Are you familiar with the term, "Fake it until you make it"? It is the art of trying to convince people that you really know how to do something, that you are in complete control, or that everything is fine until you actually figure out how to do that something...or your problems go away We all do it, right? We try to keep others believing that we have it all together, that we know what we are doing all of the time, and that even our problems are just minor specks on the windshield of our life. We carefully craft our twitter, facebook, and even our blogs to portray our lives as successful, happy, and exciting. Our society in America...and even the church, have bought right into this "Fake it until you make it" mentality.
I have to confess that I have been as guilty of this as anyone. I have stated previously in my blog postings that as a pastor of 16 years, I do not have it all together. I struggle with self-doubt (a LOT), pride, envy, anger, and fear of failure...just to name a few. As a pastor, I have times in my life that I do not understand what God is doing in my life, as well as periods of spiritual drought. Often times, these two things at the exact same time. It is hard to explain, and so during these times of drought, I often resort to the "Fake it" principal. No, I do not desire to be "fake," however in an attempt to cover my own problems and confusion, I tend to carry on with business as usual with those around me. I am not diluted enough to think that people do not see through this at times, but honestly...I believe the lie that people expect their ministers to have all the answers, and to have it together... So, this cycle gets repeated often. I would venture to guess that, based on experience, most of us are not very good at being real. I am not even good at being real with myself!
Over the past few months, I have been coming to terms with the fact that I have some issues that I need to deal with. Depression is simply one of the things that I need help in conquering. Being honest with myself and others should be at the top of that list, as well. I must confess that I often tell people that I'm doing okay, even when I'm not...simply to spare them the details. That is a pattern of lying that I do not want, and deeply apologize for. I am not great with finances, I can get stressed out easily when something unexpected comes, and sometimes find myself doubting my own abilities as a communicator of the Gospel of Jesus. Obviously, I have more issues than that, but I want people to understand that when I talk about being "real"...I'm not just saying that. When people get to know me...the REAL me...I want them to understand that I am as flawed of an individual as anyone else out there.
I know that this may seem like a bit of a "Debbie Downer" posting. However, I want you to understand that I am fully convinced that God can take imperfect, odd people, and use them for His glory. We see evidence of this in the life of David, of the Apostle Paul, Peter, Moses, and many others in the Bible. In every one of these stories, we see great men of God...imperfect men... being used by God Himself to further His kingdom. God even goes as far as calling King David a man after His own heart. David...an adulterer and a murderer...was still a man used by God. Peter denied knowing Jesus on the eve of His crucifixion, Paul killed Christians, Moses was disobedient to God...and yet God still chose to use these flawed, imperfect men to show His power and love to a world that really does need God.
I have to believe that God will continue this trend, even in my own life. While I am scarred, flawed, and imperfect, I have to trust that God is moving me closer to His presence, in spite of my own efforts to derail things. I do not want to be fake at all... I want people to know that what they see is what they get. When others interact with me, I want them to see what God can do with a life that is devoid of pride, selfishness, and above all... being fake. To do this, I must continually remind myself that the status quo of this world...even in church... is not what God wants. He just wants our hearts, and our devotion. These two verses are some of my favorite reminders of what I need to strive for. I hope they will speak to you, as well.
"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." -- Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)
Stay real, my friends...