I want to post the story I read from an excellent book. If you have the opportunity to read it, go and buy it because it will help you so much in the search of true spirituality. Posers, Fakers and Wannabes (unmasking the real you) by Brennan Manning. (Story by Jim Hancock, Pgs 10-15)
“I first took advice from the Poser when I was faking my way through junior high. I wanted to fit in. I was afraid of being left out. The Poser helped me appear better than I was (or worse if worse was better). He helped me conceal the truth from people I thought might judge me as harshly as I judge me. I kept taking his advice because, mostly, it worked. The Poser is the man of a thousands faces. He taught me how to construct a mask for any occasion from whatever I found lying around. With my musical friends I was all about whatever music they liked. For my jock friends I was brooding and barely verbal. When I got with small kids I bluffed my way through by recalling trivia and making up stuff (wait a minute…I think I still do that!!) With the Poser’s help I managed to hold my own into high school, but it was hard, exhausting work. I went to church (spiritual face). I hung out with friends (wise face), I went out a little (sincere face). So many disguises, so little fun, playing all the roles without knowing who I was. Or if I was anyone at all.
I was on an impossible quest searching for my identity in the yes of other people. Some of them I admired too much because, as my friend Michael Yaconelli says, I judge what I knew about me by what I didn’t know about them. I feared some of them because they were power brokers who could make or break a person’s social status on a whim. I played to all of them. I didn’t know what else to do.
The eleven grade was a blur of happy feelings and good times. And I really was becoming a better person—treating people better and taking responsibility. What’s more, I felt more authentically spiritual than ever; sometimes I woke up in the middle of the night to pray and write in my notebook and the drift off happily to sleep again. It was wonderful.
Until I started faking it.
I asked around my hometown ad met someone who claimed to be a Christian like me. He seems like a good guy and we agreed to study the Bible together. We added another guy and another, the a couple more and we had ourselves a small group. It was good! I’d never studied the Bible on my own, and what we were up to seem alive and real in a way nothing ever had.
It wasn’t long before some good-hearted adults started to coaching me in a three-step outline for telling people about my new faith
I. My life before I met Christ
II. How I met Chris
III. My life after meeting Christ
What could be simpler, clearer, more honest and direct that that? Well, for one thing, the truth about step III: my life after meeting Christ. Six months down the road I would certainly have gotten a much improved on my spiritual report card. Not true really!!
That’s when the Poser checked back in. I was already on record with my friends and family that EVERYTHING HAD CHANGED! And it was too late to turn back; he suggested I should maybe dance around the actual facts of my experience to keep people from being confused and disappointed.
And that’s what I did for….I don’t know….twenty years. I was a peer leader, then a card-carrying youth pastor in those twenty years. I became a husband and a father. I spoke at retreats and created resources for youth workers. And I’m proud to report, with the competent assistance of The Poser, I made it work, mostly. I’ve been advised by The Poser to inform you that, unlike Brennan Manning, who will admit he is an alcoholic, sober by the grace of God. I’ve never been drunk, never smoked, never slept with anyone but my wife, never cheated on a test, and never shoplifted. You can see my record is quite clear right?
Uh….not exactly. All those statements are factually correct without being true at all because I’ve never been tempted to do those things. I haven’t been drunk or smoked, but I have been dangerously overweight because I’m constantly tempted to eat when I’m in pain or doubt or angry or sad—or, for that matter, happy. Food is my drug of choice (legal, cheap and readily available). I’ve never slept with anyone but my wife, but I’ve still lusty and sexually compulsive, and I’ tempted everyday to return to that behavior. I’ve never cheated on a test, but I’m constantly tempted to lie so people will think better of me.
Right now The Poser is very unhappy with me. He doesn’t like it when I talk this way. He is still afraid of the truth, afraid you will put down the book and ask for your money back because why in the world would anybody read a book by a sober drunk and barely recovering fake?
Brennan and I have agreed to tell The Poser to mind his own business while we set the record straight on a few things. Because we’re sick of being posers, fakers, and wannabes and. More than anything, we want to live what we most truly are—Abba’s children”
There is only one cure to Pretending and is call Realness.
If you think I am a Christian because I am perfect, I never lie; I shouldn’t drink, dance or curse. If you think I am a Christian because I go to church every Sunday, I am a pastor, I am youth pastor, I sing in the Choir. Then I don’t want to be the kind of Christian you want me to be. I don’t want to be The Poser, or the Pretender. I want to be real, to know that my life is a mess, my spirituality some times doesn’t look good, I don’t read the Bible as I should, I barely pray every week but as anybody else I need God.
Because I don’t want to pretend what I am not, but I want to show who I am.
Even if is messy.