Recently, I read a book about being real. The main focus was about being real before God and letting His love transform me. The book was called The Velveteen Woman and it used illustrations from The Velveteen Rabbit to make its point. While the rabbit illustration were cute, I found it missing the mark in my life. I was struggling with reality, but in a totally different way.
I don’t want to say I never struggle with being real before God, but for the most part, I feel like I’m very real before God. I must have accepted long ago that God knows everything, so He is the person who knows me the best and see every thought that goes on in my brain (that does worry me sometimes). I have explained to my class of 5th/6th graders that God needs to become their best friend. You can tell Him anything.
My time with God is very open and honest. I feel no need to hide because I know He knows. I find that I laugh at myself as I explain to Him what is going on in my heart and head. He must laugh too at how silly I can be. When I am hurting, I am not afraid to tell Him how I really feel about the matter. He is a perfect confidant and I trust Him with me – the real me.
When it comes to people, I’m not so confident. I’m not sure I can trust them with the real me. Along the way, I have felt the need to build up this image of who I am based off who I think I should be. Being in ministry, I feel like I have to look like I have it all together at all times. Somehow I have built this image of what a pastor’s wife is like or what a church staff member should be. I want to live under the umbrella of the images I have created in my mind. Sometimes I really believe I am the image I am trying to create. Other times it’s harder to grasp at perfection. I feel I can trust God with me the real me, but what about others? This has been my challenge.
I’ve really had to wrestle with God’s calling to be real. I feel so safe with him. I know I can be honest and He will love me. After much prayer and reflection, I can see that I’m living only half of my calling if I just give God me and leave it at that. I’m sure He is delighted in our relationship, but He didn’t create me to hide from the world. He created me with a purpose and a calling to love the world.
This reminds me of Luke 10:27 where Jesus says, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” There are two elements to this relationship with God. The first is the most important, the relationship between you and God. However, that relationship with God then commands you love others. Our purpose is two-fold. God doesn’t call us to stay tucked away in a safety cocoon with Him. Once we have that relationship with Him, we are sent out to the love the world as we have been loved.
It’s time for me to get real with others. The walls that I have built in protection are really holding me back from the true purpose God has created me to do. I realize that in this world I can’t please everyone and there will be moments of rejection that I will have to work through. If my identity and reality is rooted in Christ, then I will have the strength and boldness to accept whatever comes my way and move forward in truth and honesty.
Such a rich discernment! I have found, with age, that the desire to be real and the actual act of being real have merged. While I care that people see me favorably, I’m far more interested in their assessing my God as such. Being real is part of that – flaws and all.
Bless you, real one. And to God be the glory!
Kathy – I can see how it would be easier to have the two merge with age. As a younger minister, I’m still gaining my footing and learning where I fit. I believe with practice things become easier and the more I merge my true self into my “every”day life – being the real should me will be a constant and hopefully something I don’t have to think about doing so intentionally because it will be natural. Right now being real and vulnerable is scary, but I am not called to hide!
That’s called “courage”. You go girl!!