As the wife of a pastor I am keenly aware that there are plenty of people watching me and my children to see if we are going to mess up. I can tell you right now...we have, we do and we will, just like you will.
The majority of the mistakes I have made are directly related to my need to measure up to the standards of those around me. Since everyone lives by different standards (even within the same church community), you can imagine how confusing that was for all of us. It seemed as if the only way to survive was to acquiesce. Not only did that fail to please the critics, it failed to bless my children.
I grew up 800 miles from our home. Whenever we would go to see family, there was pressure to spend time doing what everyone else thought we should do. We would bend our entire vacation around the expectations of others. No matter how we planned it, someone was offended. We spent more time with someone else or gave them a better part of the day or more often than not, said something someone didn't like. Then it hit me, this was a game we weren't going to win. I learned that no matter what I did, there would be judgement from someone. Once I realized that, I became free. Free to be myself, free to bless my family and free to peel off the mask. From there on out, we chose to do what was best for the family God had given us!
My mask wasn't fooling anyone. Pleasing everybody pleased nobody! Instead, it was confusing to my daughter. I'm sure she spent her early years wondering which mommy to listen to. Private Mommy, wanted her to be her creative, expressive self. Public Mommy who expected her to be compliant it would seem for compliance sake. Private Mommy was fun to be around, Public Mommy was cranky and stressed out. All of this in an effort to prove my worth as a woman and a mother.
I'm two chapters in to the book "Truefaced". Not far enough in to recommend it but already blessed by the freedom I'm finding in who I am. Who my Creator made me to be. It has always been my heart to instill that in my children. Now I feel as if I have the permission to be myself and that is a treasure! I am a flawed, imperfect and fallible woman whose beauty and worth comes from the God of the Universe. My worth is unchanged by the opinions of others. That is freedom for not only you but for your children as well.
What mask are you wearing? Who are you wearing it for? How well is it working?