Woman covering her face with a leaf

Ripping Off my RBF Mask

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If you’ve never heard of RBF (resting b*tch face) before, it is “A condition where the face seems to be in a scowl even when not displaying any emotion”. Thank you Urban Dictionary!

Historically, I’ve had a great RBF. When I’m focused, I look mean. And I almost never want to talk to strangers so that “don’t bother me” face has served me well over the years. When I’m working in a coffee shop, or even when I’m at a store or an event, it’s rare for people to come up and start talking to me. Once they start, I’m usually cordial and friendly but breaking through that hard exterior takes some guts.

A few weeks ago, I had multiple people, complete strangers, come up to me and begin engaging with me. For an entire week, every time I was working in a coffee shop I ended up in a conversation with someone. Because this is so far from the norm, I spent days racking my brain to see what could be causing this drastic change in how people are interacting with me.

And then it hit me: healing.

Over the past few months, God has been breaking down the outer wall that I’ve used to push people away. I have, instinctively, put up a barrier between myself and others. I struggle to let people in and I really make them work to have a relationship with me. People who know me, really know me, have spent time and energy getting to that place. It doesn’t happen easily or overnight.

Recently, I’ve realized that many of my issues and unhealthy behaviors come from the need to protect myself. Over the years, I’ve taken on this responsibility, something that was never mine to begin with. More than that, I’ve come to see every stranger as a threat. It’s as if warning bells are constantly going off in my head and my fight or flight reflex is always engaged.

This person is an intruder. They’re not welcome here.
They want something from you. They want to take from you.
Don’t let them in. If they don’t know you they can’t hurt you.

My version of self-protection mainly appears through isolation and insulation. I remove myself from others. Then I surround myself with barriers. I set myself far away from others and set up as many roadblocks as I can to ensure that I am alone. Because if I’m alone then no one can hurt me.

But that hard exterior is beginning to crack.

I’m figuring out how to let God be my protector instead of me trying to protect myself all by myself. I have to give over control, responsibility, and trust to him; after all, he is my good Heavenly Father and he’s better at managing me and protecting me anyway. I’m taking off my armor with him and a few trusted friends and seeing what happens.

I’m just beginning this life-long journey, but I’m amazed that I can already see such a difference in my life. Our God really can do the impossible! He truly is a God of miracles! And for that, I’m immensely grateful.

How have you seen God moving in your life recently?
Has that changed how you relate or interact with others?

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5 comments

  1. I’ve had the same experience recently. Before it was even a challenge for me to smile. But the Lord has been working in my life and bringing down those false walls of protection. Now it is my “new natural ” inclination to have a smile and relaxed face. Though my 3 year old has unfortunately inherited my previous RBF face.

    Liked by 1 person

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