I've had two conversations in as many days that revolved around how hard it is to be transparent in relationships.
And it seems that the difficulty lies not only in our own desire to present ourselves in a way that casts a positive light on our actions, thoughts and feelings but also because of an unspoken rule in social transactions that demands (and I don't think "demand" is too strong a word) we conform to the "I'm doing just fine" standard that is prevalent everywhere you turn.
All around me, people are faking life.
They are acting as if there are no hurdles, no burdens, no wounded places in their own hearts. They run around proclaiming, "this is my best life now!" somehow convinced that if they say it loud enough and long enough it will be true.
But everyone sees what we think we are hiding.
Many know what we think we're not saying.
And we all walk around, seeing and knowing but never acknowledging the truth: we are not as strong or as perfect as we wish we were.
All this fake life is costly. It's costly to us who try so very hard to keep up appearances-it robs our lives of energy that would be better used in loving and serving others. It is costly to the people around us because as long as we play the game, they feel like they must play along too.
And everywhere, hurting people hurt alone. Scared people remain isolated in their fear.
That is not the life Jesus came to give us. That is not the way to build true community among His called-out ones. That is not the way to teach our children how to lean into and hold onto the strength and hope that Christ died to bring.
When I lost Dominic, many feelings overwhelmed me-sorrow, pain, disbelief-and, to my surprise, humility.
For the first time in my life it made sense to me why in many cultures bereaved people sit in the dirt and tear their clothes. Because I remember saying over and over, "I am cast to the ground, and ashes are my food."
And while that feeling is no longer as strong as it once was, it still echoes in my heart and mind. I carry it with me wherever I go. It has freed me from the game of "let's pretend" that held me hostage to other people's expectations of how I should act or what I should hide from public view.
Let's just STOP.
Let's be honest.
Let's refuse to hide our scars, our tears, our fears and our failures.
If those of us who love Jesus refuse to acknowledge our weakness, how do we expect others to acknowledge their need for a Savior?
"The Christian often tries to forget his weakness; God wants us to remember it, to feel it deeply. The Christian wants to conquer his weakness and to be freed from it; God wants us to rest and even rejoice in it. The Christian mourns over his weakness; Christ teaches His servant to say, 'I take pleasure in infirmities. Most gladly ...will I...glory in my infirmities' (2 Cor. 12:9)' The Christian thinks his weaknesses are his greatest hindrance in the life and service of God; God tells us that it is the secret of strength and success. It is our weakness, heartily accepted and continually realized, that gives our claim and access to the strength of Him who has said, 'My strength is made perfect in weakness"
― Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ