I have to be more confident and certain, so I hide my questions and doubts. All of that I understand at some level, and it makes at least some sense.
But, I think about what else I may hide and why. Do my co-workers know how important my faith is to me? Do my friends know how important my family is to me? I once heard someone phrase it along the lines of: "Would your friends laugh if I asked them if you were a Christian?" I wrote here a while ago about figuring out who you really are. What I am writing about today is whether I let people see the real me?? If not, and I think that is the case to at least some extent, why not? I pray each day that I will live and act in way that people can see the love of God in me and through me, but then I probably consciously or sub-consciously try to hide it.
The following verse seems appropriate:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (NIV)
For what I am thinking about and writing about today, though, I really love this version of the same passage:
Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Galatians 2:20 (The Message)
So, as we come up on Halloween, I am going to try to use the masks that I see as a reminder to ask myself whether I am letting people see the real me. And, if not, to ask myself why.
Have a great weekend!