Mike Yaconelli says that so many times we are pretending in relationships. And when we're pretending, we're relating to each other on the basis of who we are not. I think that is such a profoundly challenging thought. How many times am I, for whatever reason, pretending? And then relating to other people based on who I am not? And even relating to God on the basis of who I am not?
When I pretend to myself, we call that denial.
When I pretend to someone else, we call that...hmm...being nice?
Honesty is not all that easy. Human beings have a long history of throwing on the fig leaves and running for cover.
I have to know I am safe and loved, in order to be honest. I think most of us have a problem with knowing that we're safe and loved. We all have those sneaking insecurities, those what-ifs, those little anxieties that keep us covering up.
And instead of real relationships, we end up with pretend.
The thing is, everybody loves a fairy tale. We all want to live in a palace with the prince, happily ever after. With the birds and the squirrels doing all the housework. Pretend looks like the happiest place on earth.
Until it's not.
And then we have to fight our way out of a lifetime of pretend, to step out into the light of real and true and honest. As challenging and difficult as that fight may be, it's a fight worth fighting. Because it will set us free.
Free of who we are not.
We are not strong and brave and competent and together and perfect and cheerful and smiling all the time. Honestly? That is a horrible burden to bear.
The truth is, we are broken and scared and impaired and tired and needy and sad and anxious and depressed sometimes. And we need to be in relationships that can handle the honesty of our humanity.
God knows all these things about us, and He loves us. All the time. We are the ones who pretend, and keep ourselves slaving away in the far country.
When we know God loves us, we can take a chance on the people around us. Find the ones who celebrate our "no," and who love our limits, but who see our strengths, and encourage us to keep growing. Who make it safe for us to stop pretending. Who make it possible for us to be free.
Who join us in relationships that are all about who we are.
Broken. Scared. Sad. Tired.
Human. Unique. Precious. Beloved.