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Monday, July 6, 2015

Living Honestly, Being Real

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, Free Digital Photos

Transparency, being real, being true, being who you are. I’m not sure technology is helping us.

You see, there’s an image we show to the world.

I get tickled at those that put daily selfies on social media. They photograph their food in restaurants. They take professional pictures with their spouses and kids every few months. They look madly in love, laughing, happy, and they enjoy eating out.

Now, maybe they are madly in love. Maybe their family runs like a well-oiled engine. Maybe their kids actually enjoy putting their arms around each other for pictures. (I can’t imagine, but hey!) Maybe they do go out to eat as often as it seems, and maybe everything is hunky dory. And maybe the daily selfies represent real life.

Then, there are those folks—like me—who post very few photos and don’t show much, but we write a lot. I’m sure those of you who regularly read my blog have an idea what my life is like and that I love my husband and that we have children who are normal kids—adults now, but they were/are normal. And, oh yes, don’t forget the grandkids! (We're expecting the fourth any day.)

One thing I loved about Elisabeth Elliot was that she didn’t sugarcoat her life. She didn’t glorify people when she wrote biographies. She told the story as she saw it—as it really was. She truly didn’t think she was special or that she had done anything remarkable . . . even though she had. I think she had a right view of self and others, and I admire her for it.*

Another person I admire is Joni Eareckson Tada. She is frank and open and real.**

I love how the Bible portrays people. The Bible is the inspired Word of God, yet it doesn’t rosy-up the portraits of such spiritual giants as Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, John the Baptist, and Sarah, Hannah, Mary the mother of Jesus, Martha, and many others. We see them as they are. They are real people. They have their moments of doubt, their struggles, their fears, and negative circumstances, yet they trusted God.

I’m always challenged when I read David’s writings, especially the Psalms. His “daily selfies” really show who he was. He’s the shepherd trusting the Great Shepherd. He’s the persecuted man looking for refuge. He’s a king looking forward to the King of Kings for his salvation. When he sins, he repents genuinely, sorrowfully, and truly. When his son goes astray and becomes a murderer and then dies, David mourns publicly. When David experiences victories, he rejoices and credits the Lord.

Why does God show the whole picture in the Bible, instead of giving us only the positives? I believe it’s so that we can see ourselves in the biblical portraits. We can identify with others who have walked the same paths, experienced the same circumstances in life, and come out on the other side trusting God. We can look at Daniel, Jeremiah, and Hosea and see a glimpse of ourselves. We can take great comfort that the God over the lions’ mouths is the same One we serve. We can see His care and leadership, even when everything looks bleak. From Jeremiah, the “weeping prophet,” we read these words: It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him (Lamentations 3:22-25). Jeremiah preached and warned all his life without any visible results. He was faithful, and his listeners opposed him, yet he left a legacy of two whole books of the Bible for us to read today.

Are we real? Are we really who we portray ourselves to be?

I hope so. I trust so.

God bless you!

* My post about Elisabeth Elliot Gren can be accessed here.
** A book written by Joni Eareckson Tada is reviewed here

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