Lights, Camera, Action…

So this morning was anything but ordinary. My daughters and I had the opportunity to audition for a short film that will bring awareness to trafficking. Not just human trafficking but different types of trafficking. And hopefully, it will also bring in some new projects and interest in our small town.

Being from small town U.S.A. has its downsides. Like the fact that there isn’t necessarily a buzzing night life or a lot of things for teens to do on the weekends or during the summer without having to  drive to neighboring cities. But it also has its perks. Like being on a first name basis with your physician or knowing who your neighbors are. Not just what they look like, but really knowing them. Or do we?

As I walked through the audition location on my numerous trips to the restroom (thank you, nervous bladder), I found myself looking at all these people rehearsing their lines, getting ready to “act” like someone else and thinking to myself how much the entirety of it all was more of a resemblance of real life than a film audition.

Some times we put on a little too much makeup, hoping to cover up a self-perceived flaw. Or we wear certain colors to make ourselves appear thinner. Or we don an accessory to draw attention to a more flattering part of our bodies. Yours may not be Cover Girl or Maybeline. It might be a smile that you plaster across your face to hide the pain of a broken heart. Or a cheery voice that says, “I’m doing great!” when you really feel like Humpty Dumpty and all your parts are scattered about with no hope of being put back together again.

Moms, in my opinion, are some of, if not THE, best actresses in the whole world. Seriously. If someone had cameras that followed us around all day, every day, we would all have a nice little golden man sitting on our mantles. Some of y’all know exactly what I’m talking about.

We can be about to snatch our children bald-headed in the car on Sunday morning and as soon as we get to the door of the church and the greeter asks how we’re doing, we slap on that smile, shake his hand and say, “I’m just fine Brother So-and-So. How are you this morning?”. We can be in the middle of breaking up WW III in our living room and become a totally different person with a different voice and everything just by the telephone ringing. We’re threatening the kids with our bulging eye balls, gritted teeth and blunt hand gestures while the person on the other end of the line is having a lovely conversation with Holy Holly Homemaker.

We can fool just about anyone for a short time. Teachers. Cashiers. Bank tellers. It’s just what we do. We can turn “that voice” or “that look” off and on with the flip of a switch. But those who know us….REALLY know us…aren’t swayed by our phony upbeat voices or smiles. They know the real us. The “no-make-up, hair-in-a-ponytail, stay-in-your-pajamas-all-day- long” us. The “my-husband-left-me, I-just-got-fired-and-someone-ran-over-my dog-so-excuse-me-but-I’m-gonna-stay-in-bed-and-cry” us. The “I-can’t-find-my-cell-phone, I’m-sick-of-this-messy-house-and-if-you-smart-mouth-me-one-more-time-you’ll-regret-it” us.

Can you imagine how exhausting it would be if we had to pretend to be somebody else all day, everyday? Yet so many of us do and then we wonder why we’re so tired and worn out. It’s not from our jobs or kids. It’s from starring as the leading actress in “Days of Our Lives”.  Why do we put ourselves through it day after day? What are we afraid of people seeing? That we aren’t perfect? That maybe when all the costumes come off and the makeup’s removed, we aren’t so different after all? Whose approval are we seeking anyway? Whose approval are we yearning for when we constantly pretend to be who we clearly aren’t? God’s or the world’s?

God knows our hearts. He knows our motivation. He knows our intentions. There is not one person on this earth who can search our spirits or hearts like He can. He’s never impressed with our “performance” because He’d much rather spend time with the REAL person He created.

Maybe the reason we were made with so many faults and imperfections to begin with is so that we can look at our brothers and sisters and say, “They went through this same thing and the Lord brought them out on the other side.” Or “You know what, I know you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel right now, but I’ve been where you are right now and you don’t have to do this alone.” If we used our true, unedited experiences to edify and encourage one another instead of pointing fingers or shaming each other, we would have no need to pretend to be anything or anyone other than who we are.

I thank God that He is one of those who knows the real me. He knows my imperfections, but He also knows my heart. I don’t have to pretend to have it all together or to know all the answers. I can stop right where I am and say, “You know what, Lord? I just can’t do this any more.” I don’t have to smile when I really want to open the flood gates and squall my eyes out. I can just sit down, cry, and allow Him to bottle my tears. I don’t have to keep quiet when I want to scream at the top of my lungs because He understands my frustration. Does that mean I have a free pass to walk around being a tyrant and mistreating people? No. But it does mean I don’t have to act like I’m perfect. I’m free to be the real me. Which is a good thing because it’s the role I was created for.

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