Seeing them without their war-paint seems to take them down a notch from their Hollywood superstar status, giving the impression that they too hide behind a constructed faÃ§ade just like so many of us – and that their imperfections validates that it's OK to be normal, average and short of perfect.
Yet for many of us, losing the war-paint and the stylish clothes is really only skin deep. It's only one factor of the faÃ§ade we build for ourselves. To keep hidden who we really are with the fear of not being 'enough', we create a fictional self that becomes a safety barrier to our authentic self, who we really are.
Make up, clothes, hair or sport and being one of the lads – are in reality often only the smoke and mirrors behind the true mask that we have constructed.
We aren't comfortable in being ourselves. And the mask must not be shattered on all accounts. The response, 'I'm fine' to every greeting maintains the illusion that we can cope, we can manage, we are succeeding in juggling all the many things in our lives. We fuel the image of a life where one of our highest priorities is keeping up the persona – for fear of being found out.
Why do so many people struggle with the concept of 'being found out?' The idea has been a nagging thought in the back of mind for a long time. Perhaps people won't really be able to accept me if I let down that wall… if I become truly vulnerable. If I have to feel something. Instead, I prefer to be everything to everyone. I want to be seen as the success story, of my life having meaning as I ascribe to it, as being able to manage, cope. Achieving something I deem fit.
The only thing is, sometimes I get so practised with living behind a smoke and mirrors persona, I forget that I need to come to God as I am. God wants to see me just as I am, as vulnerable and beautiful. Jesus even said that his power is perfected in our weakness. Let's face it, God isn't into war-paint and persona's.
Not Enough Syndrome
Yet this 'not enough' syndrome seems to be smuggled deep inside many of us both in church and out of church. Being a Christian doesn't really change the 'not enough' syndrome and knowing Jesus doesn't really mean we all shout 'Yay it's time to remove the mask I've had on for years!' It can even get to a point that we feel because we know Jesus, we no longer have an excuse to make for our 'not enough' syndrome, so it goes deeper into our consciousness.
Not being able to nip to the dairy without a trowelled on face of make-up is just the tip of the iceberg. We've got that down – we're beach-going Kiwis who don't mind a bit of grit and dirt and sea and sand. What we do want though is to feel like we do the regular church thing (two Sunday services anyone?), serve on the right team, and feel particularly part of it when the pastor knows us by name, becoming successful in a career, being what other people perceive as a perfect parent, being an incredible, understanding, loving spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend…
It's so important for us to keep up this illusion that we manage everything so well. Life isn't too much for us…we are just sooooo busy – but 'We're fine. Busyyyy!'
Where does the belief that we will never be enough come from? Could the root be that we don't actually believe that we would be loveable and accepted by our friends, family and society just as we are? That the value we get is by keeping up the faÃ§ade and looking to be this person who has it all together. And so we create a series of actions and ways to behave to model to people that we are worthy to be loved.
Jesus doesn't talk about perfect. Instead it says in Mark 10 verse 21 that when talking to the rich man, 'Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me." I love this – Jesus just looked at the man and loved him – there was no Jesus loved him after he'd given his money to the poor, sold his house, or even was kind to everyone around him. There was none of this from Jesus: "Dude, I really love you but can you change a little? I mean you pray a bit, but just that little bit more would be great. And it's awesome that you give some money to charity, but to be honest, I did ask you to tithe and I'm a bit disappointed that you aren't. I'm not sure I can bless you really now. You're my son but I kind of feel like you could have been a bit….better."
There was no messing around in Jesus' book about needing us to be perfect. The 'Come to me' actually means that – no faÃ§ades or masks, but just as you are. Of course that is the craziest concept and one we know but we don't really actually truly know. Accepting that promise of unconditional true love from God because of our own feelings of inadequacy in front of God and society can be such a huge barrier for many of us, which leads of a compromise of true intimacy with God.
And our faÃ§ades knock God off the top spot. With superwoman/superman, we become the saviours of our own little world. Then it comes to crunch time and we turn to God in our darkest moments, finally admitting we can't do any more. Press repeat the button – it becomes a repetitive circle of being fine and then crashing, fine and then crashing. At some point we need to stop yo-yoing and tear down our ugly I'm fine/I'm OK and be actually OK to say, no I'm not fine.
This is not about over-sharing to the bus driver or the dentist but admitting to yourself that it's OK to not be this perfect person, perfect wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, mother, father, sister, brother, friend, colleague, boss, employee, churchgoer. Perfect you. Because you'll never be it and you'll never be enough for you.
Especially perfect can never be real. And you know, God loves to see the real you, so the longer it goes on, the longer he waits to see what's behind the smoke. Are you spending time working on building up the faÃ§ade rather than your authentic self?
Are you willing to be the person God created you to be rather than building up the person you think you ought to be or the persona you are constructing for yourself? I was named 'worthy to be loved', Amanda; from birth I was deemed enough – in my season, I'm going to step into my name properly for the first time and become what I was named. Beloved. Enough. Worthy. For love.
Originally from The Lake District in the UK, Amanda works in Publishing in Auckland and is passionate about seeing Christians bring salt and light into the media, arts and creative industries. She is also working on fighting her FOMO and doing less. Amanda wrote this article from London when on holidays.
Amanda Robinson's previous articles may be viewed at