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,