Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Authenticity & Image Management

“There is nothing more winsome or attractive,” writes John Ortberg in Everybody's Normal Til You Get to Know Them, “than a person who is secure enough in being loved by God that he or she lives with a spirit of openness and transparency and without guile.” He continues:

"One of the defining moments in any dating relationship is the first time the man sees the woman without makeup. Makeup is the art of “facial management.” You don’t want to let a guy look at your actual, unadorned face. So makeup is designed to make eyes look bigger, to make lips look fuller, nose look smaller, and hide the facial blemishes and flaws.

But it is not just our physical blemishes that we try to hide. Most of us work pretty hard to conceal the flaws that mar our character."

We learn this art of image management from an early age. Image management is simply trying to appear better to those around us than they really are. Sometimes these means are extreme, and at other times they are simple and very subtle in nature.

Our culture is full of examples. To mask, veil, or alter one’s self and appearance is more common than uncommon. We watch it on television and the movies. We read about it in the magazines and newspapers. We see it on the billboards. Ever since the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, deep within humans is a propensity to cover ourselves up – to wear make up.

John Eldredge sums it up well in Wild at Heart, comparing the way we veil our true selves to how Adam and Eve concealed themselves behind the foliage in the Garden of Eden: “We are hiding, every last one of us. Well aware that we, too, are not what were meant to be, desperately afraid of exposure, terrified of being seen for what we are and are not, we have run off into the bushes. We hide in our office, at the gym, behind the newspaper and mostly behind our personality. Most of what you encounter when you meet a man is a facade, and elaborate fig leaf, a brilliant disguise.”

Authenticity draws us out from behind the trees and causes us to drop the "fig leaves." It poises us before the One who created us and loves just for who we are. It is out of that acceptance with God that we interact with humanity. It is out of that posture that we no longer have to try to "appear" better than we think we are perceived, we can simply be who we are and becoming....

The following is a recent message given at SouthGate Church regarding God's intended design for us to interact with Him and one another authentically.

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