What does your life really look like if we remove the pretenses?

There was a show in the 70’s called “Match Game” (Maybe it has made a comeback?). Anyways, the contestant was asked a question and 6 celebrities wrote their answers on cards. Then, the contestant gave their answer and hoped the celebrities had matched them.

Oftentimes, we try so hard to not let the real “us” break the surface. For instance, we say things, do things, and lie about things in order to make our mundane life look far more appealing.

For some of us, we have pretended and lied for so long that it’s difficult (or nearly impossible) for us to even remember our natural state. We begin believing all of the lies and sparkle that’s added- and this becomes our new reality. We try so terribly hard to fit in, and will go to extremes in order to do so. It seems as if the desire for others to believe in us is worth the loss of our true identity.

What has made us so afraid? Why is there so much fear placed in being fully known? What makes us so tentative…so unsure of our identity? Why do we try to live up to others’ expectations, or even more so, the false expectations we place upon ourselves?

Let’s talk about this.  Who is your match? Who in your life can call your bluff and help pull off the mask of the person you appear to be?  Who helps you be authentic? Who asks you the questions you are afraid to answer out loud?

Find this person and give them permission to be your match. What will it feel like? 100% terror. However, it’s time to drop the mask and let the “real you” be revealed. Let’s see what God has gifted you with. Let’s see your insecurities and your fears. Let your strengths be unleashed at full power. Let fear be the losing opponent.

In my life, I have been blessed in being matched with three different women. They give me the freedom to lay down my mask and let me be a mess. They are trustworthy. They call me on my crap. They know when my heart is aching to be poured out and revealed. They know how to love me in my most vulnerable state. They push me to be the most authentic version of myself. They give me the freedom to cry, praise, yell, and rejoice in their presence. With these God-ordained matches, my messy self is safely seen and deeply loved. My matches hear me, listen to me, and are present with me. They see what is under the mask I press so tightly against my face. Day after day, I am letting my raw, exposed, stripped self be loved. They don’t let me remain hidden.

Finding these matches in my life were incredibly difficult. Beyond that, once I had them, life wasn’t automatically peachy-keen. It’s was hard. Oh. My. Goodness. It was so risky to let someone in to see my authentic self. The pressing fear of rejection was almost impossible to bear.  However, I am no longer hidden by shame. This process has brought tears, anger, frustration, and fear. When I attempt in being transparent, I fumble with my words and it’s impossible for me to make sense. However, these people in my life, these matches, meet me where I am. They help sort out the words jumbled in my head that are out of order and make complete sentences of them.

Being fully loved is worth the risk of being fully known.

Honestly, seeing my authentic self displayed is still terrifying. The fear of rejection and the overwhelming desire to please people is still there.  Just this last month, I let a whole team of leaders see it.  I began to weep as our hearts were being shared. I tried to stop, but the tears kept streaming. Far too often, I try to control the pieces of me I allow people to view. However, today I gave myself the freedom to cry and feel exposed. Through taking off this mask, the other people in the room matched me where I was. Their masks fell off as well- with hearts and healing so present and close.

Finding a match and giving yourself permission to remove the mask might be a life-long struggle. As humans, we firmly believe we are only a couple words away from pure rejection. It is still a fear of mine at times. If a new ludicrous thought pops in, I still wonder, “Can I actually say this out loud?”

Vulnerability is difficult, but it’s imperative for us to trust and learn. It will show us who’s here to stay, who’s worthy of our friendship and intimacy, and most importantly: to let go of the “fear.”

I’m going to dare you to take off the mask and reveal the real “you”. I dare you to share your strengths and weaknesses with your trusted inner circle. I dare you to remove the veil of shame and step out of the shadow of guilt. I dare you to strip yourself from the lies and expectations. I dare you to to strip off the mask and take a look in the mirror- face to face.

4 thoughts on “MATCH GAME

  1. Thank you for the encouragement, Toni. This is one of my challenges. Your struggles are common to a large portion of our culture. Your message resonates.


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