So this morning I asked myself the question “What does it mean to be real?” Does it mean sharing everything with everyone? No. Does it mean allowing my life to be an open book for anyone and everyone I meet? No. I believe being real is a balance. It’s a balance between knowing what is yet desiring something more.
For example, I’m not perfect. No one is. If I go through life expecting perfection from myself and others, I’m not being real. If I go around pretending to be perfect, I’m not being real. No, I shouldn’t embrace sin, but I shouldn’t deny it either. A real person acknowledges her sin and then confesses it. She cries out like David, “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (Psalm 51:10). On the flip side, a real person does not deny the sins of others; but she does forgive them. She forgives as the Lord God has forgiven her (Colossians 3:13).
Last night as I was getting ready for bed, I started thinking about some wants I would consider unhealthy–unhealthy because they tear me down instead of build me up. Here is the list:
- I want to be perfect.
- I want to appear perfect.
- I want to please everyone.
- I want to be everyone’s favorite.
- I want to always be on the right side of the favor spectrum.
If we evaluate the list, however, we will see that each one guides me away from real and into fake.
- No one is perfect. If I spend my life trying to be perfect, I will never be happy; I will always fail. Being perfect is an unrealistic expectation. Instead, I must pray for a heart like His–a heart that is quick to acknowledge, confess, and move forward.
- Perfect does not build relationships. No one wants a friend who always wants to be right–or at least appear to be right. Acting perfect is a mask that prevents others from knowing who we really are.
- Following Jesus will not make everyone happy with me. Jesus was the perfect Son of God–and many hated Him. If Jesus had aimed to please everyone, He would not have followed through with what God had sent Him to do. Being real is understanding that obedience to God sometimes makes people angry. Being real is understanding that with so many people in this world, not everyone is going to get along.
- Each of us has different likes and dislikes; it is how God made us. What appeals to one person may not appeal to another. This means I can’t be everyone’s favorite. If I try to be everything to everyone, I won’t be anyone. Real goes about as God designed her and is okay if not everyone likes that.
- Sometimes being on the right side of God’s commandments is to be on the wrong side of the world. If I try to always be on the winning side, I will ultimately lose. Winners play well, even if they lose a game. Being real requires an understanding that not everyone will pick me for her team. And that’s okay.
To sum things up, I believe real is not an action; it’s a state of being. A state of being who we are, not who we think we should be. A state of being okay if things are not okay. A state of being wiling to walk through life as an imperfect vessel.
None of us is perfect. And we need to stop pretending to be. We need to stop looking at those Facebook perfect lives and thinking we are missing something. We need to stop looking at life through a screen and look into the eyes of those we know. We need to be real. So join me today in choosing real–real life, real hurt, real joy, real everything. No, don’t go around bearing all to everyone you meet, but don’t go around hiding either. Be who you are–be who God designed you to be–be real.