If you went to a horror movie and it was starring Jerry Lewis looking like he did in the Nutty Professor 1963 (this was before the one with Eddie Murphy 1996) you wouldn’t know what to think when he came running into the camera, knife in hand with blood on it up to its hilt, or should I say you wouldn’t know whether to laugh or scream. Why is that? Because we type cast him as a comedian and expected him to be funny. Soap Opera writers have found a way to take the woman who is so sweet you would trust your life with her and gradually turn her into the villain that you love to hate and then back to sweetness again. Can you imagine Doris Day (for those of you old enough to remember who she was in light comedy movies) playing the part of a stripper, a drug addict or a child abuser? Again the answer is no because we have visualized her in a certain type role and we can’t change it.
I have found that in our every day life we type cast ourselves so that the people around us have certain expectations of us and when we act out in a different way people around us are so surprised and wonder “what happened” to change us. That’s ok if you were not being the “great pretender” in the first place. Sometimes I have felt like the great pretender myself and if that makes you wonder what I’m pretending, you are too young to remember hearing the Platters sing it on American Bandstand. Oh yes, I’m the great pretender, Pretending I’m doing well, My need is such I pretend too much I’m lonely but no one can tell.
OK, true confession time, how many of us are pretending that we are living happy lives when on the inside we are very unhappy? What’s the point? Class reunions are right up there with the worst group of pretenders. I went to one and the truth, to my shame, is I only went to compare myself with a peer group that I hadn’t seen in a number of years, yes I did. I sat at a table with a couple of people I knew and while they talked and as I listened to them I also listened to the room. The amount of sheer “bull” going on was amazing, so again I ask my question, what’s the significance?
Honestly I have done it all. I was married to a businessman that took me to social meetings and parties where I felt like a fish out of water. I wanted to make a good impression on his friends so I decked out and smiled my brightest smile, but the scenario always played out the same way. I was dropped in a group of people who were curious about my “religion” knowing I was a minister’s daughter and held weekly prayer meetings and Bible classes. At first I would answer their questions as if they really wanted to know God, but I soon realized that I was actually being ridiculed, and it was being done with no one around to support me. Then the questions would start about various TV evangelists they wanted to mock and the more they drank, the funnier the evangelist with the obvious toupee was. I tried to tell them about actual miracles I had seen and be a good witness but after a few times like this, I wondered whom I was trying to please? It certainly was not myself; I was tired of being made sport of.
One lady, that heard about the miracles, did call me and shared that she wanted a child and wasn’t able to have one. God gave me a word for her; I told her she would have a son. Not long after that I learned she was pregnant, then some sad news came and she called me, “You were wrong, not only was the baby a girl, she had Spina Bifida and I had her aborted! What does your God say about that?” I was mortified, but I am not God’s attorney and I wouldn’t have spoken if I hadn’t heard Him directly. I told her “This doesn’t mean you won’t have your boy child”, she answered “NO, I will never be pregnant again!” She somehow made it my fault but worse than that she blamed the very God she didn’t believe in! About a year later I learned that she had gotten pregnant and had given birth to the healthy son that God had promised her. I will point out that she never called and told me that fact and I never contacted her. That son is a grown man now and a pride to his parents, God never got the glory He deserved for this miracle given to one of His own household, (let the wise discern.)
I went back to conducting my prayer services on Friday nights, and leaving the social life to the one who wanted it. Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
I never found the need to be a pretender to anyone again. What you see is what you get, warts and all however, I will not tell you my age (didn’t I say I was a work in progress?)
In eternity, none of the people you wanted to impress will matter; they will all stand before the Throne just like you! Galatians 1:10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.