It would seem that we live in a society that embraces “reality TV” as its newfound passion. Folks are so interested in the “real” lives of celebrities, they’ll tune in weekly to see the goings on of their favorite stars. The actual reality is that those shows and basically every other reality-based programming are scripted, edited, and spliced together to form what producers call “good TV.”
I say that to say this: most of us conduct ourselves as if we are producing “reality TV” using our lives as the backdrop. You see, the vast majority of our existences, though not seen on TV or the big screen, are scripted, edited, and spliced together to show the general public what we would call our “true selves.” Honestly, that is the furthest thing in the world from who we really are.
My former pastor uses the term “ambassador” selves. What the rest of the world sees and believes about us is the “us” we allow them to see. We put the best versions of ourselves on display, while the “true us” stays at home in stark contrast to that “shiny and sparkling us” the public gets to see. The true us is flawed, faulty, broken, and weak. Who would want to see that version of us?
I’ll tell you who–God. He wants us opened and exposed. It is only then that He can perform a deep cleansing, a heart surgery of sorts, on us. We must come to terms with who we truly are before we can ever hope to overcome those weaknesses and flaws we have so carefully hidden from the people we have tried to impress over the years.
Take me, for example. Some people may take a look at me and think, “Man! That Herb Jordan has it all together. He has a stable job, great wife and kids, is well-liked by his peers, and does a lot at church.” While all that stuff may be true, that does not by any means indicate that I have it all together. You see, church, work, and the general public get my ambassador self. At home, it’s a different story.
In the vein of “reality,” I’d like to be real for a moment. The people who get my ambassador self don’t get the shortcomings, hang-ups, or attitudes those in my household see on a daily basis. My wife and kids can attest to the fact that I tend to be irritable from time-to-time. They will nod their collective head in agreement when I say that I can be argumentative and seldom admit to being wrong.
Ambassador Herb isn’t like that. Ambassador Herb doesn’t have an anger problem, but the real Herb does. Ambassador Herb doesn’t “pop off” when something annoys him, but the real Herb does. Ambassador Herb never had an addiction to internet porn, but the real Herb did. Ambassador Herb always knows what to say, how to pray an eloquent prayer, and has the charisma to engage an audience. The real Herb does too, but his gift is not always on display when folks aren’t “watching.”
The real Herb is a work in progress. The real Herb is still “getting there.” So, why write all this in such a public forum? Because it’s time for me and millions of others to be “really real.” While we should not give place to the devil by wearing our struggles as badges of honor, we should also not hide from them. There’s a very important reason why. Every fault and failure the devil meant for our destruction is a ministry tool in the hands of Almighty God. He can take our mess-ups and turn them into masterpieces for His glory.
Now that my real self has been put on display, I can minister to the needs of others based on what I have come through. I can counsel a man going through a porn addiction, because I have been there. I can help someone going through a divorce, because I went through one a decade ago. I can help someone who has grown up without a father, because I never met mine.
Just as important is the fact that I can be ministered to by people who have come through what I still may struggle with. Someone can help me with anger issues. Someone can help me to embrace the fact that I don’t have to be “perfect” all the time, or ever, for that matter.
Being real has multiple benefits. It releases us to be us. It allows us to be vulnerable, which allows us to be healed. And it allows our hurts to be a help to others.
So I say, let the cleansing begin! Let’s get real!!!