Monday, May 25, 2009

The Temptation To Fake It

“The worst crime is faking it.” -Kurt Cobain

I was at a wedding this past weekend (which was really fun - seeing my past students getting married is always encouraging) and as I was watching people milling around the thought occurred to me "How many of these people are faking it?" By "it" I mean the positive and happy spirit that is punctuated by a "Great!" when asked how they are doing.

The reality is that being less then forthright about how we are doing at a public function is not necessarily terrible but it says something about our character. When someone asks us a direct question like "How are you?" you have 3 basic choices:

1. Be really honest. Ex/ "My spiritual life is in the toilet and we are $30k in debt - how do you think?"
2. Don't lie but don't share all (be vague). Ex/ "Could be worse," "Alright," "Not too bad."
3. Fake it. Ex/"Great! Couldn't be better! Can't complain about anything!"

Eventually faking it always gets us in trouble. It is deception and deception is wrong. In the above example the effects are minimal - we usually just feel deceptive which makes us feel worse about ourselves and more alone. But faking it in ministry is very bad. Faking it as a worship leader, faking it as a pastor, faking it as a (cough, cough) counselor - eventually it catches up with you. Living deceitfully always takes it's toll. Sometimes it results in moral failure, frequently it is burnout, depression, or losing one's faith.

Personally, I am tempted to fake it because it gets immediate results. We like not being real: we get to keep our job/ministry, people still think well of us, we avoid the awkwardness. But such rewards sacrifice long term health for short term gain.

I'm not saying we should be vulnerable and true with everyone but everyone should be vulnerable and real with someone. Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness - instead it's a sign of strength and courage. Vulnerability is a form of self-love and love for others. We need to realize that when we are in community fakeness affects everyone. When someone is fake it encourages others to be fake - when someone is real it encourages others to be real. One should also not use vulnerability as a way to get attention or to manipulate others - I have seen that happen and that is not good either. But fakeness eventually hurts everyone - you, me, our community, and eventually the body of Christ. Is there an area where your fakeness is hurting you/others? What can you do to change things?

1 comment:

Liane said...

After weeks of people asking me "how are you doing" after my first miscarriage I started saying "ok" even when I felt bad. Often because I didn't think they really wanted to know, or I didn't wanted to take up their whole time. Often peope just ask because, I mean I don't think the sales person really cares, so i guess we get used to faking it