When I was little, every Sunday, I’d get up early and go to Sunday school. I’d smile at all the old ladies who talked about what a “sweet girl” I am. I’d go to potlucks and pretend I liked the broccoli casserole. If I something upset me, I never showed it. It felt like people expected me to be “perfect”, and I attempted to reach their expectations. By my tween years, I’d mastered the tour-guide-Barbie smile. I was always happy, even if I wasn’t. I was a good girl, and people liked me.
Well…actually, they didn’t like me. They liked the mask I put on. They liked the nice, non-threatening, always smiling girl who never rocked the boat. I’d gotten so good at acting, that I’d almost convinced myself that tour-guide-Barbie actually was the real me.
But here’s the thing. I’m NOT always happy. Sometimes I don’t feel like praying and reading my Bible. I don’t always watch “Christian” movies *gasp*. And I don’t like broccoli casserole.
Preacher’s kid or not, all of us have had expectations placed on us. Sometimes by other people, and sometimes by ourselves. We’ve all been less than our true selves, and I’m assuming that all of us have “put on a mask” at one point or another. Some of us are so good at “acting the part” that we end up fooling ourselves along with everyone else.
Think about it. Who is the real you? What interests you, and why? How do you feel about certain things, and why do you feel that way?
If you’re like me, you have two answers for each question. The scripted answer that everyone wants to hear, and the real answer that…well, it can be more intimidating. The scripted answer is perfect. It’s non-threatening and doesn’t require people to really look at our hearts. Example: “How are you?” “Oh, I’m great!” (never mind the fact that my dog just died and my best friend is moving to Australia). The real answer, however, is less clean cut. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows…and it requires us to be vulnerable. Vulnerability makes people uncomfortable.
Being real doesn’t mean that you always vent your issues to people. Authenticity means knowing that you are a work in progress, and embracing the journey. It means that you’re willing to put down the mask and risk being vulnerable. Being real means that you know who you are and that you agree with how the Lord sees you–and then you show that God-given self to others. Why waste our time striving to change for other people, when we can be transformed by God?
“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…” Philippians 1:6
Sometimes I find myself falling back into the act…trying to be whoever I think other people want me to be. But you know what? The Real Sasha, despite her imperfections, is pretty amazing. The more time I spend with the Father, and the more He helps me get to know her, the more I like the Real Sasha. NEWS FLASH: The Real You is pretty incredible too.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” Jeremiah 1:5
What is one baby step you can take to learning more about the real you?