Have you ever read something and thought, hmm, that’s me? Well, once again Brennan Manning has described me to a tee. Read a chapter in the Posers, Fakers, Wannabes book at lunch today titled The Poser. He talked about how everything he did was designed to either please someone or to look good for someone. Except him. That’s the way it is for me, always trying to look the part of wherever I am or for whomever I’m with. Although I’ve gotten somewhat better at being me, for the most part I still play the role I think I should play for any given situation.
The Poser in me trembles at the thought of disappointing people. Fear makes him incapable of direct speech. He hedges, waffles, procrastinates. The Poser is scared silent by the threat of rejection.
Yeah, that would be me. Or at least was me. Over the past 20 or so years I’ve managed to change quite a bit (go figure). And I’m happy about it. But I can still remember vividly how I would shrink into the background at parties. Or I wouldn’t ask anyone to do anything because I was afraid that they would say no. Or put off doing something I wanted to do because it was kind of corny or goofy.
I have sinned in my cowardly refusal – out of fear of rejection – to think, feel, act, respond and live from my authentic self.
I like that quote because, so often, I knew that I should do something, yet didn’t because of one of those reasons. And missed the opportunity that was right in front of me. Out of simple fear. The Poser is within and knows me as only I know me. He takes the harshness of religion that I was exposed to as a child and turns it against me. The picture of God not as a loving Father but as a harsh step-father. The guilt that was driven into me during tent revivals, which weren’t revivals at all, but were attempts to drive people towards God by threatening them with hell. Listening to my earthly father reinforce my insecurities and fear as he told people from the pulpit that now that he had the chance to raise a grandchild, he wishes he had just skipped his children and gone straight to the grandchildren. That’s right, I’m worthless, repeatedly reinforced.
Now that I’ve broken out of those chains, I can see how binding they were. That is why I focus only on grace at church. I figure that there are plenty of other people to focus on the do’s and dont’s. And that’s why I speak when I want to, no longer caring what others think. Years ago, I would have avoided any chaos at all like the current roiling that is going on within my family. Be a good little fella, don’t say anything. No, Poser, that is not the way this one is going to go. Late.