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i had lunch with a friend the other day, and she remarked once again how she likes that i am "real". i suppose i should have clarified to be sure she does not in fact have imaginary friends, but i'm pretty sure i know what she meant. and i take that remark as a high compliment. now, i may not always announce what i'm thinking -- my inner monologue is frighteningly active -- but if you ask me specifically, it's unlikely i'll pull any punches. aside from some quirks and idiosyncracies, what you see is pretty much what you get around here. although some people might get more than others...

a few weeks ago i had what could be described as an "accidental accountability" experience with a close friend. it was surreal; bizarre. one moment, we were sitting around watching television; the next, we were sharing vulnerabilities that very few others knew about ourselves. let me tell you: it doesn't get more authentic than that. maybe it was the smirnoff. more likely it was trust. sharing yourself with another person requires a great deal of it, and amazingly, it is returned to you a hundredfold.

brokenness is a humbling thing. 

"Our depressions, jealousies, narcissism, and failures are not at odds with the spiritual life. Indeed, they are essential to it. When tended, they prevent the spirit from zooming off into the ozone of perfectionism and spiritual pride."  -  Brennan Manning

i often wonder why it's such a struggle for us to be authentic. life isn't always shiny and happy, so why do we act the part? i mean, let's face it: we've all got problems. i think part of our struggle is that we've lost what it means to live in community. we are a collective of individuality. i don't need you; i can do it on my own. everything's fine. except we were created for interaction, for relationships. connectedness. to act like we've got it all together is to deny our own brokenness...

it is late for my brain. for real. my apologies for the lack of cohesion. 

Posted on Thursday, April 13, 2006 at 11:32PM by Registered Commentermdog | Comments8 Comments

Reader Comments (8)


I agree wholeheartedly.
Apr 14, 2006 at 10:38AM | Unregistered Commentermeegs
Apr 14, 2006 at 11:35AM | Unregistered Commenterblogging paul
"more likely it was trust. sharing yourself with another person requires a great deal of it, and amazingly, it is returned to you a hundredfold." - Yes. Absolutely. I believe what you are getting at with your question about why we struggle to be authentic relates to our need to be accepted, balanced with our need to be truly seen.
At the end of the day, I've still struggle with this, but being truly seen, I've decided, is the only way to be accepted, authentically.
Such a great post. I like you when your brain is tired.
Apr 14, 2006 at 05:54PM | Unregistered CommenterTB
I think this "being real" has more to do with level of self-disclousre based on trust than outright inauthenticity. It's not like I spend a lot of time on image-management (admittedly some), but I'm also not likely to tell my whole life story to the first person I meet. There's this almost magical moment in a friendship where you feel secure in that relationship, where trust is high and where you know they won't pummel you because of your shortcomings or broadcast them to the world. Before that moment, there can still be authenticity, just not full revelation. Interestingly, sometimes that moment comes really fast (I've experienced it in a few weeks), and other times it's excruciatingly slow or never comes. I guess we all have this longing to be known, but we'd like to choose to whom we will be known.
Apr 15, 2006 at 04:25PM | Unregistered CommenterJared
yeah, that disconnect prompted my comment on the lack of cohesion. i completely agree that we don't have to -- nor should we! -- reveal everything to everyone. [yikes.] i guess my first example was more of a 'lack of image management' kind of real; the second was more of a 'ya gotta let some people in deep' kind of real. and like you said, both contain authenticity in their own right.

overall, i still think that we could always learn to be a little more relaxed, and consequently, authentic... especially those of us surrounded by christian culture.

and i love the magical moment observation. so true.
Apr 15, 2006 at 07:24PM | Registered Commentermdog
it's easy to be real when you are perfect like me and have no problems.
Apr 17, 2006 at 11:08PM | Unregistered Commenterblogging paul
the question is, real WHAT...

Apr 17, 2006 at 11:19PM | Registered Commentermdog
One of my struggles on the mission field is, astonishingly, the lack of authenticity. It has really surprised me how closed off a lot of people are down here. I expected a new level of "bondedness" amongst the community here but it's been so difficult breaking through and making some good friendships. I know one of the reasons people hold back is the fact that they're afraid to get close to anyone due to the high turnover of people going back home or to other mission fields but that has never stopped *me* before. I guess I can't expect everyone to be like me but I figure we're not going to apart forever, we have eternity ahead of us so what's holding us back? I can't stand going to the English speaking church down here because there is such a coldness in the air and it makes me really upset to see that in this kind of environment. It has made me miss the friends I have at home who I have gotten comfortable enough with to be vulnerable around and honest. It's the way I was made and I haven't felt like myself since I've been down here because people put up a barrier that makes it seem impossible to become "real" around them. I have finally been able to be broken and vulnerable with two other girls down here and it's made a huge difference. We both have the same outlook on the community down here and just keep praying that walls will be broken down. The missionary life is definitely not what I had expected... in fact, I'm a little dissapointed. Maybe that's my own fault... perhaps my expectations were set too high.
Apr 18, 2006 at 03:33PM | Unregistered CommenterMels

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