Monday, January 31, 2011

My Face Hurts!

"A man's wisdom makes his face shine, and the hardness of his face is changed." - Teacher in Ecclesiastes

I was listening to NPR on the way to my office. I don't know why I listen to NPR, it just makes me feel stupid most of the time. One reason I listen is I've been duped by the false belief that if I listen long enough I'll start getting smarter through some sort of osmosis-like-radio-wave miracle. It hasn't happened yet. I'll let you know. Or perhaps my blog posts will become super-duper brilliant and you will know!

They were talking about opera this morning. I'm starting to suspect that NPR has a secret list of things that they talk about in order to make the commoner feel extra stupid. As they blabbed esoterically on about opera, one of the hosts said in a very matter of fact manner how we all have two faces - one we show to the world and one that really is us. I'm thinking, "Ouch, this isn't the kind of material they should share on a Monday morning."

Sadly, this (smarty-pants) radio host (meanie) has me pinned. Yesterday I cheerfully shared with two Sunday School classes what we're called to in ministry with Student Venture. And yesterday I was a ball of nerves, anxiety, comparison and fear. I definitely have two faces. Melissa can confirm it.

It's not that I'm a total hypocrite. I confess my hypocrisy hypocritically before every hypocritical message I share. God help me!

No don't get me wrong, I believe I can share cheerfully about God's call on me without hypocrisy. He has done and is doing something exciting in us and in our ministry with teens. But sometimes I really, really don't feel up to the task. Sometimes my face positively hurts from my personality disorder!

It's in these times that God reminds me that he's about the transformation in my life of giving me just one face. A face that shines the same light before men (to get biblical) that it shines before Melissa, my children and is reflected back to me in the mirror every morning.

That's why I love the Gospel. The gap between who we really are and what we show to the world isn't supposed to be there, it's supposed to disappear. We can be ourselves the more we let God's wisdom shape who we are. Our faces, as the verse above says, can move from being hard to actually shining!

There is hope for people like me on Mondays. The week I face isn't impossible. I don't have to put up all these pretensions to face the world. I can simply turn to God and ask him to take my anxiety, fear, comparison, and my host of hypocritical sins that I feel I must hide and grant me his face of peace, his face of Shalom.

Here I KNOW I don't know what I'm talking about. It is very mysterious. But the very grace that already payed for our fake faces, is now at work on us, giving us the reality of a new face. I wonder if this is what CS Lewis was talking about in "Till We Have Faces?" I bet it is... Yeah, I figured it out! On a Monday too!

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