All for the Masquerade

I’ve been quiet lately. I’ve been processing since my return from a conference and the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

I’ve been thinking the three C’s: Christians, Conferences and Churches. I realize in all three, people hide behind a masks.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

I remember learning the waltz once. I believe it was when I was attending acting school years ago. I didn’t find it difficult to learn. 

The steps are repetitive and monotous, around and around you go… 

As with any dance, there must be proper form. The traditional waltz is both elegant and dull. 

Christians seem to like to masquerade and dance the waltz. We seem to like to hide and go around in circles. 

Much like the Israelites did in the desert, never entering in and reaching the promise land. 

I can just see God looking down and thinking, “There they go, masquerading and dancing the waltz again.” 

I don’t know Lord, I honestly don’t know… but I agree, the waltz is whack and the whole masquerade thing is played out if you ask me. It’s got no swagga, no flow or flava… 

We’re just dancing in circles like a bunch of lost robots with plastered smiles on our faces… meanwhile we’re dying inside. 

I don’t know about you, but when I walk into a room full of Christians whether at a church or conference, it seems I can feel the weight of their pain and hurt behind their smiles. 

Everyone looks good on the outside; make-up’s perfect, hair and nails did, matching Gucci bag and shoes, a fashionable hat even… ohhhh and that smile, that same smile I see time and time again… The smile with hurting eyes… 

Their smiles say one thing, while their eyes say another. Switching their gaze away quickly, lest anyone finds out. The truth.  

We are so afraid to be found out and exposed. So afraid to be seen for who and what we are. 

So we just carry on, dancing the waltz and hiding behind our masks… smiling whilst our hearts cry and souls die. 

All for the Masquerade. 

Why do you think people wear masks?

  • Oh, Pilar. This is so good. I have seen this so often in the past. I am so thankful for a raw, honest church community that doesn’t hide behind masks. We are real and we work really hard to shatter this facade that so many Christians have lived under.
    Growing up in church for my entire life, the masks were what I was used to. I always hated it. I didn’t understand it. It made no sense to me, as we are all real, imperfect children. I believe it’s also the reason why many of us feel called to write and to help people break out of this mold. My Pastor also helps coach other Pastors who are trying to transform their churches from this same way of thinking. My heart breaks when I hear stories of Pastors who are afraid to be real with their congregations for fear of losing everything.
    I think we can do our own small part in breaking this cycle by choosing to be different and choosing to talk about it. I love your heart and am so thankful for you, friend!

    • You know, I was thinking of you while I was struggling to write this yesterday. I was remembering the conversation we had in the car. You were talking to me about your conversion or transformation. I don’t believe you ever got to finish your story, so I’ve been in cliff hanger mode. I would really like to hear the rest. 🙂 Thanks for your continued support. The best conference of the year was Quitter. I loved it, it’s like no other conference. I had the best experience there.

  • We wear masks because we don’t want to admit how TRULY messed up we all are. At least that’s how I interpret it. I think we all struggle with a lot of the same things but try to cover it up with an “I have it all together” look on our face. That’s my theory at least. Fantastic post. This one just cut right to the bone. Well done!!!!!!

    • Thank you, Jim. It wasn’t easy to write. I was thinking noone would dig it. You are always so encouraging, thank you. You are right, we want to look like we have it together, when in reality, none of us do.

  • meltitus

    This is wonderful Pilar! I agree…feel the same way when I walk into church. It is supposed to be a place for the hurting, not for the “perfect” but we are all so afraid to be real or offend someone. I dont know why we do it but it gets old.

    • Hi there my friend, thanks for dropping by, nice to see you here. I am glad you identify and can relate.

  • Have you heard “Stained Glass Masquerade” by Casting Crowns? 🙂

    • Actually, I never have, but now I will… thanks for dropping by Todd. 🙂

  • frannybolsa

    Beautifully written. I think we wear masks to protect ourselves. Maybe deep inside we, as adults, still feel like a junior high school kid. Thinking what if no one will like me? To be real means you’re to be judged, supported, challenged. Sometimes that can be harder then living with whatever you’re hiding behind the mask.

    • Welcome and thank you. Yes, I totally agree with what you wrote… it’s true. I think we are afraid to be judged or criticized… it hurts too much.

  • Beautiful post, Pilar. I wore masks because I thought I was the only one that didn’t have it together! I had the mask ripped off – painful, but the best thing that ever happened to me. When people like you share with mask-less honesty – it gives others hope. Thank you!

    • Thank you, Mike. I’m trying to rip the mask off but it’s scary as can be. I fear criticism and judgment for being me. But in order to really be a writer, I have to risk taking the mask off and being vulnerable. It’s not the easiest thing to do though, I agree with you.

  • When I was a more frequent flyer in ‘Church circles’, the mask I put on was to keep my self from being hurt again from the people that were suppose to be my brothers and sisters in Christ. I have been weighed, judged, and found lacking more times than I really want to talk about. Yes, it has only been by a hand full of people, but it has put me on guard when I’m in a Church setting. I must protect my self because no one else will… at least that’s the lie that convinces me to play pretend.

    This is a fantastic post. Thank you for writing hard.definatly

    • Aaron, thank you for stopping by and reading my post. I really appreciate it. I also want to let you know, that I have experienced much of the same. It is extremely hurtful, especially when it’s your brothers and sisters in Christ. I’m guilty of the same myself, in that I must protect myself from further hurt and offense. So I completely relate to you, you are not alone.

  • Great thoughts, Pilar. I hate masks and wearing them and making sure they stay on is more work than it’s worth. I am thankful that Christ encourages us to take them off and live in freedom.

    • Hi Eileen, yes, it definitely takes a lot of work to keep them on huh? I want to live in freedom, it’s not so easy though, but I do desire it. Thanks for commenting friend.

  • renee@joyfulliving

    I’ve always had a “free to be” attitude. We think of transparent as being thin and flimsy but in reality you need to have an extremely durable layer.

    Be Blessed.

  • I am in the middle of a one-year expat adventure in Germany. I’ve been thinking this lately about Germans, too. They do everything so perfectly. But every once in a while, I get a glimpse behind the masks and find anger. Or sad. And hurting. Just my observations, as I am only learning the language and don’t understand a lot of what goes on around me. But you’ve made me think about these things and how Christians so often have these masks, too. Anyway — thanks. Great post.

    • Thank you so much for stopping by Brianna. I truly appreciate your comment. There is a lot of truth in what you wrote. Blessings to you friend.

  • Pilar – I wish I knew the answer. I believe that often Christians think we have to “be perfect.” Christ did not promise our lives would be without difficulty. In fact, he said the opposite (John 16:33).
    A very thought-provoking post.
    Blessings,
    Joan

    • Hi Joan, thanks so much for commenting. What you say is true. Amen. 🙂

  • christasterken

    Thank you Pilar for saying what many have thought

    • Thank you for taking the time to read it and comment. I really appreciate it. 🙂

  • You have nailed it girl!

    • Thank you, Debra. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it.

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