Someone really wise once said that the things we hate about someone else are usually a mirror right into ourselves. Isn’t that the truth? If we pay close attention to what annoys us about the people in our lives, there’s always a trail of clues that will lead us directly back to our own issues.
For me—– it was fake people. This was “the characteristic” that was guaranteed to repel me faster than anything. I had all kinds of opinions about these people and their extensive list of issues.
For years and years I judged and psycho-analyzed and acted 31 flavors of self-righteous until one day I woke up and realized that I was the fakest of the fake. It wasn’t intentional, it was a defense mechanism (because it always is)— but that doesn’t change the fact that I was 100% hypocritical.
She who has never been hypocritical, cast the first stone…
Have you ever been in so much pain and inner turmoil that if you were real with someone, anyone, you were convinced it would completely overwhelm them? I used to believe that if I shared the truth of my heart— people would judge me, ignore me, be annoyed at the inconvenience, or all three. Putting on a happy face was easier than trying to keep it together enough to ensure only a manageable amount of realness came out at once. I was terrified that an avalanche of emotion would pour forth when someone just asked “How are you?” with sincerity, so letting the walls down for a truly vulnerable conversation was out of the question.
I think the definition of being fake really needs to be expounded upon. It’s often described as acting superficial, phony, catty, and/or high-pitched. We’ve somehow fooled ourselves into thinking that if we aren’t these things, we must be real, genuine people. But as I ventured through the dark depths of my own heart, I realized that being fake is refusing to let others see your truth or your whole heart. If you’re hiding your good, your bad, your ugly, your beautiful, your pain, your gifts, or your story from the world—- then what everyone sees isn’t the real you. It’s amazing how much our “authentic” culture compels us to conceal. And the enemy is all too pleased to watch us walk through our years living out this insane paradox.
If you’re hiding your good, your bad, your ugly, your beautiful, your pain, your gifts, or your story from the world—- then what everyone sees isn’t the real you.
One of my tricks to appear real is to get other people to talk about themselves. It allows me to seem like I’m deep and thoughtful, building intimacy, and authentic without ever having to be vulnerable myself. And don’t get me wrong- good listeners are a GIFT- but I can fall into a pattern of “leading” and “mentoring” to avoid being led or mentored. This eventually translates into sharing in someone else’s pain in order to all-together avoid my own.
As disciples we’re seeking to walk in victory and model what life in Christ looks like. But what if we’ve misinterpreted and misrepresented what it truly is? What if life in Christ is messy, desperate, and intentionally makes us need Him more? What if it isn’t having it altogether?
What if we were brave enough to let our guard down? Maybe it would set people free, beginning with us.
I’ve learned I can be real about my life before others while still exalting God, standing on His Word, and being an example of faith. Sweetest friend—-we need to model this vulnerability to the people in our lives to give them the freedom to bear their souls as well. It’s the only way for us all to heal. The truth is that God can handle my realness and so can His people.
I realize that this is so much easier said than done. It may be true and eloquently stated– but what if it just hurts too much? What if we don’t even know what we’re hiding? What if we can’t remember ourselves anymore?
I thought the exact same thing. It’s a giant of a mountain to climb and frankly, I’m still climbing. That’s why I sought help. Help from my husband, help from my church, help from my spiritual mama, my friends, and people who know how to lead others through the Calvary of their own hearts. If you’ve got walls that need tearing down and you know you need a guide— my hubby and I whole-heartedly recommend the Restoring Relationships ministry. It’s helped us make gigantic strides and (praise Jesus) given us a tool to offer help to others. I’m still not perfect. I have to remind myself to let my guard down. I have to actively choose to share my truth. But I’m moving from glory to glory and it’s getting easier. Just today I trusted a new friend (hey you!) with my shortcomings and struggles. 🙂 Thanks for being such a good listener!
God speed, precious traveler. I’m glad to be running my race with powerful people like you by my side. Prayers for a breathtaking journey.