Let’s Be Real
By Dot Bowen
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)
Halloween is Friday, and children have been planning their costumes for some time so they can pretend to be someone or something other than the person they really are. My grandchildren picked their costumes out months ago. They are adorable and so excited to dress up even though they are often too scared to walk up to the neighbor’s house to trick-or-treat. Pretending to be something or someone you are not in order to get what you want is not reserved just for Halloween. I’m afraid it’s very easy to become so comfortable pretending that we find ourselves believing we are that person.
For years I was not comfortable being myself because I was afraid when others got to know me they would not like me. I appeared confident on the outside, but on the inside, I could not face the real me. I began to believe I was who I was pretending to be. I often say, I’m not sure if you have to go through menopause before you are free from caring what others think. There’s something about getting older that’s caused me to accept who I am and embrace I cannot make anyone accept or like me. Even blaming menopause is a cover-up because I really do want people to accept me. It’s hard to not try to be who we believe others want us to be.
I believe we often pray to God speaking as the person we believe He wants us to be rather than going before Him as we really are. It’s not uncommon for me to talk with a woman who struggles with the desire to be accepted by others while at the same time rejecting the person she is herself. This is quite obvious on social media. Do you notice how happy everyone appears on social media? Everyone shares great quotes and opinions about something of value even if they don’t live true to those values. The need to be accepted is so deep within us that we will go to great depths to find acceptance. The fear of rejection is just as great as the need to be loved and accepted.
When I worked with students, I saw many teens get involved with peers they never would have sought out because that particular peer group accepted them. I've seen single women get involved with men they normally would not have not considered dating in order to avoid feeling rejected. My heart has broken over shattered lives devastated from the desire to be accepted, including my own. I didn't realize what I really wanted was to be loved and accepted so I chased after the very thing that later rejected me. Many hearts and lives have been broken over the strong desire to be accepted.
I’ll never forget the moment I realized the only One who will ever love and accept me is Jesus. King David wrote an amazing Psalm describing that God created us, God knows when we sit or rise, God knows our thoughts before we even speak, and God created our inmost being. God knitted us together in our mother’s womb, and He says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Why do we seek the approval of others when a Holy God accepts us as we are? We do not need to pretend to be someone we are not. God created us to be the person we are! God—our Great Creator—didn’t create any two things the same. Everyone and everything He created is unique and beautiful in its own perfect design. I will never enjoy the woman God knitted together in my mother’s womb if I try to be the person I believe others will accept. The truth is you cannot make other people love or accept you.
Our Creator gave us a choice to love and accept Him. He doesn’t force us to love and accept Him, so why do we try to make others love and accept us? It’s time to put away our costumes and enjoy the man or woman God created us to be. This Halloween try something new and enjoy the sweetness of knowing that a Holy God accepts and loves you just as you are, not as who you think you should be. We should have as much respect for ourselves as our Maker has for us! This truth is not a trick, but a treat for us to know.
Further Reading Psalm 139; Matthew 10:30