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A girl in a red cape, barefoot and scared, is running hastily, trying to make her way out of the deep, dark woods. Something is chasing her — the big bad wolf clawing at her heels. She keeps running because she knows that if she stopped, it would kill her.
Breathless and exhausted, she looks back over her shoulder and sees it.
I am the girl in the red cape; however, I am also the wolf.
There’s a voice in my head that keeps telling me to run. That it will never be safe to stop running. That voice is my own.
Oh, the lies we tell ourselves about who we ought to be in order to earn people’s love and respect. Whether it’s the way we dress, the music we listen to, the consistency with which we say yes when we really want to say no, it’s all about our appearance.
Why? Perhaps because it is so much easier to be admired for the pretend version of ourselves that it is to be loved despite the hard, messy, clueless person we might actually be.
Pretending is safe. It’s a way to keep people at arm’s length, not allowing them to truly see you. It’s also a cop out.
In the three decades on this earth, I got really good at putting on all sorts of capes and masks. Cover up the weak and delicate. Tell yourself you have to do more and be more.
Are you with me in the woods? How exhausting!
How about we all just stop!
What if I told you that in this world where no one slows down long enough to listen anymore, you need to show the real you. The one that’s hidden behind all those layers of what you think you ought to be. The capes and masks just get in the way so get rid of them!
Although I love to step back and admire my work — the pretend version of my world — I also realise that these capes and masks are not just a barrier that keeps everyone out. They are a prison of perfection that keeps me imprisoned, slowly suffocating.
“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it ….” (Psalm 127v1).
What am I trying to achieve? Who am I trying to impress?
The only One who really matters knows who I am under the layers of covering. He isn’t going anywhere. He won’t leave me because somehow I wasn’t enough to get Him to stay.
So, my friend, put your cape down, and take your mask off!