My mask had become so much a part of my identity, I didn’t know who I was without it. The little girl from my childhood polaroids – quiet, confident, fearless – had been lost to an anxious, insecure shell.
Before you continue, if you haven’t read Part 1, you’ll want to do so. It will give you context to what I share next.
Step by Step
First, God nudged me to wear my hair curly, not because straight hair was somehow wrong. But He knew my motives. He knew I wore it straight because I hated my curls, the curls He had chosen for me when He created me. He knew the hours I wasted in front of the mirror, attempting to erase any sign of the woman He designed in order to be who the world would accept.
God is patient and kind. He knew I wouldn’t change overnight. I would require time and space to learn how to style my hair and embrace my curls again. Looking back, I was learning to trust God and walk in obedience just as much as I was learning which curly products to buy.
An Invitation to Freedom
After a couple of years, God knew I was ready to take the final step. I’d grown to not only embrace my curls, but love them. I was proud to be a curly girl, something I hadn’t been since I was in elementary school.
But God wasn’t done. My hair was only half of what I’d grown to hate…and hide.
I’ll never forget the day. I’d spent weeks internally wrestling, unaware of the source of my daily anxiety and angst. I was in the bathtub (where God and I have a lot of our chats), when I was suddenly confronted with the fact. I was at a crossroads.
As I lay there, surrounded by bubbles and eucalyptus, I knew I had a decision to make. Either I could continue living a lie behind the mask I’d created OR I could fully embrace the women God had created. Although God was giving me the option, I knew I didn’t have a choice. I’d spent over 25 years hiding in plain sight. I desperately wanted to accept His invitation. But I also knew the price I would pay.
Shattered: Letting My Mask Completely Fall
I knew the price because I’d paid it before. There would be comments and questions. It would be lonely. I would be misunderstood and dismissed. A sacrifice would have to be made. But one already had been. I wasn’t ready. I was petrified at the thought of facing my biggest fear, being seen. But I knew I couldn’t go on living like this anymore. I’d been learning to walk in obedience. How could I say no to what God was asking of me?
With tears streaming down my face and sobs shaking my body, I drew a line in the sand. That was the day, I stopped hiding. I had no idea how to move forward, but God did. Just as before, He guided me one day, one step at a time. He surrounded me with new people who understood and guided me as I rediscovered the little girl from the photos. My kids have gotten to watch their mom embrace who she is and in turn, champion them to do that same. After years of being my biggest cheerleader, my husband finally gets to watch his wife enjoy life in a way she hasn’t since childhood.
At times, I fail to see just how far I’ve come. But a picture says a thousand words. When I compare these two, it’s like looking at two different people. Both are smiling, but one is trapped while the other is free!
And me…well, God has given me more than I could have imagined.
He’s changed my perspective. Now I’m able to see myself as he does: chosen, loved, forgiven, redeemed, seen, known. Other’s opinions no longer hold me captive.
He’s changed my heart. I’m no longer ashamed of my diversity. Now, I see it as a beautiful gift. It has given me a deep compassion and empathy for other people of color.
He called me to something new. I believe God will use my story for His glory. Before, I was content to fit in a box given to me. Now I’m excited to fulfill the plan God has for my life and help others see themselves as God does.
I know God isn’t done molding & shaping me. He won’t be until the day He calls me home. But until then, I choose to walk in confidence, embracing the woman He created.
I know God isn’t done molding and reshaping me. He won’t be until the day He calls me home. But until that day, I will choose to walk in confidence, embracing the woman He created, allowing Him to use me and my experiences to bring freedom and healing to others who know the shame of hiding in plain sight.
Now It’s Your Turn
Friend, if you find yourself hiding behind a mask of shame, insecurity, guilt, or something else, know you don’t have to stay there. God invites each of us to experience freedom in Him. He has a purpose and plan for your life. But you can’t fulfill it in the shadows. Will you be courageous and accept His invitation to you? He’s extending it…but the choice is yours.
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