Consider yourself warned...
You'd think, for an actress, I'd be better at pretending. Pretending to like people, pretending to be in a good mood, pretending to have it together.
But I'm not.
In fact, one of the hardest things for me is being something I'm not.
Mainly because I'm selfish...I recognize that. But I'm thinking some of it is good.
Here's the thing. Our culture is centered around being fake. Fake boobs, fake hair color, fake teeth, botox, spanx, makeup. All to make us look better than we are. You'd think with all the recent hype about using "real sugar" vs. high fructose corn syrup, and blah blah blah, we'd be trending in a different direction. We're not.
And all that stuff is fine, to a degree....
But there's one place I can't stand it. One place I'm learning to be completely authentic, because it's what I want from others.
See, no one benefits from another female relationship where we have it together. The person faking it doesn't benefit, the person observing the fake-ness doesn't. It's destructive.
And I won't stand for it.
At least not in my own life.
I'm learning a lot about authenticity...about transparency. What it looks like--what it doesn't look like. And why it's significant.
Here's what I'm learning...in list form.
What it isn't:
1. Saying whatever you think. This is different. This is called pride. While I am also terribly guilty of this...it's a different evil. This one says "My opinion is there, I'll tell it to you, you deal with it, I don't care if it hurts your feelings."
2. Airing of grievances. It's not a license to say everything that bothers you about someone. (See number one). I am also guilty of this.
3. Confession. There's this bad tendency when it comes to being authentic. It can lean a different direction. One that is more religious than resting in the gospel. When my goal is to confess something so I don't feel bad about it anymore, it's wrong. It's penance--dare I say- it's sin. I am also guilty of this.
What it is:
2. A rejection of self-protection.
3. The ability to rest in an identity that is given us in Christ, that is not founded on a facade we fabricate.
4. The acceptance of being right where we are, exactly who we are, and relinquishing the desire to cover-up, get our act together, or appear to be something we're not.
5. A chance to be real before others, and be accepted for being that way. Not mocked, belittled, condescended or gossiped about.
Why it's crucial (I deleted the word "important"):
1. We are all flawed, each one of us. And as long as we're encouraged to cover that up and pretend we have it together--we're just propagating the pride that keeps us from God. Once we realize we can be loved and accepted with others right where we are, we'll recognize we can be the same way with God. (Obviously God does not love or accept our sin, but he sees our Savior's record when he looks at us)
2. A need to cover-up, pretend, be fake, just facilitates comparing, cattiness, and gossip. As long as "someone else looks worse than me" then I don't have to be afraid of being found out. Is this making sense? When I throw someone else under the bus, then I'm not afraid of the bus hitting me. If I'm not trying to "self-protect" everyone is allowed and encouraged to be jsut as screwed up as they are right now, because I'm just as screwed up as I am.
3. It rests in the gospel. Self-protection...pretending....faking it...does not.
Faking it rests in the image of myself I've crafted. The one where I don't look so bad. Being authentic, vulnerable, transparent, rests in Christ. When I understand that "we are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope" (Tim Keller) I am able to rest, and be real.
4. I don't need one more person in my life who has it together.
At this point I was going to wax eloquent a disclaimer about how it is never acceptable to be complacent with sin, and "let it all hang out"....but I'm not even going to do that. If you think that's where I am, and I need to explain myself, you should go back and read any of my previous posts.
In the weeks to come, I'll be sharing stories. Stories of what this has looked like in my life (most if not all of them will make me look terrible, which I'm okay with). I'm learning too much about relationships to not share. I'm learning how to be a Christian. I'm learning how to be a real woman, in a real world, saved by a real Savior. I'm learning that it's good to tell the truth, especially when it makes you look bad. I'm learning what it looks like to rest in the gospel. I'm learning how to fail gracefully, what's important, and what I want my daughter to learn.
Mainly I'm learning how little I've learned.
But I will say this, the more I learn how to be okay with messing up, and okay with others doing the same...
the more free I am.
And that's just the way I want to live.