Redemption Press Blog

Are You Living Behind a Mask?

Posted in

by Gail Porter

Have you ever listened to a speaker and said to yourself, “I wonder what that person is like in real life?”

It’s easy to avoid divulging details of our lives if we are afraid people might reject us. We can unconsciously build emotional defenses we believe will protect us from rejection. But all too often those defenses isolate us from people and keep us bound to fear.

This was my life for more than forty years. Amazingly, I was unaware of the defenses I had created. When God directed me to write a book about the fear of rejection, I had to look back on my childhood to try to discover how that fear had evolved. Only then did the truth come out.

Because my mother and father didn’t know how to create a loving relationship with my brother and me, I longed for love. This, along with my grandparents’ strict rules concerning our behavior, began a cycle of trying to live up to everyone’s expectations in the hope they would love and accept me.

This secret goal continued throughout my early years and well into adulthood. I buried my emotions and created predictable defenses against rejection.

Do you identify with any of these defenses?

  • Pleasing People. You continually evaluate your performance to make sure you measure up to what you think others expect. Your goal becomes meeting their expectations so you will receive the affirmation you desire.   
  • Building a wall. You resist vulnerability. You interact from the surface of your life so you won’t have to reveal weaknesses or struggles that may diminish people’s opinion of you.
  • Creating a false identity. Since you believe people won’t like the real you, you construct an outer persona that exudes confidence and dependability while concealing your insecurities and weaknesses. 
  • Striving for perfection. You constantly seek perfection in all areas of your life. Be it at home, at work, at church, or within your relationships, you believe recognition will come only if you achieve perfection in all you do.

For too long, these practices fueled my fear and prevented me from becoming an authentic person. But when I realized what was happening, I invited God to dismantle those defenses. And as a result, He graciously showed me the way forward, leading me to an authentic life of joy and peace.

As an extension of that grace, I pray these steps can bless you in your own faith journey:

Look for internal affirmation. The word of God assures us of His love and favor. Jeremiah 31:3 and Zephaniah 2:17 are beautiful examples of that assurance.

Let the bricks in your wall crumble. Rather than resisting vulnerability, let your walls fall down by engaging freely and honestly with others. When we’re willing to reveal our problems and struggles, people often relax and share too.

Tear up your false resume. God designed us beautifully, and He wants to share that beauty with others. As we allow our true personality to come out, others will be drawn to us in response to our authenticity.    

Aim for progress not perfection. When we give up the pursuit of perfection, we grow more confident in saying yes to new experiences. With each endeavor, we can celebrate our progress rather than a destination.

The Bible passage which has rooted my personal journey into authenticity and continues to affirm its importance comes from Isaiah 43:18-19:

“Do not call to mind the former things or consider things of the past. Behold, I am going to do something new, now it will spring up; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”

It is only when we believe the promises of His word and dismantle our defenses that we have the tools to become truly authentic and live within the grace of His freedom.

“My defenses were supposed to protect me. Instead, they led to a life of deception. The turning point came when I no longer wanted to exist as the person I thought everyone else wanted. I desired to live in freedom to become the person God created me to be.” 

~ Gail Porter, Living on the Path to Freedom

Like this post? Share with your friends.

Meet the Publisher

I've been around Christian publishing since 1987 when I helped our ministry self-publish an important resource for Vietnam veterans and their families. That book went on to be picked up by a royalty publisher and has since sold over 250,000 copies with a million in print.

I'm glad you're here…stop by often and take advantage of all the information we make available.

Blog Categories

Unplanned Movie Healing Devotional


Filled with moments for reflection and personal stories from those who have experienced their own journeys of trauma and redemption, this interactive devotional invites readers to begin healing from the pain of post-abortion trauma to freedom and wholeness.

Popular Posts