Sunday, June 19, 2011

Keeping It Real

Last week I had a real heart-to-heart with one of my children. It transpired after hearing a sermon at our church. Obviously conviction had hit big time and I was told of a particular struggle.

If there is one message that I have tried really hard to get across to my children, it is that they can tell me anything....I mean, anything. I told my child that I will try my hardest to never get mad at them when they confess something because no one is perfect. I don’t expect perfection from my children.

In fact, I told my child that if they never did anything wrong, I would be more suspicious. I want them to be real and just like I have things to work on, so will they. It is okay to have struggles. The real issue is what we do with them.

Grace is something I have tried really hard to dispense onto my children. I know the grace of God to such depths that I could offer nothing less. As parents it can be really difficult to navigate those waters, however.

After all, you don’t want your children to think that it’s okay to sin. You don’t want to dismiss the wrong things they do. But at the same time we can’t make our children think that they aren’t supposed to ever mess up.

I have been reading a book that has impacted me greatly. It’s by Craig Groeschel and it’s called “Weird.” The premise of the book is that as Christians we aren’t supposed to be normal, we are supposed to be weird…but not a goofy kind of weird. You would have to read it to understand it.

It just so happened that on the same day I had talked to my child, I later read this in “Weird”: “So how do we become weird (or weirder) parents? Not by pretending to be perfect and have all the answers. Instead, we must let them see our struggles as well as our strengths. Weird parents not only try to mirror God’s character on a daily basis but also show their humanity—their own questions, doubts, weaknesses—in the mix. They share answered prayers as well as the unanswered ones. They lose their tempers—and then are humble enough to ask for forgiveness.”

I love how real the author is (who also happens to be a pastor). He shares some stories that may raise some eyebrows but he is keeping it very real. That is something I have always strived for. I don’t pretend to have all the answers as a parent—in fact; I don’t know that I have any answers. But one thing I do have is “realness.” My kids see the real me and while they see the part of me that absolutely loves God, they also see the part of me that can really mess up.

I guess the point of this blog is really to encourage everyone to keep it real. That we would keep it real with our children, our spouses, our friends, our church and anyone else we come in contact with. But this also includes God. Believe it or not, there are many who try to fool Him.

Sure, we can fool a lot of people around us. We can have the appearance of a real “got-it-all-together” family. But God knows what happens behind closed doors. God knows the real deal. So why bother trying to put on a charade in front of Him? Why not keep it real with Him?

Perhaps that is why I love the Psalms so much, especially those by King David. He kept things real. Sometimes he got angry. Sometimes he messed up big time. But he was called “a man after God’s own heart” and I truly believe that part of it was because he was so genuine.

What keeps some people from being real is a fear of what others will think. They don’t want to be looked at as “weak” or to be viewed as someone who is lacking spiritually. We would much rather prefer everyone to see us as spiritual giants. But we can’t slay the giant until we deal with the little monsters running around inside of us. And yes, we all have them. It’s just that some of them are more obvious than others.

Being real also makes us vulnerable. That is a difficult place to be. But when we make ourselves vulnerable to God that is when real change can begin.

So what about you? Are you keeping it real?

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