I’m sick and tired of being taken for someone I am not. That’s one of the reasons I care about image. I care about truth. I care about being seen for who I am. Now, once you see me, you can love me, you can hate me, you can not care a whit. But see me for me.
It’s hard to be seen as yourself.
First, it’s hard because there are multiple facets of self. The facet of self that I show at the gym is not the facet of self I show at church. Not that I would be ashamed to have my pastor visit me at the gym or my coach come to church with me. But different personae. (I’ve actually had people who knew me casually at the gym *not recognize me* dressed in my day-to-day clothing).
Second, it’s hard because the World reads your outer-self, and makes assumptions and puts those on you. I’m short. I have a feminine face. I’m curvy. I have spent my *entire adult life* being treated like I have the brains of a teddy bear. I’ve been heavy for the past couple of decades (which is changing) and there are a lot of assumptions there about my health, my strength, my endurance. Etc.
Third, because of my group associations, the World puts values on me that may or may not be true. One of those group memberships is my membership in the Body of Christ. Christians, particularly conservative Christians (which I am), are getting progressively more negative press. Things are being said of me and my family-in-Christ that aren’t true. And then things are thrown on my Lord that are false. We were told to expect mud to be thrown on our names – but on His? No. What I can do to represent my King well IS my responsibility. But I can’t do this alone.
And *that* is one of the reasons I wrote the book. That’s one of the reasons I have been hitting hard on trying to get more FB followers. No – I don’t care what the press says. I *do* care what people in the community think. And screen life, while it is taking up progressively more of our collective time and brainpower, doesn’t compare to real life – or real relationships.
I come back, so often, to CS Lewis’ essay, “The Weight of Glory”. In it, he talks about how our societies, countries, institutions – those are temporary. It is our neighbors, our friends, our coworkers, the cashiers at the grocery store who will live for eternity… somewhere….
I can represent Jesus well to those people. I can pick up the cross of being kind when I don’t feel like it – because I’m out as a Christian, and people will remember how I acted when I was tired. I can choose to dress nicely (when I would rather be scrubby) so that people who like shiny things (aka mammals) are attracted to my presence – and His. I can be ready with an answer to why I believe (1 Peter 3:15) at all times.
We’re not put on this planet to compete with each other for the title of Most Perfect Christian Lady. We’re here to be like Christ. To show forth His glory. To assault the very gates of Hell to see our friends and neighbors saved.
And that means we must speak the language that they speak, and be understood for who we are. For who He has made us to be.
It’s work. But it is work worth doing.