How We’re Learning

By Muriel Gregory

The Masks We Wear

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

There I was again, scanning through my closet. The pressure to find the perfect outfit was on. Should I wear a dress or pants, casual or dressy? Should I stick with neutral or go bohemian? We were being hailed at our new duty station. It was not our first hail and farewell but it was our first impression to this new unit. I wanted it to be perfect.

We strive for perfection to hide our own flaws and to escape from being evaluated. From having people over at your house to bringing cupcakes to your kids’ school, the pressure to be perfect is on. We are Pinterest gals living in a Pinterest world.

Social media has created a distorted view of life. Since only the good stuff is posted, we only see perfection in the lives of those around us. The perfect house, the perfect birthday cake, the perfect vacation, the perfect body, the perfect wife, the perfect children, etc. We fill our Pinterest boards with a perfect life, but the reality is often opposite of that.

We seek to achieve perfection because we fear criticism. So we close our doors to hide the mess behind the perfect facade. We close our hearts to cover the pain of a less than perfect marriage and less than perfect children.

And we wear a mask. The perfect mask. The mask that always says, “I am fine” when asked how we are doing. The mask that smiles even though tears are about to burst. The perfect mask hides the imperfections and the flaws. The perfect mask keeps the criticism and judgement at bay.

This mask, however, is a shackle that keeps us away from the freedom that Christ gave us. As long as we wear the mask, we are not free.

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

We see perfect as flawless and immaculate, but the Greeks thought of it as mature and complete. In this verse, perfect means genuine, complete, mature. Being genuine means removing the mask and truly being ourselves. We will never be free if we are not truly being ourselves.

“For freedom Christ has set us free…” Galatians 5:1

How do we remove our masks?

  • Reflect on God. Psalm 19:7. God is perfect and His law is perfect. The more we reflect on His truth, the closer we get to perfection and freedom.
  • Abide in Him. 1 John 4:17. When we abide in Him our love grows more perfect.
  • Never give up. Philippians 3:12-15. Forget about the past, the mistakes, the masks you wore and focus on the prize that Jesus has set before us. He calls you His own and calls you into freedom.
  • Be renewed. Romans 12:2. Transformation starts in your mind. As you reflect on God, abide in God, and strive for the prize, you will be changed from the inside out.

I am not bound to win, I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to the light that I have.

Abraham Lincoln

As an recovering perfectionist, one of the tools that helped me the most was redefining perfection. I may not be a perfect person but I will resolve to be an impeccable one. Impeccable simply means without sin. Even though I sin, I can be without sin as long as my goal and focus is to glorify God and not be conformed to the world.

I can be impeccable, when I live by the promise that Christ died for me (Romans 10:13).

I can be impeccable, when I choose a life of obedience over fake perfection (John 14:12).

I am free to be brave when I choose to live a life conformed to God’s will, not conformed to the world (Romans 12:2).

Your turn:

What mask are you wearing? Spend some time looking at areas of your life that you must have “perfect.” Ask God to show you areas that you won’t allow yourself to be less than perfect. Write them down. Share them with a friend or two to hold you accountable. 


 Father, I am truly thankful for the gift of your son. I am thankful for the work that was done on the cross that allowed me to live an impeccable life. Amen.

Additional verses:

Colossians 1:28

Colossians 4:12

James 1:4