Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Breathe {inspiration for Wednesdays}

A friend of mine will occasionally sub at a certain preschool here in my town - which, by the way, makes her an automatic saint because that may be the last job I would ever choose to do!  Anyway...a few weeks ago she was asked to sub quite frequently.  On her second or third time back, a little boy ran up to her excitedly and exclaimed..."HEY!!  I remember the other day when you were pretending to be my teacher!!"

Of course, my friend laughed as did I when she shared that with me.  Kids have such a way of seeing the world, don't they?  But then I started to think about the indictment  (can we say "out of the mouths of babes"?) of that statement.  That little boy saw my friend for what she was...a fraud.  She was not the real teacher, nor was she doing things the real way, but she was trying to act like she knew how everything needed to go.  I believe we all call that "pretending".

Just how many times in life could my "inner child" run up and accuse me of pretending to be ___________ (fill in the blank with something I am not)?  

How about when a friend asks me how I am doing and I answer, "Oh, I am fine." 
What about in the middle of a conversation when I realize I don't totally understand what is being discussed but I'm too embarrassed to ask, so I just nod occasionally to acknowledge I am following along?
And then there are times when I realize I have been (gasp!) wrong when I've said or done something toward my kids or spouse, but I just keep going because I don't want to show weakness.
Of course, my favorite, and truly one of my many skills, is taking just a little bit of information and believing I know the whole story and can therefore decree incredible, solid principles that could not possibly just be my not-the-whole-story-you-weren't-really-listening myopic advice.
{pretending} I look at it, there are so many times I go on in life in a pretending sort of way.  I pretend to be someone I am not - to myself and to others.  And to be quite honest with you, I can get away with it a lot of times.  Pretending has its benefits.  People think you know what you are doing, you have it together, and they are quite impressed with you.  The problem is keeping up the facade.  It is not just a day or two subbing at the preschool, but a full-time career and that can be exhausting!!

Worse yet...while people may fall for it, God doesn't.  (I know...I've tried.)  Sometimes when I pray I try to tell God how I think He should solve a problem or what He should do.  Recently, I had a conversation that went a little like this:

me:  God, this thing is really bothering me.  I think I am going to fix it by __________________(some great plan I came up with!).  Will You please bless that plan?
A little while later God replied:  Hey, Tara?  
me:  yeah
God:  Remember when you were pretending to know everything and be in control?
me:  uhh....yeah?
God:  Well, when you do that, you are pretending to be Me....and, I don't really need a sub.
me:  ouch
God:  Let me remind you of something.
Here's what I want you to do:  Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God.  Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage.  The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace.  (Matthew 6, from The Message)

So..the challenge?  I am attempting to live a little less as a pretender each day, although I've acquired and mastered many skills in it over the years.  To leave the pretending and role playing behind and just simply be me.

Breathe, smile and go slowly.

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