by Joel Lawler
My eldest son and I were talking about school. He is in Middle School. He has quite a few friends but there are some of his peers that do not like him. He stands out from his classmates. He is quite tall for his age. He also does not like sports. He loves to be in plays and has a real gift for music. He also has a strong personality. When he enters a room, he is hard not to notice. This makes life a little difficult for a kid in Middle School.
He told me something that I thought was very wise. He told me that he is not going to change just to fit in. He said that he is not going to be something other than himself just so other people will like him. He is mature to be so comfortable being who he is. Most kids his age try very hard to follow a script to be cool. They listen to certain music because that is what everyone else says they should be listening to. The dress with the latest clothes because they are told that is how they should look.
This started me thinking about how many times I perform in order to get people's approval. I am tempted to tell you that I do not perform but in doing so I am lying and therefore putting on a false self so as to win your favor.
What am I hoping to gain by living to meet other's expectations?
If I become something that I am not in order to gain your approval, the person that you are approving of is not me. It is a character that I am playing. The message I receive is that the person that I truly am is not good enough and I must be something false in order to be accepted by you. You in turn would be in a relationship with a fictional character, a lie. We both lose.
This false person cannot really love. It is all a façade. He has no heart because he is not real. His affections are phony and his motives are to deceive. He is a hypocrite in the truest meaning of the word. He is a fake. Who would ever want to be in a relationship with that paper person who is nothing but a fraud?
Eventually conflict will surface. I will resent my need for a mask and you will see through my performance. There is freedom in truth and lies are bondage. We were created to be free. We were designed to live in truth. The truth will always win out and lies will always be exposed for what they are. Our soul hungers for truth and vomits any lies fed to it.
A persona or false self is birthed out of fear. Fear and love cannot coexist. Love always trusts. Love is fearlessly true.
To love is to know and be known. We must be authentic and honest with each other for there to be love between us.
I cannot make you love me. I can be open, honest, vulnerable and true to you but the choice is entirely yours as to whether you will love me or not. You decided. The choice is completely yours alone. If I manipulate you in any way in order to gain your affections, what we have will not be love. You must freely choose to love.
Why would I want to receive something from you that you are not freely giving? That would be no less than theft.
If I am to live as I am created to, love and being loved, the performance must end. I must be rigorously honest with who I am.