Friday, August 30, 2013

perfect isn't real: the foolish art of hiding your crazy.

I think I’ve always been pretty good at hiding my “crazy.”  I’m sure, like most people, I think I’m better at it than I actually am.  You know what I mean by your “crazy”…those parts of yourself that are less than becoming; your quirks, personality flaws, major turn offs even.  Despite your best efforts, I know you’re not perfect, because I know I’m not.  Some may not even know what theirs is, but everyone has their own set of crazy.

Our culture rewards people based on their ability to hide their crazy.  All you have to do is observe candidates running for office to witness this in action.  Slick suits, smooth rhetoric, a sweet smile, and charming, winsome words.  We run toward people who seem to say and do all of the right things…at least while people are watching.

They who have mastered hiding their crazy get the most (first) dates, followers, job offers, and birthday wishes on Facebook.  In a world of photoshop, tummy tucks and auto-tune, we begin to believe our goal is an unreal and unattainable something.  It breaks my heart.  

Sometimes I can’t help but think that so little has changed since Jesus walked the earth.  The religious teachers looked the part, spoke the law perfectly, followed every regulation, and were highly revered because of it.  No wonder John the Baptist didn’t make much of a splash with this crowd!  This unkempt, bug-eating, wilderness dude’s presence didn’t quite compel the masses into preparing for the Messiah.  The average folks didn’t have ears for someone who wasn’t bright and shiny on the outside.  The dude was out there.  Jesus pointed out to his disciples in Matthew 17 that an Elijah had come back to prepare for the Messiah.  It was John the Baptist and people didn’t recognize him in camel hair cloak.

I’ll admit, I can often struggle to see beyond the crazy of others.  1 Samuel 16:7 always gets me. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."   I am guilty of this.  I have been drawn to those who hide their crazy well and have lived most of my life wanting to fool others into thinking mine doesn’t exist.

As I’m maturing, I’m realizing the truth of 1 John 1.  “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”  I’m over mastering this “crazy hiding” art.  It makes me tired.  It makes me wonder if people would really love me if they knew my quirks and shortcomings.  I don’t want to blindside someone with “who I really am” and I don’t want to be blindsided by someone else.  I've never felt so loved as when I've been in a community that is totally aware of my crazy, I of theirs, and we walk together growing in faith and wholeness.  Community is most beautiful when messy.  When you can be you and know you are loved.  Crazy and all.  That's what Jesus is about.  Loving us in the midst of our crazy and asking us to be honest about it.

I’m learning that lesson--to be drawn to people who are honest, healthy and working toward health.  Healthy people know they have crazy and are working on it.  They are honest and self-aware; understanding that people may take or leave them because of their crazy, but refusing to live any other way.

So I will tell you, if you want to prove to me that you’re perfect, our friendship won’t go far.  I am leery of perfection.  It only makes me more nervous about the crazy that bubbles beneath the surface.  If bits of my crazy are showing and I feel cast down, our connection will also be limited.  I’m tired of trying for “perfect.”  I’m working on “better,” while resting in “honest.”  Take me or leave me... glasses and s'mores on my face and all.

So how do we navigate the road between hiding our crazy and scaring people off with our freak flag  (especially if you're someone who would like to find a spouse or some friends)?  Stay tuned for part 2…