My devotion was on the topic of authenticity today. Matthew 23:5-7, actually.
Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’
I have struggled with authenticity all of my life. Living to please others, caring more about what people think than what God thinks, wearing the fake smile, pretending to have it all together, saying “yes” when I really wanted to say “no.” In my past, I pretended A LOT. And because of that, I created quite a lonely little existence for myself and lost the skill to be authentic and lost my identity in the process.
I became a Pharisee. I pointed to the rules and pitied others who didn’t have it all together like myself. I faked my way through life, saying the right things, wearing the right smile, acting righteous on the outside and staying bitter and lonely all the while.
Last night, Cindy, Keith, and I were talking about high school and the words “judgment” and “hypocritical” were tossed around as descriptions for what we experienced. I went to grab the book that pierced my heart and broke through the darkness in my darkest moment, and it was gone. No worries. Amazon is my friend. So, I ordered four more copies of “12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (Like Me.)” It is time to read it once again. Anyone want a copy? My treat.
I am grateful for Cindy. She is one of the most authentic people I have ever known. She says it like it is and I KNOW her, inside and out. More than once, she said, “Oh, Rhonda, EVERYONE has a skeleton or several in their closet.” Even the most perfect people we know have an issue. Or several. Good to remember when holding myself up in comparison and feeling slightly jealous or less-than, which then causes me to point my finger and try to find their faults in order to make me feel better about my own skeletons.
I am grateful for Keith. He still makes me laugh with every word that he speaks. I love that we are friends, even 30+ years later.
I am grateful for Aunt Estalene. She is an angel who does not receive much fanfare for how she serves others.
I am grateful for time to sit at McDonald’s and enjoy Dwight over an iced tea and a cup of coffee.
I am grateful for Michelle who gave up part of her day last week to take care of my hair.
I am grateful for Angela who took the time to drive all the way over last night, just to have a bowl of soup and visit with Cindy and Keith.
I am grateful for Delores, because she called me in the middle of sadness yesterday and brightened my spirit.
I am grateful for wisdom and grace and humility that comes with growing older.
I am grateful for laughter and singing “Moses” in the living room with Keith and Cindy.
Which makes me grateful for Mr. Funk, my high school choir teacher.
And I am grateful once again, that I am who I am, all exposed and raw and sins on the front page, because it means that I am learning to become genuine and authentic, not counterfeit. And Jesus prefers it that way.