The Masks We Wear by Heather Hodges

 

By Heather Hodges

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
— Isaiah 41:10, English Standard Version

We often feel the need to hide our brokenness, sin, pain and suffering behind a mask of happiness and perfection.

We conceal our true selves out of fear or self-preservation. The masks we wear become so comfortable and familiar. They become part of us and we would feel naked without them.

During those moments when our guard is down and we remove the mask, we feel vulnerable and exposed, but we are also authentic and raw.

Wearing the mask only perpetuates the pain and loneliness. But when we take the mask off, we open our hearts to the presence of God and to healing, restoration and transformation.

When we summon the courage and remove the mask we feel the presence of God surround and strengthen us.

Peace and love to you. “Soli Deo gloria.” To God alone be the glory.

HEATHER HODGES is a mom, wife, artist, inspirational speaker and follower of Christ. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Abilene Christian University in Texas and has been in ministry alongside her husband, Wade, for almost 20 years. They worship with the Preston Road Church of Christ in Dallas, where Wade Hodges serves a preaching minister, with their sons Caleb and Elijah. See her gallery at heatherhodgesart.com.

 

Hoot’s Musings

Several years ago, I read the Bible through, highlighting every passage that had to do with worship and praise. All of my religious life, I had viewed the two words as describing the same action. After reading, I came to a somewhat different definition: worship is our reaction to being in the presence of God, and, praise is the celebration of who God is and what he has done or is doing. Now, I recognize that is not a hard and fast rule, that there may be passages that are exceptions.

 I finished another journey through Psalms this morning, by reading Psalms 146-150. Those 5 chapters only have 59 verses, and praise (or praises) is used 41 times; with every chapter beginning, and ending, with “Praise the Lord”. What makes that even more interesting is — that is about 25% of all the uses of the various forms of praise in the whole book of Psalms. In all of the New Testament (ESV), the various forms of praise are only used 29 times.

 So, what is praise? To me, it is still the idea of celebrating who God is, and what He has done and is doing! Listen to the voice of these passages:

 “Praise the Lord!

How good to sing praises to our God!

How delightful and how fitting!

The Lord is rebuilding Jerusalem

and bringing the exiles back to Israel.

He heals the brokenhearted

and bandages their wounds.

He counts the stars

and calls them by name.

How great is our Lord! His power is absolute!

His understanding is beyond comprehension!

The Lord supports the humble,

but he brings the wicked down into the dust.”

(Psalm 147:1-6, NLT)

 “Let them all praise the name of the Lord.

For his name is very great;

his glory towers over the earth and heaven!”

(Psalm 148:13, NLT)

 “Praise the Lord!

Sing to the Lord a new song.

Sing his praises in the assembly of the faithful.”

(Psalm 149:1, NLT)

 “Praise the Lord!

Praise God in his sanctuary;

praise him in his mighty heaven!

Praise him for his mighty works;

praise his unequaled greatness!”

(Psalm 150:1-2, NLT)

 Now, there may be exceptions to this, but the idea of praise being a celebration of God seems to be dominant. But, what captured my thoughts this morning were the first two verses that I read.

 “Praise the Lord!

Let all that I am praise the Lord,

I will praise the Lord as long as I live.

I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.”

(Psalm 146:1-2, NLT)

 Lord, my prayer today, is that I will celebrate who You are, and what You have done, in every aspect of my life — disciple, husband, father, grandfather, brother, preacher, friend, employee. That everyone that me will know that I am His child, and that I am celebrating all that He has done for me. That I will do this all of my life, even to my dying breath.

 Will you join me in this prayer?

 Peace.