Sunday, 12 February 2012

Just Who Else Are You Trying To Be Anyway?

So, I had to leave church early today, because my son wouldn't stop crying when it was time to stop playing with the toy trains and listen to the bible story.

I gotta hand it to him.  He taught me something.

He's like the dude who goes to church cause he has a crush on the church girl... only my son's motives aren't concealed.  He goes to church to play with the train set.  And the slide, a little bit.  He might be the only person who knows exactly what his motivation is to go to church on any given Sunday morning.  And he's not pretending it's anything other than what it is.

You know, that's why I often feel more comfortable hanging around non-churchers than churchers.  Because so many religious people are trying to be something they just can't be: perfect.  And when they act and talk like they already are, it makes the rest of us feel... guilty.  I have a really hard time with a LOT of what happens on the stage at church for that reason.  Are you performing?  Are you putting on airs?  Or are you really this happy clappy? In which case I hate you anyway.

The people I find myself drawn to are the ones who aren't trying to be anything other than what they are.  Not hiding weaknesses or doubt.  Not concealing the fact that life sometimes sucks.  Bad.  People who will tell you they don't know the answer to the question.  But who are trying to find the best way to live their life.  Pretending you've already arrived is a great way to avoid having to do the hard work required when you acknowledge that your life, your relationships, or your personality isn't as awesome as it could be.

I might feel like the most cynical person who goes to church any Sunday I'm there. But I keep going because I'm being honest about where I'm 'at'.  And I still need to be there.  Now don't get me wrong - there are a lot of honest, sincere, and wonderful people who go to churches.  There's just also a tendency to have a simple answer to a complicated life question in that culture.

But religious people are just the example here.  People put on airs in a LOT of different ways.  For example, did you know that something like 90% of luxury cars are owned by people who can't afford them (and no, I have no reference for that, but it SEEMS right, doesn't it)? It's like music.  There's great rock and crappy rock.  There's great country and crappy country, and so on.  And the difference is usually whether the songs are honest.  And just like music, every once in a while you stumble across someone who's 'the real deal', regardless of whether their interests are the same as yours.

Have the tenacity to spot those people.  You can stick to like-minded people from your demographic who may or may not be shallow, or you can find people from all over the place who are being honest, and they'll teach you much, and make your life a lot richer.

And here's the takeaway for me and you: we would do well to be more like my son. Be straight about your intentions, be clear about your expectations.  Why are you in the relationships you're in? Why do you do the things you do?  Be intentional about it.  That's called integrity - meaning, you're the same on the inside as you are on the outside.  It will make you stable and reliable.  People know what to expect from you, and they'll be drawn to your example.

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