It’s ironic that I love authenticity as much as I do. Since I have literally zero chill, I cringe at surface-level everything. I scoff at superficiality and roll my eyes at facades, insisting against pretenses. However, once authenticity is required of me, and I have to lay my junk on the table, I instantly start regretting my commitment. I want to take people as they are, but what if being taken as I am is just a little too tall of an order?
This issue of authenticity is a recurring theme in my life as I try to make new friends in this new season and new city, and let these people know me. How can I let someone else know me, when I’m still trying to figure myself out and “me” is a very fluid concept?
I’m finding that this season– or maybe this isn’t a season at all– is filled with the stripping back of the proverbial paint back and revealing what’s really beneath the surface. And much to my dismay, I’m not finding an abundance of shiplap. How’s that for a casual ‘get to know you over coffee date’? “Hi, so nice to meet you, I’m currently under construction.”
Contrary to my attitude and emotional stability, this is not a bad thing, and it’s not a scary thing, either. I’m coming to find that there is a good deal of good and beauty found in, what I would consider, an utter disaster. 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Could it get any more counterintuitive than that? Weaknesses aren’t really the things I go public with, much less boast about.
I try to keep it low-key that I’m prone to worry, or that I’m plagued with apathy, or that I embellish my preferences in order to “connect”. Because how can I not? It’s not as socially acceptable to say, “I didn’t do what you asked me to do because I genuinely don’t care,” or to confess that I’m actually allergic to cats and sweet Norman is about to send me into anaphylactic shock, or to say “I called you 17 times in the last 30 minutes because I was sincerely convinced that you got hit by a train.”
No, none of these are cool. They’re just weird. So I find myself wondering if I can negotiate with God to score me a more flattering weakness. Something a little less messy and a little more socially acceptable would be great. Something like chronic over-caring, or over-investing in people and causes. But alas, I don’t think it works like this.
As the veneer paint is being stripped off of me, and my weaknesses are being laid bare before the Lord, husBen, and myself, I seem to be the one having the hardest time accepting the reality, ironically enough. I’m exposed.
So how are you suppose to recover from this sort of realization? I don’t think I can simply return to pretenses and niceties to hook a potential new friend, only to bait and switch her with reality shortly after. Since adult friend-shipping is often very similar to that of a sales pitch anyway, this is proving to be increasingly difficult.
So I would like to propose a friendship revolution for the believers:
If the only thing we know we have in common is Jesus, then we have have one thing in common: Neither of us is perfect.
Hello, Freedom. What if we walked in that? Didn’t pretend to convince each other, and maybe ourselves, otherwise? Maybe then the script would shift, and we would spend less time focusing on what we lack and instead would focus on how his power is made perfect in our weaknesses.