ear·nest (ûr n st)
1. Marked by or showing deep sincerity or seriousness: an earnest gesture of goodwill.
2. Of an important or weighty nature; grave.
Yes it’s the name of an Oscar Wilde play. And a movie with Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon. And it’s also a fitting title for this blog post. Because I’m about to be earnest in talking about something that has been a challenge in my own life lately.
Being: Authentic. Transparent. Open. Real.
Please understand: I’m not talking Facebook status update real. Informing you of what I ate for breakfast, how much I love my turtle named Hubert, or what kind of dental floss I use is not real. It may have a ring of reality to it because that is my tangible universe.
However in the mist of the mindless babble – where are my real struggles? What are life experiences that have shaped me up to this point that I could share? I feel like this is the place where I should qualify this with “don’t over share or feel like you have to tell everyone everything” but the point is we do that anyway. Even if it isn’t the deep things within us.
Here is what people know about me: I am a social media nerd. I have recently been pulled into the strange yet wonderful world of Words with Friends on my iPod. I am excited about Focus on the Family’s super bowl ad with Tim Tebow. However they’d be hard pressed to tell you what I’ve really been going through lately.
I blame myself for this. Because I’ve hidden myself behind the veneer of the limitation of 140 characters. My fear of rejection, embarrassment, fear of exposure has created an automated spewing of the inane. If I attempt to be witty, funny, or pithy (which I often fail at) then I don’t have to deal with the reality of my messiness and others are none the wiser to it.
However I realize when I do that – I build the wall around my heart another brick higher. The older I get the more I realize just how down and dirty life is. And it is because I make it that way. But I’m ashamed of the dirt. Ashamed of the mess. I would rather appear fine then be vulnerable with my failures. A big part of me wants people see the clean, nice, Christian outside of my cup than confront the dirt caked mess on the inside.
That’s right. I am the Pharisee of old. Instead of being humble and contrite I have beat my chest and told the Lord how thankful I am I’m not like them. Who knows how many times I’ve told Jesus He should be thankful I decided to follow Him. I’ve painted a pretty picture of religious devotion and willingly turned a blind eye to the leaven that has invaded my soul because of my unwillingness to repent.
However here is where I put my hope. Jesus sees the dirt, the mess, the brokenness. He sees my pain, bitterness and anger. He sees the parts of me that were molded after His image. My comfort is that God knew how I was before I was formed. He knew where my many areas of weakness would be and decided to use me anyway. In the areas where I do struggle, the graciousness and goodness of God leads me to repentance. When I fall He tells me to get back up and keep going. To finish the race. I know it’s all over Scripture. But there’s a difference in reading it and having it become your experience.
So in an effort to be more honest with Jesus and myself and in an attempt to actually be authentic instead of talking about it, here’s where I am. I struggle with: Fear. Loneliness. Disappointment. Brokenness. Rebellion. I fail consistently. But Jesus is showing me His goodness and love by urging me, helping me to get back up. To endure. And to encourage others in my life to do the same. Because that’s what Jesus said in the gospels. If we endure to the end – we will be saved.
That’s my challenge to all my friends and anyone who happens to read this blog. I know that it is scary to open yourself up to the Lord. To expose the true filth of our rags before Him in light of His perfection. But that is exactly what He wants us to do. To see ourselves as the reason why He had to die. But to be confident that He has called us to Himself. He wants to use our mess – past and present – to minister to people who are where we have been.
Oh and incidentally – I really don’t have a turtle named Hubert.