When you’ve been let down or ignored or forgotten or taken advantage of…when you’ve been hurt, it’s easy to hide.
It’s easy to slip into the shadows of fine. It’s easy to quietly let your soul retreating into hiding. It’s easy emotionally step back into a pattern of pretending.
But pretending before others leads to pretending before ourselves and pretending before God.
If we think we are doing okay... If we think the little things don't matter... If we think we can gloss over the messy parts... If we think it's fine to avoid certain topics or areas of life... If we think we need to seem a certain way for the sake of others...
...then we are lying to ourselves. We are pretending.
And that’s the tricky part about pretending.
We can trick ourselves with our own pretending.
When I focus on presenting myself just right to you... When I focus on glossing over certain areas of my life... When I focus on manipulating facts just a bit in my favor... When I focus on showing you only the good parts...
...I start to become a pretender in all of my life.
I can’t pretend in front of you and not in front of God. Because I’m a whole person, not a network of little pieces functioning together under some sort of contract. I’m a whole person and all of me is affected by every decision part of me makes.
We are whole people and we can’t pretend in one part of our lives and expect it to stop there.
If we spend our time curating an specific image of ourselves to present to those around us, we’ll begin to believe our own lies. We’ll trick ourselves into thinking we are doing just fine or that our lives actually look exactly like what we say they do.
If I only show you the disciplined parts of my life, hiding the messy, lazy, disorganized parts, I’ll begin to believe that I am a disciplined person…with no room for growth.
If I only show you the thankful and joyful parts of my life, hiding the worried, anxious, ungrateful parts, I’ll begin to believe that I am a thankful, joyful person…with no room for growth.
If I only show you the strong and faith-filled parts of my life, hiding the fearful, weak, discouraged parts, I’ll begin to believe that I am full of faith and strength…with no room for growth.
When I think that I have no room for growth, when I think that I’m fine, I’m lying to myself.
So many times I’ve found myself feeling shallow and disconnected and joyless and I am unable figure out why because, “Everything is fine.” Until I realize that the “fine” I’m preaching isn’t real. It’s a lie I started telling others and believing myself and hiding behind when I came before God. It’s a self-sufficient, I-don’t-need-you-God kind of “fine” that isolates me from others, disengages me from God, and starves my soul.
It’s okay to be full of joy, but it’s not okay to pretend we’re that way.
It’s okay to be happy and excited in life, but it’s not okay to pretend we’re that way.
It’s okay to choose thankfulness in all circumstances, but it’s not okay to pretend it’s easy…that it doesn’t require grace and strength from God.
And it’s okay if some struggles are private from others as long as we aren’t pretending we’re fine when we should be asking for prayer.
And it’s okay to not share everything with others as long as we are sharing everything with God.
We don’t want to find ourselves starting down the path of pretending, because...
Pretending before others leads to pretending before ourselves and pretending before God.
And I’m preaching to the choir with this post. I hope you see that. Because I see the tendencies in myself every week. I see my heart start to retreat into the shadows of ”fine”. But I know what’s down that path and I don’t want to go there.
Let’s stop pretending.