If you know my sister Monica, the incredible wisdom and bold transparency in this post won’t be a surprise to you. If you don’t know her, allow me to introduce you to this insanely talented, beautiful person. Jesus inside of her blows me away.
“Shut The Fake Up”
I’m sorry if this title offends you. Wait, no I’m not. Allow me to explain why.
This is #myrealreel
Do you want to know why my pictures on Instagram suddenly got super artsy over the summer? Because I didn’t have any friends to take pictures with. My choices were to either just not post pictures, or learn to take artsy ones without people in them. Why did I just tell you that? Well besides obviously motivating you to go stalk me on Instagram (@moni_onmymind for anyone needing a reference- I follow back!), I want you to see something.
Whether you know me or not, based on what I just told you, I gave you fuel to re-form your opinion of me based on my Instagram life. Really? Absolutely. Don’t act like you didn’t just form an opinion in your head. (I’m being real here, so at least let your own thoughts breathe for a minute). Maybe you used to think my Insta was cool, but now that you know the real story behind it you think is pretty lame and sad. Maybe you think it’s funny. It might even make you feel better about yourself. There’s also the possibility that you don’t really care and wish I would get on with my point.
My point: I was just vulnerable with you. It might be a funny example, but it’s a real example. I just opened a window for you to see the REAL side of a closed-off, fake area of my life. I just gave you the power to judge me, laugh at me, respect me, or not care at all.
You see, I’m a people-pleaser by nature – stuffed to the brim with insecurity, raised in a church in the Bible Belt and surrounded by upper class families who are really great at hiding their problems too.
Before I allowed Jesus to start changing my life, I was really good at being liked.
I could legitimately make just about anyone and everyone like me (not love – there’s a big difference). I knew what to say, how to act around different groups, where to hang out and who to hang out with. My motivation wasn’t “I want to be friends with everyone”, it was more along the lines of an “I don’t want anyone to get too close to me” instinct.
But it felt like I was doing the right thing. It felt like I was trying to love people, and loving everyone is the Christian thing to do…right? Then why was it such a heavy burden?
I recently realized that I’ve had a few things mixed up.
There is a difference between loving and liking. Liking can be faked, loving cannot. Liking is a feeling. Loving is a choice. Here’s a hard truth to swallow:
People pleasing is self-centered and self-glorifying. Loving others is humbling and selfless.
Example: have you ever been in a conversation with someone who is really cool so you’re trying to make a good impression? They say something like “yeah, I really love country music” and you instinctively say “omg me too!!!” When in reality you very strongly believe that country music is extremely mediocre at best unless it’s the Dixie chicks. Or if you’re like me, you might discover that you say the word “sorry” after everything you do, even if it’s not your fault and even if you’re not sorry. Maybe you have even verbally stated that you don’t give a *beep* what other people think. Yes, this too is people pleasing at the core, sorry (wait jk, I’m not really sorry). Whether you realize it or not, each of these things are in some way self-glorifying.
Changing this is not an issue of your actions or words but of your heart. I know because like I said, I am describing myself here. Not past me, present me.
Truth: I am exhausted. I need rest.
Thankfully, there’s hope and a way out. In Matthew 11:28, a verse most of us have heard, the Lord gives us an open invitation to rest. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Ahhh. What a relief. But there’s a catch. In order to accept this invitation to rest we have to give him our burdens.
You can’t truly find rest from your burdens until you stop being fake about what they are.
Like me, your default may be to fake it. BUT you can join me as I train to be real. I’m new at this, but I believe the Bible and what Jesus promises so I’m going to try to cling to that the best I know how.
Four Ways God Is Showing Me To Be Real:
- Tell Him everything.
This is hard, even though that’s pretty dumb when you think about it, because he already knows everything. The reason it’s hard is because it confirms the real problem and gives Him the power to start working on it. It forces you to stop running from sin and let God fight it instead.
- Tell someone else everything
This is the part that makes me want to die. I have been open with people before and it has backfired. It’s easy to shy away from being open with people because we know they can and will hurt us. But when we look at the life of Jesus, He wasn’t like that. Everyone didn’t like him. He makes it very clear In John 15:18-19 that this is not how we were made to live. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” To the person reading this who is too embarrassed to confess a sin or afraid to open up about a problem for whatever reason, please don’t let the weight of your pride keep you from the freedom found in transparency. You’re not alone and you can be healed. But not until you confess.
- Realize that if everyone is your friend then you might be doing something wrong.
Jesus had 12 people who really knew the depth of his heart. If you are like me that thought scares you because your friends are screwed up and being that vulnerable with someone gives them the ability to hurt you. True. But NOT being that vulnerable with someone makes it impossible for present hurt to be healed. Jesus was vulnerable with some really hurtful people. One of them took what he had been open with and used it to crucify him. OUCH.
- Make the decision to give it to God.
You won’t feel like it. So don’t wait until you feel like it. Here’s what I have been praying: “Lord, tbh I don’t want to give this up to you. But I’m choosing to give you control over my life so I ask you to rip it out of my hands if I won’t let go.”
If I’m being honest, I didn’t want to write this. It’s vulnerable. Right now you – whoever you are – are seeing a part of my heart that I have let very few people see. That gives you the power to judge me, hurt me, dislike me, etc. But I’m CHOOSING to stop being fake. I want to be as open as I can be so that the Lord can use it to heal me and potentially heal you!! I have a long way to go, but I know I’m on my way to complete and total freedom from this fake life I have been living!!
You can be, too. Let’s shut the fake up.