Unmasking, by Marian StrubleOct 20th, 2009 | By Kimberly Dinsdale | Category: Coaching Women - Guest Posts
Trick or Treat! It’s that time again.
I never liked the witches, monsters, and goblins, so when my kids were little, I resorted to coming up with other creative costumes. Today, the memories make me smile. I remember the clowns, super heroes, mad scientists, scarecrows, and the plethora of ideas that made their way from my mind to my little ones’ bodies.
Unfortunately, wearing masks doesn’t always conjure up pleasant thoughts. This culture is full of masks that hide the real cry for authenticity and significance. It crosses every generational boundary and takes on a variety of outward appearances. The more obvious ones to most of us are tattoos, piercings, and Goth. The faces that we put on to conceal the “real me” are not so easily seen.
Women often find themselves hiding. Ever since Eve chose to eat the apple, mankind has been covering themselves up with the fig leafs. There are a lot of reasons. We mask our shame, fear, insecurity, loneliness, and low self worth. We cover up our true heart desires, convincing ourselves we are silly to want to accomplish something more. We live in a world of make believe instead of the real one we were destined by God to help create.
There are steps to unmask ourselves, and the women we know. The process is much easier when we connect and rely on each other, forming a vibrant community. How do we effectively do that?
The first step is questioning. Women often have the idea that it’s not okay to question. One example is Paul’s admonition for women to be silent in the church. This scripture has often been taken totally out of the context of the history of that age. It has been used as a weapon demanding women be quiet and leave God’s business to men. That oppression has caused many to lose or deny their right to ask.
We must help each other by posing questions that will lead us to discover our desires, values, and identities. We need bold questioning to help us uncover the “voice” we were meant to bring to the world through the telling of our story.
If we are going to unmask each other, we must learn to listen. We’ve been told women talk more then men. There is some scientific dispute on that point. What has been documented is women talk more about relationships, while men tend to talk about sports and gadgets.
Women need to talk and be listened to. Listening is not just letting someone talk. It is paying attention to what they are really saying. When we listen with acute hearing, we can discover what is buried beneath the mere words someone is speaking.
The next step is exploration. Once we have acknowledged the masks we are wearing, we must find our true identity. Looking at all the possibilities, imagining our life at its fullest, is a sure way to uncover ourselves. Dreaming can release the inner creativity that is necessary to live in our identity.
The final steps to completing the journey toward authenticity are intention, action, and accountability. Intention is setting our hearts toward the mark of being who we are. There are many voices that will try and rob us of our “being” but we must learn to drown them out. We can remind each other to replace the lies with the truth that sets us free.
Action is setting the short and long term goals that will help us get there. We can help each other set realistic, intentionally focused goals. We can give encouragement to take the baby steps as we learn to walk toward our destiny.
It is easy to be distracted and discouraged. We need to hold each other accountable for following through on what we have decided, and to re-evaluate our objectives when we fall short.
Women love togetherness. In the pioneer days they would meet together to quilt, cook, and break up the isolation due to the distance between their homes. Today, the demands of family, career, and juggling it all have left many of us feeling lonely and cut off. Physical proximity is not a factor anymore. We’ve become a face in a sea of people, just another Facebook post. While social networking can be a valuable tool, it can become a way to hide from real connection.
We must find a way to live in true community again. We are better together!
That brings us back to the beginning of the process. What can you do to create an atmosphere of “unmasking” yourself and the women in your life? What are your ideas on how to develop a community of women committed to living an unmasked life?
Marian Struble is the founder of Connected Life Ministries and a certified Christian Life Coach.
Connected Life Coaching