A Posed Life & The freedom of being Real (Pt 2)

A Posed Life

Ok… I’m going to admit something really embarrassing. (Be kind!) “You know this song is about Jesus dying!”, I said.  [U2’s ‘Sunday, Bloody Sunday’ was playing in the background.]  And as suddenly as the words left my mouth there began a very obvious and very awkward pause. “No…”, said one of the 5 guys gathered around, “it was about a Massacre in Ireland!”  I felt so embarrassed.  It was humiliating. My plan was to cleverly join in the conversation, to sound like I knew what I was talking about, to fake my way through, but it had failed. I was completely wrong. I was utterly exposed. And even now after years have passed, it is hard to expose this to you. It still feels embarrassing. And it still tempts me toward the urge to hide… to pose as something I’m not yet.

So, why share my embarrassing story? Simple… to expose myself… to bring to light a reality. I could have kept this story to myself. I could have hidden the truth.  And gained what?… And lost what?

In “Part 1” of my post, “The Freedom of being Real”, I wrote about how tempting it can be to create a façade to live behind. After all, it is normal to want to be better or different or more accomplished or whatever. But, there is a temptation we all face to appear to be those things before we actually are those things. And, there is a healthy side to the desires of wanting to be better than we are at this moment in time. These desires can lead us to look under the hood, make changes, grow. But, like all temptations, there is a tipping point at which we move from the healthy to the unhealthy, from freedom to bondage. And if we surrender to the temptation to look like we’ve arrived before we have actually arrived, we move from freedom to bondage.  We must return to freedom… we must be real.

A “posed” life is not a real life. And isn’t life, full abundant genuine real life what we’re hoping for? Isn’t that the promise? (Jn 10:10) If we are to find real life, we must be real.  In being real we find the true heart of God for us. Ps 51:6 – “What you’re after is truth from the inside out.  Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.” Pause and let those words sink in.  To be real allows God to birth new life in us. If, however, we choose to live a posed life, we block His efforts. A posed life is not a real life. It is a manufactured life. And, it requires a tremendous amount of energy to maintain.  Like a child who tells a fib, only to have to tell another fib to cover the first, and so on. It conceives a sense of guilt and doubt and shame and anxiety and pride. Posing brings isolation from others, insulation from the events of life that shape up forward. It can hinder our discovery of our true calling, our destiny. But as true as this is about posing, the opposite is also true – that living in line with what is most true of you will bring relief and confidence and grace and freedom and humility and peace.

My guess is that there are some of you who will  read this post, but doubt. Maybe you’re beginning to warm up to the idea that posing isn’t very helpful, but you don’t really think this is an issue you deal with.  So, let’s spend some time to take note of a few things. Let’s look under the hood… connect the engine up to an analyzer… that’s the goal for this week. Let’s see if there is any tuning up needed. Then, in the next blog-entry we’ll talk more.  You up for it?

Over the next week, take note of your responses to a few things in your life:

  • Any situations where you feel uncomfortable
  • Times when you notice yourself hesitate (e.g., making a decision, stepping into something, making a call, talking to someone, etc.)
  • Situations that get you angry
  • When dealing with people you try to avoid
  • How deep are your conversations with others? Do you have any intimate friendships? Can you tell them everything?

Jot down what you notice. Seriously. Make some notes to yourself. (No one else needs to see them.) Trust me in this and we’ll talk more next time.

Learning to live from a more real place,


5 thoughts on “A Posed Life & The freedom of being Real (Pt 2)

  1. “living in line with what is most true of you will bring relief and confidence”

    Could you perhaps explain what you mean by living in line with what is most true?

    I tend to get very angry when a person (a friend) embodies everything that I somehow admire or want to be, and I try as best I could to avoid that person but can’t ignore the void that is in myself. He also represents the accomplishments that I have trouble continuing in my life.

    1. Hi Jonathan. By “living in line with what is most true of you” I mean a couple of things. First, simply being honest with where you are in your journey takes the pressure off. It can help you move from feelings of competition to a more gracious approach. It helps stop the comparisons and gives you confidence in knowing that you are a work-in-progress (that we all are). Secondly, I believe we have God-given desires placed within us. These desires take time to recognize, decipher, develop, and act upon. For a long time I felt the pressure to be someone I wasn’t — sort of “the guy” you should come to for answers of all kind. I didn’t feel comfortable focusing on core desires because I thought it limited my ability to be useful. That was driven by neediness and brokenness. I’m learning now to recognize what is true of me, what has always been true of me (in its various forms.) For example, I love to write and communicate. But, if a situation arises that requires strategy and organization skills I’m not really the best person to ask for advice, I’m learning to allow others with those strengths to step into the role. I don’t have to be every answer to every problem. That brings me a huge sense of relief and freedom. And it frees me to offer myself more naturally and confidently in keeping with my core desires and talents.

      I have friends that devote themselves to helping people in this area. Gary Barkalow at http://www.TheNobleHeart.com is a great resource. Here’s a blog articles you might enjoy: http://thenobleheart.com/2011/06/god-will-make-you-one-of-his-specialist/

      From one in-progress person to another,

  2. There seems to be 2 areas of posing.  One is the more obvious where, for example, some guys are involved in a conversation you know nothing about and there’s the temptation to act like you know more than you do.
    But the more difficult situation is where you are expected to know something because it’s your area of experpertise and you don’t.  Case in point:  the other day some guys I work with were going to look at a building in town they were thinking of buying so they could use it as a place of business.  They asked me to come along because they knew I had just gotten my real estate lisence and would know what questions to ask etc.  I felt pressure to perform (pose).  To be honest I don’t feel like I remember half of what I learned in class but I felt pressure to be the expert!  Anyway, after looking at the place we headed back to the office and one of them said “hey, so you could like, write up an offer to purchase for us right?  And turn it in to the guy?”  Let’s see, oh yeah, offer to purchase.  Now, I do know what one of those is and what role it plays in a real estate transaction. But as far as coming up with one and knowing what to do with it I’m still very green.  How do I respond?  The inner pressure to pose was really strong.  I could lose a lot of cred here.  They brought me along because I’m supposedly the expert here.   It seemed like a very easy option to simply say, “Yeah, sure.  No problem.  If you guys want to make an offer just let me know – I’ll throw something together for you.”  My plan would have then been to secretly “refresh” my memory on the whole “offer” thing by quickly “googling” “offer to purchase” and keep my pride intact.  Total poser.
    Thankfully though, this time I dispatched that fowl poser with a little humor.  “Sure,” I said with a half wink, “I just have to remember what that is!”  We all shared a laugh and thankfully no one said, “No seriously, could you do that?”
    Thanks for the post my friend.

    1. I love that you’re learning and recognizing when this is happening. I think we all fight it. And strangely, it is usually less momentous when i just admit to my “gaps” up front. Most people don’t really expect us to be perfect, just that we are willing to know and grow. The pull to want to feel important, knowledgeable, needed is strong. Let’s keep trying to walk this out together.

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