Sunday, November 1, 2015

| be genuine. |

She extricates herself from beneath the blankets at six in the morning, drained of energy and enthusiasm for the virgin day because of excessive hours the previous evening texting and prowling social media. She's frazzled about work and the knots she needs to tie with too-short strings. Two cups of coffee isn't providing her with adequate strength to smile. Her conscience shakes a pointed finger at her, offering yet another reminder of the dust layering her Bible.
And once again, she whispers the clichéd apology. At least, the number of occasions upon which it has crossed her mouth loan it a clichéd flavor. She gnaws on her tongue until the salt of blood stings her jaw, recalling her clique of acquaintances at her church and the perfection that fits their personalities like a tailor-made garment.
Whenever she attempts to don that same garment, she finds that it falls off before she can parrot it for so much as ten minutes.
She's sorry she’s so lacking, sorry for the failures that paint her personality in repulsive colors. She's thirsty for change, and she wants Jesus to know it.
Nonetheless, she has a schedule to survive. A thirty-minute commute to complete. And she forgets to tell Him.
The job fulfills every black and blue detail her intuition forecast. It sucks at her patience, pulling it apart one segment at a time until she locks herself into a bathroom stall and allows herself to cry. Just for ten minutes. And that moment of permitting her emotions a release resuscitates her patience, or a portion of it, at least.
Three in the afternoon shuffles its tardy feet into her life, and she takes the freeway home, reflecting on the bruises the past eight hours dealt her, and upon her scantily camouflaged reactions to them. Her soul screams for the poise and maturity she tastes in the faces, in the speech, in the smiles of her friends. Craves it like oxygen. Feels her blatant insecurities like daggers in her gut, every conscious moment.
And she can’t seem to loosen those knives. Can’t force herself to fit the mantles of faultlessness. No matter how much she bleeds with each fresh attempt.
She locks herself into her bedroom at home-- the one location where she doesn't feel vulnerable--  and logs into her social media accounts. She wouldn’t confess a syllable of the truth even to herself, but she finds solace for her self-doubt in those profiles. Every time she studies her own plastic smile in her likeness on those internet pages, she feels that she’s claimed a fragment of that elusive, glittering flawlessness.
It comforts her. And she could use some comfort at the moment.
She begins typing. And the words form on her screen easier that she wants to admit. As if wearing the deception is slowly becoming a part of the person that she is. “Praising the Lord for another sweet and beautiful new day. I’m finding myself thankful for so many blessings right now. . . the Lord is grafting so much character into my life, teaching me more about Himself every day. I am so blessed, and I am rejoicing in this the most beautiful life I could possibly have been given."
For a hundred seconds, as she stares at the sentences on the screen, she almost believes them, and she concludes the paragraph with a scripture. “Who can find a virtuous woman . . .  for her price is far above rubies.”
And she has just composed the fictional character she yearns to become. Not who she is. But the description she craves to claim, despite every day freshly defiled by her own humanity.
Later, the feedback begins, flowing from her collection of friends. The ones from whom beauty and virtue pour so abundantly, so naturally. The people she would sacrifice her own blood to resemble, even if only for one day.
“This is so sweet. How wonderful. I was so blessed.”
And, for the first time since she vacated her bed that morning, she feels that she’s finally done something right.

*      *     *
Many months and solitary tears later, she reviews her social media and locates the rose-colored, paper-thin post that she had created. Beautiful, in the manner that an artificial flower is beautiful. Lovely to look at, but lacking the fragrance of a living, breathing thing.
She can’t help but smile, just for a sliver of a second.
Fiction was the only language I knew then.
She doesn’t need the internet as a crutch for her confidence anymore. Doesn't need the self-satisfaction it barters in exchange for dishonesty. She possesses more than fools' gold now, a buoyancy that thrives minus the sanction of mere people.
 She closes the page and inhales a mountain-sized breath, conscious of the human creature that she is. And grateful for it.
How else would she have discovered her daily need for the Lord, but not for her sin?
“God, thank You for showing me that You love me despite my sin. Despite the undeniable truth that I’m a human being. And that Your love and Your acceptance is all that I need.”
She knows that the world will find fault with the flawed, raw human being that she is, that there will always be some arrogant individual who prefers fiction to fact and who will reject the candid version of her. And more even than that, she knows that her Savior does not condemn her. She need not forge any plastic perfection for Him.
And, because of that, she need not forge any for another human being, either.

  *      *      *

 Are we honest before Christ and our fellow brothers and sisters, or do we attempt to impress them with self-righteousness and declarations of a golden existence?

Who are we to attempt to convince the world that we are perfect, or that our existences are privileged by an absence of stains and scars?

Are we genuine?



  1. Oh, that question! It's so easy to portray one's life as ideal and flowery, and only mention the good things. But as you say, it's fools gold. Thanks for writing this; I needed the reminder. The quote at the end is very thought provoking too.
    God's blessings to you. xx

  2. Oh, Hannah! This was so good! Thank you for sharing :) This is the reason I got OFF of social media (ie - Facebook, Instagram, etc). Everyone is so "perfect", and you start comparing your life (or at least I did), and the result is feeling discouraged and like a total failure. Then one day I realized that I should be lining my life up with God's Word, not with the next person that friended me on Facebook. And ever since, my life has been so fulfilling. All I want is Jesus, and to be like Him!

    1. Well, since having recently gotten off Facebook, I can definitely agree with that statement. And I don't want to portray myself as someone who has come full circle, per se, but as someone learning along with everyone else. God bless you!

    2. I must say it always makes me happy to hear when someone leaves Facebook :) Lol! It took a while for me to break the habit, but it was so worth it! And I am still learning too :) God bless you as well! I think of you often :) <3


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