I gasped when I saw the line at the Halloween store; I was there for a magnifying glass to complete my son’s detective costume. Halloween was just days away and the store was filled with wanna-be witches, robots and zombies…and they were adults. I have no problem with adults dressing up, what I find interesting is that we are so eager to put on a mask and be someone else. What concerns me is that some of us wear a mask year-round. Its always Halloween at our house.

So many of us get up in the morning, look in the mirror and begin the process of putting on a costume, accompanied by some self-talk. “When you see so and so today remember you like to craft.” “When mom calls be sure not to mention the new church you tried out.” “Try not to drive by the little vacant building that is perfect for opening your own business; you are happy without fulfilling that dream.” Smile.  Hmmm, that wasn’t very convincing. So you apply a plastic smile, patch your heart, which longs for a faith community that values you and dab concealer to camouflage your dreamless nights spent thinking about your dream.

At night, before the mirror, the mask comes off and the you that has been suppressed all day, stares back. Your heart begs you to retire the mask. A voice screams to be heard, “I can’t keep pretending! I am tired of participating in this masquerade!”

So don’t. Don’t dress up. Don’t waste precious time being something you are not. Why?

   Being you honors the one who created you. You were created to be you; not an imitation of you or an imitation of someone else. Being you in all your glory actually honors God. I like The Voice version of Psalm 139:13 -14 “For you shaped me, inside and out. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath. I will offer you my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence; Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul.” Its amazing to think that striving to be honestly me honors the one who put me together.

   No one else can be you. You are it. If you aren’t you with your fear of birds, disdain for cleaning and love of shopping and Elvis then who will be? There’s only one you. No one can go and buy a costume and pretend to be you. The bravest thing you can do is be yourself. Throw the concealer away, along with the plastic smile and step out fresh-faced as you. What happens if you do?

   Family and friends will get to know and love the real you. There may be some transitions that happen when you allow the real you to shine. For example, you no longer pretend to like crafting so you and your friend watch movies together or tear apart a store looking for great deals. Nothing earth shattering will happen if you choose to leave your mask off – except that you will be loved for who you actually are and there’s nothing better than that!

   Leave a legacy. The world needs you. Your family and friends need you – not a pseudo you. I believe each of us was created for a reason and if you aren’t you, those who are in your realm of influence are getting short-changed. You need to be brave especially in those moments when there’s temptation to don a mask. Your kids need to see you confident that you were created on purpose, for a purpose because then they will believe the same about themselves.

   Bravery leads to bravery. Be an example of what it looks like to be the masterpiece you were created to be. A confident woman is comfortable with who she is and who she is becoming. She trusts God to lead her, to love her, just as she is. She steps into who she is, bravely taking on life with no costume as a buffer. She blazes a brave path and others will follow her lead.

When you wake in the morning, you have a decision to make. Will you be brave enough to be the real you? Don’t put on a mask and pretend any more! Just. Be. You.