By Becky Jones
My daughter and I love Six Flags. We have season passes and are complete and total rollercoaster adrenaline junkies! And as long as I allow enough time between when I ingest my hotdogs and funnel cake from when I actually get on the ride, then the higher and faster the coaster goes, the better! I love the experience of the front row with my hands up, the wind in my hair and the thrill of the ride before me.
As I was planning for our first trip of the summer I discovered the park has a new “virtual reality” aspect to some of their coasters. This is where you can put on a 3D headset for the duration of the ride and it will immerse you into an alternate world. For example: You could be on the Superman ride and instead of looking out into the park and seeing what is actually happening all around you, you can put on this mask and be completely transported into a 360-degree comic book world. It’s crazy! For a few exhilarating moments while on that coaster, you can completely escape reality by simply putting on a mask.
I’m not trying to sound too much like Forrest Gump here, but… Life is like a Rollercoaster. Not only is it filled with ups and downs, exhilarating moments and terrifying ones, and even ones that feel as if they will never end and just leave us going round and round; we also have the option to pretend nothing is as it seems and put on a mask and live in an alternate world of make-believe.
Have you ever found yourself wishing for a different view on this Rollercoaster of Life? Wishing for someone else’s seat? Hoping the moments of fear and anxiety would be replaced with faith and hope? Have you found yourself trying to escape from whatever reality you got going on? Have you ever felt like Paul in Romans 7:15-19 (NLT) saying: “I want to do what is good and right, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” He even prefaced it all in the verses before by stating “I don’t really understand myself”. Hello! It’s like he knows me!! My gracious! Let me be the first to say, I don’t really understand myself.
Should I even begin to tell you how many times I find myself stuck in the black hole we call Facebook? It’s actually amazing to me how completely fascinated I can get with those dumb quizzes because obviously knowing what color my personality is will change my life. Or how I will spend countless hours scrolling through 157 pictures posted by a close friend who attended her cousin’s college roommate’s wedding of whom I’ve never actually met. Seriously? It’s ridiculous! I shouldn’t even discuss the trap of Satan himself, that shiny red apple known as NETFLIX. That thing is both a blessing and a curse. Can I get an Amen? I’ve lost count how many times I’ve binge watched a show on Netflix when what I really should have been binging on is the Word. Yup, pretty sure I just Jesus Juked myself. Did you know if you watch something long enough on Netflix a very rude and condescending message will pop up asking, “Are you still watching such and such”? Don’t ask me how I know this; just trust me that I do. I also may have a *slight* obsession with reading and can find myself saying “just one more chapter” for at least 10 chapters and then before I know it, my clock will read 1:00am and I’m still reading something that isn’t the Bible nor anything remotely related to it. And let’s not forget about when I FINALLY sit down to have my “Quiet Time” that I somehow start to convince myself I’m hungry so I get up and find myself staring, fascinated by the options in my pantry, for 30 minutes before figuring out, that in fact, nothing sounds good. For the love, please tell me I am not alone here! I’m pretty convinced Paul and I would have duked it out for that championship title of how to avoid reality by doing that which I don’t want to do and not doing the things I want to do.
Friends, I WANT to spend time in the Word of God. I WANT to be a woman of prayer. I WANT to be a good Wife and Mom. I WANT to be so passionately in love with Jesus that even my couch cushions get saved when I speak. I WANT the world and it’s troubles to simply fade in comparison to my hope in Jesus. I WANT to chase after God and the dreams He placed in my heart. I WANT so many amazing things. Yet, each of those requires so much of me! They require discipline, faith, courage, selflessness, belief and trust. And truth be told, sometimes that all just feels like too much. Focusing on life’s little distractions seem a tad bit easier and not quite as overwhelming.
We too, like the virtual reality rollercoaster, put on a mask and pretend for a few minutes that life is different than it really is; that WE are different than we really are. And what, for many, may start out as a simple mask of distraction turns into a mask that covers up an authentic and real life. I’m making light of this particular mask but I believe some of you reading this are wearing masks that are pretty serious. The scary thing about masks - if you wear them long enough you’ll eventually lose sight of what is real and what’s pretend.
Wearing a mask will make you weary. And keeping up a facade is fatiguing. The most tiresome activity you can do is to pretend to be what you know you aren’t.
So my hope over the next few weeks, if you’ll stick with me, is to share what the Lord has laid on my heart (which may or may not include exposing a few more masks in my own life) so that every person reading this will join me in the journey to becoming Unmasked!
By definition to be Unmasked is to reveal the true character, identity or nature of something or someone.
What do you think would happen if we weren’t afraid to be the same in front of others as we are behind closed doors? What would happen if we weren’t afraid to share those real moments in our life? Imagine if we shared with others not just a simple prayer request about a hardship in our life but shared how that request REALLY made us feel or act out? What if we shared with others our moments of utter frustration with the Lord because we don’t understand why bad things happen to good people, why we can’t get pregnant or find a husband; why a loved one is sick or why our child has strayed away from the Lord; why our marriage or our finances are in trouble, or why we can’t hold down a job or why we feel so utterly alone when surrounded by so many people? What if we shared with others that out of those same frustrations and questions, we developed a lifestyle of apathy or depression or hopelessness in our life? What would happen if we simply shared with others how we don’t understand why we can’t seem to get up off the couch watching Netflix or scrolling FB long enough to spend time in the Word of God? Or we shared with others how we struggle with finding an identity? And we admitted that we struggle with trusting God in our grim circumstances and hopeless situations – that we often wonder if He really is who he says he is? What would happen if we got down to the nitty gritty of life and TOOK OFF THOSE MASKS? Could we take off the mask that says we have to be perfect and well put together, have no struggles and only spend hours upon hours with Jesus while journaling and writing our own worship songs? What if we got real and truly unmasked our belief in who God is and who He says we are?
This journey will be so much more than just unmasking ourselves enough to others so we can be more authentic in relationships and not live a “fake” life. (Although that is a goal I hope you will all strive to obtain.) But my burden for you in this is so much bigger! Over these next few weeks together we will Unmask the Character of God, the Lies of the Enemy and the Truth of Who You are!
Jesus said in John 10:10 (MSG) “I came so they can have REAL and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”
Be Brave with me friends! Let’s Unmask and live the real life Jesus came to give us! Let’s ride that rollercoaster with eyes wide open, hands in the air and laughter on our lips!
Meet Becky Jones
I am honored to introduce you to Becky Jones. Becky and her husband, Shane, and their two kids live North of Dallas. Becky is one of a kind (in the best way). When she is not writing, speaking, or leading at her local church she is getting her daughter to her next dance class or battling the next level in Star Wars with her son. Fun and laughs will come if you are around Becky for 5 seconds but make sure you stick around because she is a deep well with a passion for pursuing God's real heart for herself and others. I asked Becky to launch our first blog series with her study on being unmasked and I could not be more thrilled she said YES. Join us for the next few weeks to not only be encouraged but also given the freedom to have honest conversations with yourself, the Lord, and others. You will not regret it.