I came home last night from a long day of playing dress-up. It was a writer’s-stylized photo shoot and I was made up to look, well, not quite like myself. Mutant alien caterpillars on my lashes, dark eyes, Vasoline on my brows. Not my usual, daily routine of shower, brush hair, Cover Girl compact – and go!
When I walked through the door, hair piled on the top of my head, make-up still on, my children all stopped mid-supper to gawk at me. Lila announced, you look like some other lady. (She then asked if she could have my false eyelashes when I took them off.) And Alex earned a big kiss on the forehead by looking down and quietly turning back to the table, sighing, I like the way you normally look better.
He was right. The make-up wasn’t me. It was applied by an artist with a brush. She moved back and forth from the table to my face, squinting, tilting her head, tilting my head, dabbing, carefully smoothing, making a perfectly beautiful mask directly on my skin. She was painting an interpretation of me that suited the reason I was there, to look pretty and take pictures.
But my children, those who knew me best, were not fooled and they wanted the real me.
Soon, I tucked them into their beds. I read Where The Sidewalk Ends with my eyelashes off, but make-up and up-do remaining. I’m being Eaten by a Boa Constrictor. Oh, heck, he’s up to my neck. Oh, dread, He’s up to my head…mmmmphggfffffffff.
I kissed them goodnight and come out to wash my face and catch up with friends and the news of the day.
In my feed there were several articles, variations on a theme of a struggle within our churches and our culture at this moment in our history. I read two, similar, but different approaches. Each full of grace, though they came from different angles, and I believe the authors have different final interpretations of exactly what is right and what is not right.
And it struck me, as I read, that I was only getting frustrated and overwhelmed by the complicated nature of our hearts and the maze of twists and turns our emotions and over-analyzing brains can lead us through (or get us lost in.)
And I realized this:
I don’t want to read a hundred different books and blogs and that all put their own blush and gloss on my God. I don’t want a prettied up, culturally acceptable and stylized savior. I want the real one. I want authenticity. I want to see Him as He chose to present Himself to us, through the Bible. (Oft confusing and unsettling to my finite brain as that may be.)
Of course, I am also human and can understand the desire to want things my way. I want everyone – EVERY ONE – to be kind, to know love, to treat one another with respect, to know that their flaws are no greater than mine, that their lives are okay and we can all go together into the night singing Kumbaya around a giant bonfire.
I am like my children, who don’t always love my rules – which are generally there to grow and protect them, to keep order in our home (or to simply keep the apple juice from spilling on my couch for the thousandth time), they ought to obey. It is in their best interest, whether they understand my reasoning or enjoy listening.
As their parent, when they obey, I am pleased. And when they obey without grumbling or stomping their feet, I am even more pleased. When they tattle and finger point and remind me that their sister had done something WAY worse the day before – I am not pleased.
In the same way, maybe, we ought to be focused on our own obedience first and foremost, and love others – regardless of theirs.
Of course, this leads to a lot of other conversations, and authenticity is really something that has been on my mind lately and will probably appear more as a theme here in the future. But at the moment, I am about ten minutes out from the bus pulling up and I have not even had a cup of coffee yet.
That, and I don’t want to ramble too far on my own, to try and pretty-up my savior or lessen the glory of the grace of my salvation through Him, by saying anything less than thoughtful, prayerful, or from me (and my coffee-less, scattered, time-to-pack-the-lunches brain) at all.