Tell me the truth: why do you love this image?

and this?

and THIS?

Every time I ask, the answer is this: “because it’s real.” It may not be the feature piece for our fireplace mantel, but its treasured none-the-less… because its real. Sure we get all dolled up for our photographs. We show off our “best” selves–no one wants their “average” selves or “not my best moment” selves on their wall for a lifetime!! LOL! But sometimes isn’t it refreshing to see a genuine moment unfold in the rawest of reality? (isn’t that why we, as a society, are so drawn to “reality tv”)? I think so.

I’m in a place in life where I’m reminded of being authentic. To NOT hide the real parts of me that I might be “ashamed” of because I’m conditioned to feel shame when I fall short of society’s expectations. I’m reminded instead to be real and to be brave. This week was a test for me. We have daily homework for our Bible study on Mondays and I hadn’t completed mine.

So, to be even more real: I hadn’t done ANY of the 6 lessons for the week.

MOST real: My workbook was blank.

Now, if this was a one time occasion, I wouldn’t be so embarrassed but the truth is, its a recurring issue for me. I am always caught off guard by Mondays. A week passes and it feels like its only been 2 days. Furthering my guilt and shame is the fact that everyone ELSE seems to find ways to fit in their weekly assignments and their lives are as busy (seemingly) as mine. “Why can’t you get it together, Elizabeth?!” a mental tape recorder repeats in my head– and I’m defeated.

Until this Monday.

THIS Monday something snapped. I was tired. I was exhausted, really. And I was looking for every truthful excuse to send an email to our group and bail out. I couldn’t come up with anything that wasn’t a flat out lie other than “I’m tired” and that wasn’t sufficient to me. Everyone else is tired too. I needed to go. Something just kept me moving forward and before long I was showered, dressed and loading the car. Then came the deciding moment: I was embarrassed for not having my homework completed. I was ashamed that I didn’t meet mine nor the groups expectations of me. What would I do? Would I “forget” my workbook at home so that when others glanced at my blank pages, they wouldn’t judge me? (Oh I WANTED to!!) Then that mental tape recorder magically changed its tape: “how about you just be who you are? Don’t pretend like you have it all together when you don’t.”

Whoa.

So I did. I took my blank workbook. And maybe (not to be the martyr) I was a secret breath of fresh air for someone who might have seen my blank workbook –maybe they’ll be a little easier on themselves when they “fall short” too? I think that’s what being genuine offers the world. I’m not talking about encouraging underachievement. Being real is about about being brave enough to face the world as the hot-mess that you are when your many spinning plates fall.

I do WANT to do my homework and I want to be a contributing member of my group! But when I fall short of my expectations and the expectations placed upon me, there is a test that I want even more to pass: will I conceal my “faults” by presenting something other than the reality of me to the world? (“I left my workbook at home on the table!!”–leaving everyone to assume all that homework is completed). Or will I be genuine–with grace–even when I might feel embarrassed or ashamed?

What will you do?

ps- Ironically, the subject of our lesson that I didn’t do last week was “prayer.” And merely hours after returning from the Bible study that i had no intentions of going to, I see this quote posted by a friend on Facebook: “In prayer we must lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us.” -CSLewis.

Coincidence? you can decide that for yourself. As for me, I think not. 😉

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4 Comments to feature friday: to be genuine

  1. Great post.

  2. Wow, this post really sums up my year so far. Thanks!

  3. We are cut from the same cloth. At 5:00 this Wednesday I was going a week’s worth of Romans before my small group met at 7:00 (not an unusual practice). LOVE this post :)

  4. If I could I’d click a “like” button to each of ya’lls comments. :) you’re the best.

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An avid equestrian and true lover of art, Elizabeth merges her love of the horse, beauty and human relationship into her images.

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