Friday, March 28, 2008

Pretending is safer than honesty and vulnerability

**I'm a little gunshy to blog about this, but I'm doing it anyway.**

Last night, I went to the bible study that meets at my house. 10 Ladies later, we started with prayer requests. Then, we watched the Rob Bell Nooma video about Rhythm.

It dealt with hearing the song of God, and reasons why we don’t hear it. He talked about your life being in tune. Sitting at my desk right now, I can’t regurgitate the video to you. What sticks out to me more was the conversation we had and an analogy that was brought out. How, in relationships, our feelings are the source of the tunes we hear. Sometimes we hear jealousy, anger, frustration, hurt, and disappointment. Other times, other relationship, we hear sweet sounds, the melody, the rhythm, all-falling together succinctly to be the mellifluous cacophony that is life. (That might read like an oxymoron, but … such is life.) There was mention of the kind of people that are in our life, the ones that we feel are “out of tune”.

Philippians 4:8-9 got brought into the conversation too: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

I had made a comment prior to the scripture that, I think there’s a fine line where we as believers love and serve God because we believe He is The God that does ______ (stuff), versus the God that Is, and that we might fall short in doing what we need to do because we have faith that says that God will just drop stuff in our lives and in our lap.

Obviously, I did not expound on this the way that I had been thinking it over in my head.

But after hearing the verse and analogy aloud, the conversation (to me) seemed to shift that we need to solely focus on “good things”. I got nauseated thinking about prosperity gospel and the good life. And yes, I got a visual of Joel Osteen smiling at me in my head. (I like Joel, don’t get me wrong… but see where I’m going with this.) In that split second of nausea, Joel Osteen, and goodness, I became ashamed, and made a feeble attempt to rectify what I said.

Really, Feeble is an understatement, but I’m not bashing myself on here.

But the more I’ve thought about the video and the conversation that came last night, the more introspective I’ve become. Honestly, I’m not the most positive person. I aspire to be a glass half full person, but in spite of my optimism, I do have a side of realism.

And I’m unapologetic for it.

As I was listening last night, my initial thought was that I needed to walk away from a lot of my friends because of any negativity, any “out-of-tune-ness” that I project. I have been blunt, and have definitely hurt people’s feelings expressing opinions about that.

Most of those were uninvited opinions, but I can’t take them back.

And this morning, as I was worrying/thinking/pondering, I found this quote (and my header):

"Pretending is safer than honesty and vulnerability"

Life is a beautiful disaster. Frankly y’all, I’ve been a poser too many years of my life. I’ve coddled friends and family, co-workers, church members, and strangers with things either just to have a conversation, or out of fear and rejection. Through all of high school, I played games just to have friends. In college, I petted and coddled friends for acceptance. Even at work, I have patronized people for fear that I will lose what I consider precious. Things like:

“No, we can do whatever you want.”
“But you don’t REALLY know him; He’s a great guy. “
“I think that shirt is so cute!”
“I love your hair.”
or my personal favorite…
How are you?”

But it’s vanity. All of it. A grand illusion of smoke and mirros that equates to nothing (at times) but a woman trying to figure out who she is.

And the beautiful jagged flipside of it all is that, I’ve been coddled too.

The reality is that, I don’t ever want to pretend again. The last two years of my life have been peeling away the layers of pretension and exposing who I am, the beautiful and ugly, so that God can deal with it all. Most things I have said to friends that have been blunt have been out of love. I want my peeps (all of them) to be better. I want to be better. I want friends that speak truth into my life, even if it is painful, or bitter tasting. I don’t think life is about living the “good” all the time. For me, it’s about living the reality of today, knowing full well my hope for tomorrow.

“By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains fall out.” Richard Dawkins.

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