I love this post but it needs at least two qualifying statements, just because we humans tend to run to extremes and to always take statements too far to the left, then too far to the right.
1) First of all, there is a statement that keeps showing up on various pages around the Internet that goes ” . . . Well, at least I am not fake.”
This statement implies that the author, alone, of all the people she knows, is a real person and everyone else is a fake. That is terribly, terribly presumptuous.
I prefer the Internet meme that starts, “Everyone you know is fighting an invisible battle on some front . . .” I love it because, in my experience, it is true of everyone I know.
So what does it profit us to imply that every other person, battling things in her life we can’t see, is a fake while only our own personal battles are real?
As a mom who has faced breast cancer and who has a child with high-functioning autism, I don’t find it particularly edifying to be called a fake, especially when I may have used my entire day’s supply of energy to come to church with ironed clothes and makeup on. I realize I am acceptable to God without those things but . . . sometimes I just work so hard to have some semblance of normalcy. And to be called fake for not bleeding all over my local church body every time I enter the door appears to be a cruel misjudgment of me. Life is not always so bleak, but when it is, I sometimes just want to dress up and appear normal for an hour. That is not too much to ask, is it?
2) The other part is that I *do believe in “fake it till you make it” when it is in regard to a person who seems to be a “prickly person.” In that case, I have learned to be very real with God and to admit that the person seems prickly and that I cannot, in my flesh, love that person. I make it about me and my lack of love, not about that person and her qualities. And, while I struggle in prayer to learn to love that person, I do believe in *acting lovingly toward her, knowing that God always, always answers the prayer that asks for help loving someone we can’t love naturally.
I believe, in that case, being “real” and admitting to that person that we can’t love her would not solve anything, even if we admitted that the issue was on our own side of things. Better to respond in a loving way, trusting God to give us that “warm, fuzzy feeling” later on.
In fact, isn’t that what love is, doing what is in someone else’s best interests? The warm fuzzy feeling is great, but not necessarily where we start . . .
Have you ever been given this advice–fake it till you make it? Or have the words been unspoken, though the pressure just as real? On some level this problem runs rampant throughout Christianty, but my up close and personal experience, including my own forays into it, have been in the Independent Baptist world.
You do know what I am talking about, don’t you? This necessity that I appear to have it ALL together? To be human must not be admitted. The admission that my sanctification is not complete must never happen.
We have been led to believe that all good Christians have continually awesome Bible reading, an incredible prayer life, no personal struggles with any particular sin, and unbroken victory and joy. Then we are asked to believe that all the Christians around us (at least in the key group) are those type of good Christians. Finally we are told…
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