One of the things that I guess I’ve always known is that I’m not a fan of pretenders. Not The Pretenders – though if we’re honest I’m not a fan of their’s either, but I think you know what I mean… people who like to project an image to others of something other than their authentic self.
I was challenged a little bit about this the other day when someone said to me that based on our Facebook page and photos etc we all seem so happy. I was challenged because I’ve always felt that I was a pretty honest person. The lesson that lying doesn’t pay was one that I learned in yr 4 – it is possibly the most memorable lesson of my life. But I was challenged because looking at our online profile, we seem pretty awesome – and it’s not just me saying that!
The reality is this, what people see of me has been selected, edited, cropped, recoloured and enhanced. After all who wants to see a photo of how ugly I can get when I feel under threat, or how angry, and downright mean I can get when I’m hurt, or how low and sad I can get when ghosts from the past visit me in unguarded moments.
I don’t really want to gloss over the bad days but I do – by not posting anything, or sticking to myself, putting my head down and working, or worse still – saying I’m fine when someone asks how I’m going – we all do it. I think it might be that perfectionist tendency there – we don’t want people to see our struggles, our pain and our ugliness.
I guess the truth is that we live in a world, society and age that is more focused on how things look than how they are. I’m not a huge fan of that either.
We are pretty good at spotting the faults, flaws and shortcomings in others – not so good at acknowledging our own. Why? Maybe deep down we still think we are just a little bit better than everyone else. I guess we can all point at someone we feel superior to – why else do we watch reality tv shows? If we are honest we are rarely completely honest about ourselves, we all want to believe that we are better than others. Some of us can even identify that it’s our own humility that makes us superior!
We are rarely honest about self, after all who wants to be friends with the one who is so filled with self-loathing that she/he can’t bear to look at her/his own reflection, or the one who struggles with addictions that he/she can’t seem to defeat, or the one who has struggles with a violent temper, or the one who gossips about others in order to impress …
Each of us aims to present our best self and I think this is why we live in a world that doesn’t believe it needs a Saviour.
What would happen if we stopped putting our “best foot forward”? What would happen if we stopped trying to convince others that we have it all together? What would happen if we said – “yeah sure, I could do with your help”?
I’m not sure .. but it would be nice to try. I’m pretty sure that you will find someone who wants to try to help you with your troubles. I’m sure with a bit of honesty from our friends our prayer lives would change dramatically from praying for journeying mercies and blessings of a good night’s rest to some real nitty, gritty stuff. I know of people who have been honest about their shortcomings and I can attest to the transformation that can come about, when an individual aware of his/her shortcomings asks God to shed His light and eradicate a dark spot or a weakness.
I’m thinking it’d be nice to be honest.
So in the vein of honesty let me tell you a few things I’ve struggled with this week.
This week I’ve struggled with a fragile heart – that is easily damaged and slow to heal.
I’ve struggled with envy, the fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of disappointing those I love, fear of success (that one is just plain weird) ..and that’s just a few. There are some others that I will keep close .. But I share them with the one who knows that I need a Saviour everyday to save me from the past, my fears and myself.
So friends, be authentic with someone this week, about something, it doesn’t have to be everything. There are people who are crying out for what is real, what is true and sometimes that is something as simple as acknowledging that your life is not just a collection of happy well staged, well framed selfies, deliciously decadent meals and holiday pics. Sometimes life is incredibly good but sometimes it can be difficult, a struggle and challenging. And sometimes it is just nice to know that others know, and they are praying for you.