As the kids put away their costumes, and the stores bring out their Christmas decoration and the political ads are replaced with holiday advertising, I often question “What happened to Thanksgiving?” Yet this year, I started with another question “Who am I pretending to be?”
Our women’s pastor shared a lesson on Monday, which happened to fall on Halloween about the more evil aspects of the holiday. She referenced information from an author that I have read before, although possibly not the book she had read. The book was Out of the Devil’s Cauldron: A Journey from Darkness to Light by John Ramirez. The author shared his personal experiences as the leader of a satanic cult to bring to light what many believers are oblivious to about the spiritual forces at work in our cities. She shared several things that I was aware of, some I was not aware of and said something that initially gave me pause. What she shared is “When we allow our children or us ourselves to dress up, we are changing their identity as well as our own for the birth right of Halloween. The purpose of our destiny has been cancelled.”
It gave me pause, because while I understand the thought behind Halloween and dress up given its roots, my mind went away from Halloween. I have dressed up for a mascaraed ball. Like most, imaginary play of cops and robbers, dress up, and other things of the line have filled my childhood, my children’s childhoods and my grandchildren’s lives. These imaginary play also changes a God given identity, as I pretend to be someone I am not.
I thought about how, even now as an adult I, as so many others, struggle with knowing who I am. I know the roles I play as mother, wife, Mimi, employee, counselor, friend, sister, cousin, etc. Those are roles that change over time and look different in different seasons. Some days I am successful in playing the role, and sometimes I am not. However, a role is not who I am, it is a role I am playing in the moment. I am not everyone’s mom or everyone’s wife.
I wonder if this pretend play that is so normal in our world now was present in the Old Testament times, or even in Jesus’ day? Did they struggle as much knowing who they are? I recall the story of David as he decided in his heart to go against Goliath. He knew He was, and was not willing to pretend to be someone he was not.
“And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!” Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.”
1 Samuel 17:32-40
David knew where his strength came from. He knew how God had defeated the bear and the lion through him in the past and had no question God would defeat this enemy as well. He didn’t need Saul’s armor, He had God as his shield and defender. He knew who He was in Christ, so he didn’t need to pretend to be a warrior. He was a small shepherd boy, with a big God!
When did we allow the insecurities to set in so that we have to pretend to be someone we are not? Why do we compare ourselves with others when we are gifted with completely different things and walking completely separate paths? Why even as adults, do we feel the need to play dress us?
We put on fake eyelashes and makeup to cover perceived flaws or make ourselves “feel pretty.” We use things like Botox and liposuction to correct natural processes in our bodies. We use body suites to hold things in or prop things up. We do these things to pretend to be something other than who we are, someone made in the image of God.
I am not saying that there is anything inherently wrong with makeup or trying to look nice. It is important we realize who we are in Christ. God made each of us to uniquely express characteristics of who He is to the world around us. We need to make sure that we are not selling our God given birthright for the latest fads, that we are not dressing up to pretend we are someone we are not.