A real woman is curvy, ladylike, feminine, slim, beautiful, graceful, happy, does not like to be a bother, quiet. REALLY?
A real man is strong, never cries, macho, tough, good at making things, out with the lads, like sports, a provider, the boss. REALLY?
A real mother is nurturing, self-sacrificing, patient, a good cook, cheerful, provides a stimulating environment, caretaker. REALLY?
A real Christian is always joyful and faithful, prayers all the time, knows all the books of the bible, never misses church. REALLY?
From a young age we are feed these types of stereotypes about what it is to be real. These stereotypes vary greatly depending on where you live, your culture and your family beliefs. The word ‘real’ means something that actually exist or occurs in fact; not imagined or supposed. So, by definition these lists of characteristics are not real, but they are just an opinion. Who are these so called ‘real’ people?
As a backlash against this ‘to be real you must be this’ message, a new message was created, just be yourself. And all though this sounds good on the surface, you do not have to look to far to see the cracks in this as well. It is more be yourself as long as the ‘yourself’ you are being is the one we tell you to be. Be yourself but use this product or buy this thing or go here and do this and then you will be yourself but an even better self.
With so many contradictory and confusing messages and the pressure to be something we are not; we learn to pretend. Plaster on a happy face and smile a fake smile and pretend we are all ok even if we are not, pretend we are all the things that we think we must be, we exhaust ourselves fulfilling an imaginary image.
The call is on us as individuals to be real, not a stereotype we have been feed but our real selves as God created us. Having real, honest conversations with each other not hiding our weaknesses or our strengths but having courage and faith to show the real us to others and accepting others as they are, not forcing them to conform to a version that is acceptable to us.
It is time we get real, especially as Christians we need to be real. The world needs us to be real. We need real churches talking about real issues and dealing with messy people. Christians who are truthful about who they are and the feelings they have and are not afraid of being vulnerable and open. By presenting a perfect airbrushed version of Christianity we isolate and turn away those who are broken and flawed, who look at the church and assume they will never accept me or understand the struggles I am facing. A broken world needs a real church, honest, raw and open to mess.
We serve Jesus and what we think is real is not important, the only opinion which is important is Gods. Lets get real and keep it real.
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.Galatians 1:10