When someone asks you to define the word "Fake", what would you say?
I would say it means to be untrue, live a lie.
I grew up in a world where pretending was a key in day to day living. I had to be fine. I had to be good. I had to be responsible. I had to show the world there was nothing broken at home and we were a very good christian family. No one, I'd say, truly put that on me...but it was an underlying expectation in our home life.
Now, I am not going to sit here and trash my family or my upbringing. My parent's did the very best with the tools they had been given. And no one comes out of childhood without some sort of "unhealthy" that they learn from the generation that raised them. The concept of fake, though, was something I learned very early. And even now as I looked back while reading this book, I know the things to an adult wouldn't seem very "terrible" and so it's easy to think we as children are simply making a "bigger" deal than was actually true. But our emotions as children are wild and untamed. They are not seasoned or hindered. They are what they are.
God calls us to have faith like a child. To come to Him like little children. We are called to come to Him unhindered, brokenhearted, happy, sad, hurt. He never says we may only approach the throne on our good days. But this is a lie we are taught from the world around us. It is one that begins small and in a worldly setting from people who are also broken, just trying to make sense of their own selves and lives. Hiding emotional truth has become the accepted behaviour. Faking fine is the norm and the only side most other's would like to see.
The thing about lies though, they catch up with us. Whether it be mental breakdowns, burnout, addiction, etc. We all eventually suffer the downfall of always "faking fine".
When someone asks, "How are you?" What is your natural, run of the mill response? Mine is, "Fine". But in truth, perhaps that was a morning where I felt my whole world crumbling. But hey, I said it with a smile, so it must be true.
I've just finished a book that has been on my shelf a while. God knew I'd need it eventually. And as usual- He met me with it, hand outstretched. Hard truths and all. No More Faking Fine- Ending the Pretending, by Esther Fleece was truly revolutionary for me. Some how I've been a believer since I was 5 and never knew about the practice of Lament... Do you know what it is?
By definition, too lament is "a passionate expression of grief or sorrow". This is a practice shown in the bible everywhere. From David, the man after God's own heart, to Psalms written by numerous authors in the Bible. A crying out to God in times of great hurt, anger, turmoil, disbelief, and sadness. Honestly, I'd read many before, but never gave pause to question why those grievances were laid out in black and white years later for me to read. See, I, deep down believed that God didn't want to hear about my hurt, anger, frustration, etc. I would often air these things to a close friend, but not on the regular, to the Almighty (Even though I knew He knows everything...). And if I did get angry at Him, I was instantly filled with regret, guilt and anger at myself as I was fearful of Him and what He might "do" because I lashed out. But through this book, I have come to understand that I've been missing a key element to my relationship with God. The practice of lamenting to Him.
God shows us a world of broken people in His Word because He cares about the broken places each of us carries. He has felt the things we feel and so much more. The concept of having a relational God and the gift brought through Jesus Christ to have a real relationship with the Almighty, is to have just that, a relationship. Your best friend isn't the only one who cares to hear your hurts, your losses, your ups and downs, God wants this too. And the thing thats different about telling Him is that through the practices of lament, you find a path to true healing, peace and truth.
For years I have struggled with the anger deep inside from hurts I received as a child. From the ugly lies I took out of what people said to me, even if what they said wasn't the actual lie, Satan twisted my young mind to believe a lot of horrible things. And those lies followed me into adulthood. Today I am a person who doesn't have faith in herself. Doesn't believe she is capable to do anything. I've been making excuses for so long that it's second nature to me. All I've had running through my mind for years was a voice of untruth.
Life as we know it is upside down here in North America and all around the globe. This virus has brought a whole new world, none of us would have ever really thought we would see. And although we aren't sending our loved ones to war, many send theirs out to hospitals, grocery stores, banks, etc everyday. For me these days look like, the kids at home full time, my husband back in his home office working his normal hours at his job. We have had all we needed and more, so I feel guilty if I even think to complain or feel badly toward "staying home". But, the fact is I miss my day to day norm. Do you?
I went into this virus "stay home" order full force. Being aware, thoughtful. Capable. And just making the best. My days were a run of busy and kids and cooking. I jumped on tasks of to-do's I'd been meaning to get to for a while. And then I crashed a bit hard. I'd been hiding, once again behind my busy. My control. Not my trust in the Lord, even if I was saying I was and chalking up my "peace" to Him. Really I was hiding, avoiding telling God how I really felt, for fear of Him thinking me ungrateful.
But I realize now that faking fine only makes the emotions and truth of my hurts, fear, and dislike all the more catastrophic. I came to tears, and in turn I came to God. I told Him how I felt and why and that I didn't understand all of this. That there is so much noise, it's been hard to decipher the truth in the media. I poured out to Him unhindered, like a little child would.
Now, I'd love to tell you that I instantly felt the peace of the Lord wash over me. And all is well and fine now, but truthfully, I still feel sad. I still feel lonely and overwhelmed, but it was a first step in the right direction. Through it I was reminded that the things that mattered have slipped to the whey side in the last few weeks. Devotions, journaling daily, writing. Things I know that are good for me and bring me closer to God, and yet were the first to go...Why do I do it that way? But here is the fact, God found a way to stir up my heart, and I finally turned and came to Him. And now, just as any relationship, I must rebuild.
I'm not fine, but I'm alive. I am gifted with this day, this lesson, this life. I choose to be glad in it.