Friday, November 16, 2012
“How are you doing today?” my friend asks. My thoughts fly back to the argument I had with a family member, my lack of productivity in regards to school in the morning, my guilt over not squeezing my morning workout in… and yet I still manage to paste a happy smile on my face.
“Great!” I answer. I return the question, and get the exact same response from her. Maybe I’m the only one who has done that before. Maybe everyone else in the world always has a “great” day and an even better life. But the more time I spend with people, the more time I wonder if we really aren’t all having great days every day.
A perfect life is hardly possible. We’re people with a sin nature, living with other people with a sin nature. That is a recipe for conflict and bad days! Why is it, then, that it is so rare that we admit it to other people? Why isn’t it okay for me to be honest about those days that aren’t going as planned.
These past few years I’ve met a lot of people through volleyball. These people were the ones I thought had it all… popularity, great personalities, amazing athleticism. They oozed with self-confidence. I wanted to be like them someday. But a year later, after I’ve gotten to know them a little better, I realized something: they aren’t secure like I thought they were! Some feel horrible about their appearance, others have had hurtful comments made about them, others have families that are falling apart… but from a distance, it looked like they had it all.
Then there are other people, who although they have great personalities and are a blast to talk to if you get to know them, but clam up in group settings because they don’t want to sound “dumb.” Why are we so afraid of showing the real “us” to others? Why do we have to keep up the image of having it all together? I have noticed that the relationships that I find most enjoyable are the ones I can be honest in.
While I have a lot to learn about his subject ( people will never cease to fascinate and confuse me) I know that I, personally, believe someone when they say they are doing “great.” And if they’re doing “great” then there is something wrong with me for having problems! My life is not perfect, and that’s my own fault. And I’ll look weak, and insecure, and inferior if I tell them I’m NOT doing well. So I don’t. I say I’m great. And then, I have an false image, a mask, to keep up. Now that I’ve told them I’m great, I won’t lie if they ask about parts of my life that aren’t going well… I’ll just… gloss over it. Yes, that’s it. And change the subject. And ask them about their “great” life.
It seems that masking our lives is a vicious cycle. We hear other people say their lives are perfect, and we don’t want to look inferior, so we say the same things. What if we were honest with people? What if we believed that our non-perfect lives aren’t the thing we should let define us? I’ve trusted that Jesus has taken my sins for me. I know that it is His love and redeeming power that defines me. But do I believe it? Without Jesus, it wouldn’t be safe to show my imperfections. Because people’s opinions would be the only ones left to matter. But, Jesus already knows my weaknesses, and He still accepts me. My head holds the knowledge that would allow me to rip of my masks and run into the safe and secure arms of Jesus. The only thing that holds me back is the fear that is in my heart. And here comes the choice: to let my fear control me and to rigidly hold the masks in place, or to sit in the lap of Jesus with my masks forgotten.