• Charlene Stevens Jenkins

Are You Wearing a Mask?

Updated: Oct 29


Years ago I realized that I was wearing a mask, pretending that everything in my life was fine. I wrote about it in my first book, When I was 40, because I don’t want that to be anyone’s reality. Is that you? If you can be honest about it, then I urge you to put your pride aside and ask for help. At that time in my life I didn’t think my relatives or church family could handle the truth about what I was dealing with. Maybe I really didn’t know how to express it. Maybe I didn’t want them to be disappointed and think less of me. Whatever the reason, wearing the mask kept me from being honest and working through my issues. Unfortunately, at that time in my life I thought it was easier to just act like I was all right, and not be open and vulnerable. Aren’t those the main reasons why people wear masks? Of course, I’m not talking about the masks we’re wearing to help protect our health during the pandemic. I’m a supporter of those, and since I work for a hospital, it’s a part of my daily attire. I also choose to wear a mask when I shop, go to a restaurant, and attend worship services. I’m referring to the mask or facade we wear to try and hide our personal issues. I wore a mask, presented a facade, so that people looking at me didn’t know how I sincerely felt because I chose to act like there were no problems at home and like I had no issues. I’ve learned from what the Bible says in James 4:2c (Amplified), that ‘you (we) do not have because you (we) do not ask. Truth is, God will not force upon us what we won’t accept. That could include anything: Forgiveness, love, grace, mercy, salvation, and so much more. Imagine this. The most skilled physician in the world cannot help me if I am not forthcoming with all of my symptoms. That person cannot accurately diagnose and treat what is not made known to them through my verbalizing, appropriate tests, labs, images, etc. This hits home with me because I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Master Addiction Counselor. I do my best to build a rapport with my patients during the first session. I make sure they understand my willingness to help, within my scope of practice, and the need for complete honesty so that they would get the most benefit from our therapeutic relationship. In other words, so we won’t be wasting our time. I always share that being honest first with themselves about what they want to accomplish, makes it easier for them to be honest with me or any of their providers. To reflect back on what I wrote in my book, what if I had told myself back then, “Charlene, no more masks!” It’s impossible to speculate and rewrite my history, but I am sure that one of my loved ones would have tried to help or point me in the right direction. I invite you to examine yourself right now. Only you know what masks you have been wearing and why. What’s the point? Aren’t you tired of doing that? It’s so exhausting. Those closest to you may already know the truth, but it is not easy to help someone who chooses to live in denial. By the way, God already knows where you are and who you really are 24/7. One more thing, Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), and while I was acting like I was ok when I really wasn’t, I was living a lie. Have you done that too? So glad I no longer wear any of THOSE masks or pretend to be someone I’m not. Just like the father welcomed his son back home in Luke 15:11-32, God is waiting for you to come to yourself. Take off those masks so you can be blessed, free, and move forward. God has so much waiting for you.


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