A few years ago my husband and I attended his niece’s wedding in England. Prior to this, his sister had sent me a dress which I had packed to take with me to England. Whilst we were over there she phoned me at our hotel one morning to discuss what we were going to do that day and I mentioned that I was wearing the dress she had sent me. She said she couldn’t remember ever sending me a dress!
A little while later we met up and she took one look at me and started to laugh. It was a good few minutes before she managed, in between laughing, to tell me that what I was wearing was actually a night dress. I told her that I had worn it out in public in South Africa and friends had complimented me on the lovely dress that I was wearing! This just set her off again! The outcome was that I had to borrow one of her dresses to wear and we went to Marks and Spencer’s and she took me past the pajama section and there, indeed, was my dress hanging up in the nighty section!
That incident has always reminded me of people who ‘aren’t’. They aren’t real, they aren’t honest and just as my ‘dress’ was actually a nighty, people often pretend to be things that they aren’t.
Life is about relationships, about loving others, about learning to love ourselves, about loving God.
There are some people who pretend their whole lives that everything is “fine”. They live in fear that people will think less of them if they admit that they are struggling. By always pretending that you are ‘okay’ you rob others of the ability to get to know you, to share in your life, in the sorrows and the joys, the failures and the triumphs. Life is not meant to be lived in isolation – pretending to be perfect. If you are struggling and someone asks you how you are doing and you respond “I am fine, thank you. Life is great” you rob that person of the opportunity to empathise, to come alongside you, to pray for you. If your response to that question is “Well, actually at the moment I am going through a challenging time but it will be okay” you open the door for that person to offer to pray with you, to take you for a coffee, to talk about what the challenges are.
People that ‘aren’t’ are also not able to empathise or come alongside others because it becomes a very lopsided relationship with just one person sharing all the time.
We all need to take to heart these words:
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion” (Romans 12:15&16)
By pretending that everything is ‘okay’ you deny others the chance to rejoice and weep with you.