Again I catch myself doing it: saying the thing that will win me coolness points, the thing that will make me part of the gang, the thing that will make the people I’m talking to look at me with affection and respect and acceptance as one of them.
It’s a longing that’s always there in the background and I have to fight it, because it’s a hopeless and stupid game to play – hopeless because no human being can ever give you the total acceptance we all crave. And super stupid because I already have it – from God, who is the only one who is capable of total, unconditional, unwavering love.
I didn’t always know this love, and when I experienced rejection as a child – kids do this stuff much more clearly and overtly, and fifty years later I still remember those kids who, older than me by maybe two or three whole years, said: go away, we don’t play with babies – if I had known Jesus back then, it would have hurt much less. Just as now when people hurt me I know I can turn to him for comfort and – here’s the wonderful bit – there’s nothing that can ever make him stop loving me. There’s nothing I can do or say that would shock him – he already knows me inside out – and nothing that would make him decide: oh no, if she’s capable of that then I can’t be her friend anymore.
I got to thinking about this recently when one of the main characters in the novel I was reading talked about her marriage, and how when she first met this guy she was pretending to be someone else – someone a guy was more likely to want to marry – so he fell in love with a girl who didn’t exist, and when she stopped pretending and allowed him to see what she was really like, she found he didn’t like her as she really was. Which is such a painful thing! I remember reading a book once that talked about why people put on a show and hide their true self from others, and it said something like: I’m afraid to tell you who I am because you may not like it, and it’s the only me I have!
I hang out a lot on social media, sharing my real self with the world out there. Now and again someone decides they like me and want to be friends with me, and some of these friendships have developed over the years, deepened and blossomed. I even have a pink fluffy unicorn sent to me as a present from a social media friend half way across the world :-) But there have also been people who suddenly, abruptly, decided I’d said something that’s beyond the pale and blocked me – even people who had been super friendly before.
I won’t try to pretend it never hurts when that happens. But I will continue to constantly fight the urge to try and please people – because it’s impossible to please everyone all the time anyway, and I don’t want that kind of situation the woman in that novel was describing, where you pretend to be someone else and then, when they discover what you’re really like, you get rejected. I’d rather show you the real me and have a few real friends, rather than putting on a show and letting the fake me be super popular, while the real me hides away in the cupboard under the stairs.
And I can afford to do this – to be real and to keep risking rejection from fellow humans – because I have the love of Jesus and his promise that he’ll never leave me or forsake me. And I know I can trust him to live up to that, because he knows me inside out, and his love isn’t based on me being good enough – he went willingly to the cross because I’m not perfect but he loves me anyway.
end of rambly post. sharing it raw, unedited, because I can’t bring myself to.