When the concept of surrendering and getting real began to surface in my life, I had mixed feelings. Mostly fear and excitement, but some anxiety and wariness as well.
When the excitement hit, I started envisioning a blog post. It was based on the fact that Christians are to confess our sins to each other, and failure to do so creates physical, emotional, and spiritual sickness in our lives. [Truth be told, over half of the sickness treated by the medical community today has a spiritual root, such as the failure to confess sins. (I would venture to say it is probably closer to 80-90%.)]
I began to think of how we are all afraid to reveal our weakness and failures, despite the fact that we each have them. How powerful would it be if someone were to take that first step and say, “This is me, the real me. I fail, I hurt those I love, I do bad things when no one is looking. I struggle, I stumble, I think more of myself than I do of others. I lie, I cheat, I am the master of denial. I try hard, do better for awhile, then fail miserably. I am broken. I am human. I am a Christian.”?
If I could interview someone who was willing to be real, maybe others could see their faults are similar, and that it’s ok to be real with each other. But then the voice of reason chimed in and asked me where I would find such a person willing to submit themselves to public scrutiny- nowhere, that’s where.
Then, I got an email. Several emails in fact, from Lance at Jungle of Life. We were discussing surrender and getting real and I gave him the link to listen to my pastor’s sermon. He listened, and it hit him like it was hitting me. I never told him about my desire to do a “real interview”. I asked him to write out his thoughts on the sermon and see if we were both hearing the same thing. We were. And this is what Lance sent me:
What is that, anyway?
I am a Christian, a faithful servant seeking peace and love in this world we’re in.
Is that real? Is that how I live my life?
Or is it a little uglier than that?
I can get up on a Sunday morning and spend a couple of hours praising God. It will be all about showing love for Jesus. What happens, though, when I leave that moment I’ve had? What about the other 166 hours during the week? Am I continuing to show my love for God? Am I acting like the Christian I claim to be – one of love and mercy? Or perhaps, do I wear a different mask, one that fits the image I think society expects of me? And, if I’m doing this – wearing a mask over my true convictions – what does this say for being real?
Or maybe “real” is something altogether different.
What kind of barriers am I putting up every hour of every day? Barriers to protect the “who I really am”. Barriers to not let my guard down, to not let out any secrets that might not “fit” with the image others expect to see. I’ve worked hard to get where I’m at, and I don’t want to lose parts of that because I don’t match the standard people are expecting. How often have I “changed” just to protect an image. And how “real” is that?
What about God in all of this? God loves us just the way we are. Are we perfect? Hardly. I’m a sinner (there, I said it!). I believe in a God who sent His son, Jesus, our Christ, to die for us. For these sins I’m committing. Yet, I hide behind walls to protect myself. What am I protecting? Am I concerned about what other might think? If they only knew…
- I’ve yelled at my kids for no reason at all
- I’ve shunned my wife because of my own selfish pride
- I’ve belittled others for no reason at all
- I’ve put on the face of a happy marriage, on days when things have been ugly
- I’ve shouted obscenities to the driver in the lane beside me
…and surely worse. Does this change your view of me? …because I haven’t shown these characteristics before? It’s easy, here at computer and keyboard – to become who we desire to be. Is that real, though? Or is this just another way to put up walls. To protect that image of what we want to be known for? Secrets hidden, for a life we want to believe is us.
We are “real”, all of us. Yet, we hide that “real” all too often. It’s time to let the “real” you out, and trust that there are people out there who will encourage you, support you, trust you, and love you. Your life is meant to be lived, and that’s about being real and being authentic.
What is that, anyway?