Will You Come to My UN-Masquerade Party? Part 2

7:59 AMHeather

Yesterday, I blogged about the masks we hide behind and my heartfelt yearning for authenticity.  In myself.  In my faith.  In my relationships with others.  It's sort of becoming a soap box for me.  When I think about what fires me up, this topic is right up there.  I didn't intend to add a "part two" when I blogged yesterday.  But, as I prayed and thought through my post for today, I felt compelled to expound.  And, so, here we go.

I'm a list maker.  For everything.  Maybe that's one reason I love pinterest?  If you follow my boards, you know I'm a sucker for pinning anything like "52 Ways to Organize Your House", or "77 Great Date Nights."  I couldn't wait to check out "10 Things Your Child Needs to Hear," especially with the comment under it that said that the first on the list wasn't to be missed.  Ugh.  SO disappointed to click the link and NOT see a list or even find that elusive #1 DON'T MISS thing to say to my children.  Guess that seals my kids' fate for future therapy to recover from their upbringing.

Today, I present to you, five ways to work toward joining the UN-Masquerade party.  These are things to do if you are striving for authenticity, 5 things to remember to start walking that road.  And, I pray that this is a list worthy of being pinned or remembered or even printed out.  

1.  You must be intentional.  In this first week of school, my head is spinning with the parent meetings, rehearsals, practices, and activities.  We are a busy, on the go culture.  There are a million things to add to our day planner.   A million distractions.  A million demands on our time that make us feel important and needed.  And, there's one great way to be sure we are tending to the most important places where we are needed.   BE INTENTIONAL.  This means, if necessary, schedule a regular time in your week or your day to be one-on-one with each child, with your husband, with your friends, and most importantly, with the Lord.  Carve it out and mark it in pen.  And guard those important intentional appointments with your life.  No exceptions.

2.  Disconnect in order to connect.  Funny that I think our culture has advanced light years in technology that is designed to help us connect to each other.  But, I what I see is the opposite effect.  We are so connected that we are disconnected.  We can know in a moment's notice when Johnnny checked-in at a local restaurant through Facebook, but when was the last time you looked at Johnny in the face?  For the love of all that is good in building authenticity--step away from the iPhone, the iPad, the lap top, the twitter, the Facebook, the Blackberry.  And no one will get hurt.  Truly--I wonder what social ills await a generation who have no idea how to look someone in the eye and dive in deep to share life together?  To a child whose parents peer over their screens and answer their little ones with "uh huhs" as they multitask between social media and social interaction?  I'm as guilty as the next one.  But, I've decided I'm going to try HARD to work on this one.  Because before we can ever get real with each other, we gotta connect with each other.  And not through such profound language such as LOL or TTYL.

3.  Be willing.  Yep, when the rubber hits the road, you simply have to be willing.  You have to purpose in your heart that you are WILLING to take the plunge and get real.  You are willing to step out in faith to be vulnerable and work at this thing called genuine faith and relationships.  No more pretending.  No more pretenses.  You gotta be willing to let your guard down.  When it comes to your walk with the Lord, you gotta trust him with it all--the good, the bad, and the ugly.  No pretty Sunday-only faith here.  Just an ugly, here I am, I do believe, help my unbelief (Mark 9:24)!  And, be willing to do the same with those in your life, bathed in prayer for wisdom.  Quit hiding behind the make-up always done, perfect hair, cute clothes.  Truly.  I know we are Texas women.  But, our beauty is not in our big hair and our trendy clothes.  Our beauty is in a heart that lays itself bare to connect deeply with someone else who's been hiding their heart's clutter behind closed doors.  Be the trendsetter!  Which leads me to #4....

4.  Make the first move to reach out.  I had a pretty tough-to-swallow epiphany the other day.  For much of my adult life, I've struggled with some deep relational hurts.  I've got some holes in my heart that I've been looking for someone to fill.  And, last week, I felt the Lord whisper to me, "Quit looking.  Instead of waiting for someone to reach in, you be that person to someone else."  Ugh.  I can work myself up imagining the fulfillment a person could give me from old wounds.  But, I realized that instead of an Eeyore longing, I need to jump out to BE that person to someone else who has a longing.  I realized that when I seek His kingdom to reach out to others, all these things will be added to me.  And my needs WILL be fulfilled.   

5.  Press on.   On this quest to being real and pulling off our masquerades, the truth of it is that real life gets real messy.  People go through physical illnesses at inconvenient hours.  The demands and burdens of life beat down people emotionally.  Behind the pretty smiles, there is the ugly cry.  Called so for a reason.  As one who has a few valley experiences in life, I can encourage you with this thought.  We can't fix it most of the time.  But, the truth of it is, don't we just want someone to hold our hand as we walk the tough roads?  I loved it when people stuck around through even the ugly cries.  So I try to tell hurting friends, "I can't fix it.  But, I'll get your back every step of the way."  The real trick is actually DOING just that.  Sending a Scripture through an e-mail or picking up the phone.  Or holding their hand and passing the Kleenex as needed.  Over.  And over.  And over.  That's authenticity. And, when people hurt our feelings or betray your trust or disappoint us, we can't throw in the towel.  We gotta have some grace on ourselves and on others.  Sometimes that might mean wisely establishing new boundaries as we offer forgiveness.  And, sometimes it just boils down to pressing on.  We aren't perfect people.  We just have a perfect Savior.

And, that, my bloggy friends, is my five steps toward authenticity.  Will you join me in saying enough is enough?  Will you decide that skimming the surface in polite and shallow relationships won't suffice?  It's a big risk, to be sure.  But, not one without big rewards.  After all, don't we have an example of our Savior come to earth to connect with 12 men in a unique and intimate way?  And, from those deep relationships, an entire world was reached.   

So toss that mask over the corner.  Be ready to let your clutter show.  

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