The most accurate picture of what I look like is on my driver’s license. I hate that picture.
On a couple of occasions I have needed professional headshots taken. I love those even though I don’t really look like how they make me look. It reminds me of the time when someone picked me up at the airport and said, “You look different from what I expected.” Silly man, he thought I actually looked like my glamour shot.
I think that one of the real, inner reasons we go to church is not to be impressive, but to be accepted. Yet, if I only show others my “glamour shot,” and I think they like it, then I will never really feel loved and accepted by them. I have a theory, unless God brings a radical healing to us we will forever be living out our junior high years. Over and over we will want the cool kids to invite us to lunch. We will want to be elected, made captain, or just not humiliated because we are smaller, bigger, smarter, dumber, taller or shorter than the others.
To begin to heal this brokeness we must summon our courage, face our fears and walk into church resolved to tell our truth. We don’t have to start with our darkest secrets. It is ok to “warm-up” a bit, practice sharing less severe or dramatic events. Here are some ideas that might help us get started:
1. Create a driver’s license picture church directory.
How fun would that be! Instead of nametags, just blow up your license, put a string on it, and, whamo, instant honesty.
2. Start an inside/out T-shirt collection
You don’t even have to say anything, just have a table full of T-shirts, and pick the one that feels appropriate that day. You’ll have instant conversation starter. Some ideas for the text on the T-shirts are:
I tinkle when I sneeze.
Maybe it wasn’t technically a business lunch.
I didn’t like the hair color God chose, that’s why!
I wear granny panties.
I pray before meals, but only when I think somebody is looking.
I cheat at golf.
I like it when people think I am humble.
I could stand to lose a few pounds.
The weight on my driver’s license is an “estimate.”
When I get pulled over by the police I act surprised.
I cheat just a little on my taxes.
My dog thinks I ‘m a shmuck.
I’m a little gassy.
3. Next time ask for prayer for a character defect instead of Aunt Martha’s bunion.
It is unusual to hear someone publicly ask for prayer for a moral ailment rather than a physical one. Even issues such as depression and anxiety, which are often beyond our immediate control, are seldom voiced as prayer requests.
Feel free to add to the list in the comment section below. Your quest for authenticity might look different from mine, but we want the same result: to say what we don’t like about ourselves, what shames us, what embarrasses us—and still be loved.