I have no desire to be fake. It's too exhausting. Take it or leave it, this is who I am.
Some of our family's darkest hours of getting along occur on Sunday mornings. What starts out as a leisurely morning of sleeping in just a little, then coffee and some breakfast....suddenly morphs into this stressful race to make it out the door at a specific time in order to not be late to church. And we are ALWAYS late.
You put-together families with your perfectly pressed shirts and lovely hair and sweet bows, I cannot relate. I will wear jeans, my kid's hair will likely look like a rat's nest, and I may be pissed off. Because that "Easy Like Sunday Morning" mantra is heresy. Satan gets all up in our business about 30 minutes before it's time to load up in the car. There's often tears, and not just from my child.
Our Jesus-loving, God-fearing family has one 13 year-old member that hates going to church and is annoyed by all things of our faith. It's a real fun thing to deal with. (Note: sarcasm is one of my spiritual gifts.) So, as you can imagine (no, you probably can't imagine), all wild cards are played on many Sunday mornings in hopes of derailing our family's church-goingness. By the time I plop my butt into a Sunday School chair, I'm spent. Empty. As I muttered to my husband yesterday, as chipper couples all around us were all chatty chatty and eating their delicious (not gluten-free) doughnuts, "This is pointless for us to be here." I felt far too angry and exhausted and frustrated and so on. I did not want to be there. However, I knew I needed to be.
I certainly didn't want to be chatty. I wanted to be in a bubble that was clearly labeled, "Do not talk to me."
I didn't have the energy to be fake happy. I did not have the energy to shake hands, smile, and say, "I'm fiiiine! How are youuuu?!" Gah. I was limping in, emotionally and spiritually.
And I am not going to fake it and pretend I'm fiiiiine. Because I wasn't.
A few minutes passed as we sat there in the classroom that we've been attending for a few months now. To my relief, I only had to exchange brief greetings with a couple of people. Thankfully, our introvert aura kept us fairly invisible as people made their way to their seats. Then our teacher came by on his way to the front of the class, stopping to say hello with a handshake. And out of his mouth came some precious words.
"You look sad," he said in a questioning tone of compassion.
Because I didn't fake saying I was fine. I simply wasn't.
"It's been one of those mornings." I replied with the ol' one-eyebrow-raised expression, trying not to let a tear slip out.
"I totally get that!" he said with a nod and a smile. "We have those at our house, too."
On he proceeded to the front. And I breathed. That's all I needed. As my husband and I sat there and soaked in his teaching, the binding grip of the morning's frustration began to ease up. It in fact was not pointless for us to be there.
If I were to guess, I would say that there are many people within the church's walls on any given Sunday that aren't fine. Wouldn't it be great if we would all be a little more real and let down that facade just a bit?
Maybe it's not just that being fake is the pits. Perhaps there is real beauty and freedom to be found in transparency.
The truth will set you free.