Go Ahead, Take Off Your Mask! Encouragement to Teens from a Former Mask Fashionista

Over the past year, my teen daughters have been immersed in a theme at church, at school, and at home. It is extremely relevant for their age because they are maturing and figuring out who they are and how they fit in to the world at large. So here’s the big question that’s been asked of them: “Are you wearing a mask?” Teachers and pastors have asked the question over and over again. In other words, who are you being right now and are you a different “you” depending upon who you’re with and where you are at? The deep conviction that my girls feel each time and undoubtedly, many other kids feel, has been overwhelming sometimes.

Today, one of my daughters shared with me how sad she felt about watching many teens rise up and acknowledge their conviction before a guest pastor speaking at chapel about removing their masks and coming clean before the Lord. She wasn’t sad that they stood up. She was sad about what happened after they walked out the doors of the chapel. Instantaneously, the same sarcasm, vulgarity and mockery started up once again. This is a Christian school and some of these kids profess Christianity. She was dumbfounded that people she thought she knew so well could seem humbled and honest one moment, then turn right back to their same old ways minutes later. Mask off. Mask on. Or did the mask ever come off because maybe it was just a new mask being put on to “look” like a mask coming off?!?
I really struggled with words of wisdom to share with her and had to think, pray and open my Bible, because she said something right at the end of our discussion that really struck a chord in my heart.
“I’m so disappointed with my generation.” She believes that so many are no longer able to humble themselves and take off their masks because, as she put it, “It seems we might be able to take off one mask, but then there is another and another. Then there is a thick layer of make-up that is permanently fused to our faces!” In essence, she is saying that she doesn’t see hope for her generation of young people to come wholly and completely to the alter of the Lord. I think she is worried about her capacity to do so as well, if so many around her can’t seem to do so.
Here’s what I have to say about this and to any other young person who may read this at some point and be wondering if they too are hypocrites without any hope.
Dear ________,
 
We all wear masks. Some wear more masks than others and some have a harder time removing those masks than others, but we all have them. Here’s the thing, Hebrews 4:13 says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” The Lord sees right through all those layers. We are only hiding from people and from ourselves. If we elevate that fear we have of revealing our true selves above God Himself, we are making people, ourselves and our fear our idols.
 
Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
I can just imagine how Paul must have felt writing this to the Romans. He was on a mission to point people to a Savior who can conquer fear. His message is as truthful and timely today–to you and your entire generation, as it was to the whole of Rome. Obediently offer your whole self up to God. Not just your “inside-chapel-self” or your “in-front-of-mom-and-dad-self,” but your 24/7 self! “Do not conform to the pattern of this world–” I know, it’s hard. Peer pressure is intense at this age. It’s way easier to talk the talk and walk the walk of your classmates than it is to follow the righteous path of perfection in Jesus. But you are not taking off any masks–not a single one, if you aren’t being “transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
This renewal comes in the form of BELIEF. If you truly know and believe the sacrifice Jesus made for your sins and for every sin you will ever make. If you have asked for forgiveness of those sins and have a repentant heart that urges you to turn away from your sin…If you believe that Jesus died and rose again to pay the price for your salvation…those masks mean nothing. They have no power over you. You don’t have to struggle with removing layer after layer. They will begin to fall right off.
 
Don’t despair. Paul also wrote in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He died for each and every mask-wearing, sin-loving, vulgarity-speaking child, teen, adult, man or woman. 
 
So don’t give up on your friends, or your entire generation, or yourself. Paul was offering the hope that is in Christ alone to all who heard his message. This includes you _______. So allow Him to take off your masks.
 
With All My Love & All God’s Love,
 
Mom (A former mask fashionista)

 Masquerade Mask

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