How do you become real? I’m not talking from an abstract, philosophical point of view and my question is not a rhetorical one. Honestly, how do you become real? Truthfully, earnestly, please answer me. How. do. you. become. real? Authentic. Genuine. Transparent. Honest. How do you come to the point where your insides match your outsides, when you mean what you say and say what you mean All. The. Time. And i’m not talking about the blunt assholes who think it’s better and cooler to be blunt and confrontational because “I’m not scared of what anyone thinks, i’m going to say whatever I want whenever I want to”. That’s just foolish and immature. What I’m talking about is entirely different. I want to become real. How do you do it? Is it even something you “do”? Is it something you can try really hard at and practice? Is it something you “live out”? I don’t know. It’s foreign to me. How do you become real?
Ya’ know, I really admire real people. They stand out to me. I can sense one when I see one. They don’t wear masks- what you see is what you get. No surprises here. They’re honest about their imperfections- they don’t try to cover things up and be something or someone they’re not. They know they’re not perfect and they don’t try to act like they are. They don’t take things personally- They’re not phased by what you think of them. They’re comfortable in their skin and it shows. It oozes and flows through every word they speak and in whatever they do. They are the free-est people I know. They don’t feel like they have to measure up or meet any expectations other people set for them. They’re not concerned with what other people think and they don’t try to impress to gain approval. They remain the same, regardless of the people or the environment that surround them. There’s a sense of integrity and character about them. They have all their cards on the table and they aren’t ashamed of which cards they have or how many of them they have. ”Here I am. This is it. This is all of me.” They seem fearless in their honesty.
I once thought that if I tried to be good at everything, then I’d have no problem being comfortable in my own skin. Aha! Problem solved! If I could be great at everything my hand touched, then I could finally be real! Too bad that didn’t work out. If anything, my pursuit of ‘realness’ in this way led to a more insecure, self-centered condition as I quickly became aware that I am not nearly capable or talented enough to be good at even a minute percentage of what I tried my hand at. Then i tried to stop caring all together. Maybe if I showed less emotion and thought about things less it would free me up to be who I really was. This phase didn’t last too long. I’m a terrible stoic. I’m too emotional and I care too much to simply stop thinking. And then I tried what I dreaded the most- I opened up to people. This last one seemed like a no-brainer. You want to become real? You want your insides to match your outsides? Well start letting people in and be vulnerable for a change. Let people know what you’re really thinking and what you’re really struggling through. Allow people to see the real you. Break down the walls and open the gates. It seemed like the answer was staring me right in the face- You want to be real? Allow the real you to be seen. And so that’s what I did. I opened up to a few people in hopes that the flood gates with fling right open and I would eventually be free to be who I was with anyone. I unloaded everything on my heart, careful not to overwhelm them. I showed these select few just how dark and twisted my heart was. I was honest about everything. I hid from them nothing. This was the truest I had ever been in my life. I took off the mask I had been wearing and was exposed. And yet, as I write this, none of those people are actively in my life at the moment. None of them have kept up with me. None of them have followed up or inquired about anything I’ve shared with them. Instead of finding liberation I found anger, bitterness, frustration, and rejection. Can’t believe I shared! Can’t believe I opened up! What was the point?! Forget them! I don’t need them! They clearly don’t need me. How could they abandon me?! I was more insecure and closed off than I had ever been. It just all seemed so… meaningless.
I just came back from a retreat. The theme was renewal. And in many ways, it was more for me than it was for anyone else. My heart is in such new of renewal. I’ve read somewhere that we often listen to ourselves more than we talk to ourselves. That’s why I try to preach and remind myself of Christ-centered truth and I guess that’s something I have to continue doing as I wait for God to change my heart. God deal with this. God rid me of the bitterness and anger and let me be the man you created me to be. Free me from all of this. I know you are faithful to those who trust in You. Count this as my surrender. May Your will be done.
When something is taken from us, our suffering is real and valid. But often, inside, we are disproportionately cast down because the suffering is shaking out of our grasp something that we allowed to become more than just a good thing to us. It had become too important spiritually and emotionally. We looked at it as our honor and glory- the reason we could walk with our head up. We may have said to others, “Jesus is my savior. His approval, and His opinion of me, and His service is all that matters.” But functionally, we got our self-worth from something else. In suffering, these “something elses” get shaken.
We must be about reordering our loves. Suffering reveals that there are things we love too much, or we love God too little in proportion to them. Our suffering is often aggravated and doubled because we turned good things into ultimate things. Suffering will only make us better if, during it, we teach ourselves to love God better than before.
Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel. -John Piper
How easily I forget
You will never know the fullness of Christ until you know the emptiness of everything but Christ.
Each had a score to settle with God. ‘I was hanged for a crime I didn’t commit’, complained one man bitterly. ‘I died from a disease that dragged on for months, leaving me broken in both body and spirit’, said another. ‘My son was killed in the prime of his life when a drunk behind the wheel jumped the curb and ran him down’, muttered the third. Each was angry and anxious to give God a piece of his mind. But when they reached the throne and saw their Judge with His nail-scarred hands and feet and His wounded side, a ‘man of sorrows and acquainted with grief’, each mouth was stopped
"If we again ask the question: “Why does God allow evil and suffering to continue?” and we look at the cross of Jesus, we still do not know what the answer is. However, we now know what the answer isn’t. It can’t be that he doesn’t love us. It can’t be that he is indifferent or detached from our condition. God takes our misery and suffering so seriously that he was willing to take it on himself” -TK