Monday, January 09, 2006
You Like Me... You REALLY Like Me!
I'm dating myself here by using this quote. Sally Field's famous Oscar acceptance speech started out with this catch phrase. I'm kinda wondering if we all don't wear a shirt like this one. I think it would be more accurate if it had a question mark at the end of it. "You like me? You REALLY like me?"
I'm speaking from my own experience here. No matter where we're at, who we're with, we often fall into the "do you like me?" mindset. For me it conjures up nightmares of the 8th grade hallway before school. Do I cruise the halls with my friends checking in with "the cool people" or do I play it safe and hang out outside the bandroom with the other band geeks? What it comes down to for me is simply acceptance. Am I accepted or part of this group or am I not?
Mars Hill Bible Church's Pastor Rob Bell quotes his wife on her definition of what's SEXY: "It's someone who's comfortable in their own skin." I would like to also transfer this same definition to someone who is likeable. I think the most likeable people are people who are comfortable with themselves. Comfortable enough to be fully present in a given social setting; not have to dominate or compete in that setting; and ultimately show genuine interest in others. Whenever someone feels the need to dominate or control a given setting, he/she automatically emits a "not cool" vibe which can send people away like bad B.O. The basis of this need for control is fear.
Here's something that I've been brewing on for a few days: FEAR KILLS COMMUNITY. In every shape and form. Fear brings out the worst in community: lack of trust, superficiality, competition, jealousy, envy, - you name the sin. Looking back over my life as an approval addict, I realize how much of my time has been spent motivated by this fear of rejection. Particularly in the area of competition. I have that alpha male syndrome that crowds out other males because of fear of competition. I often "image manage" to make myself look better, causing me not to be fully present in a given setting but looking for a way to control the situation to make me look good. Big confessions here.
I've thought about what the opposite of this fear is and came up with this: LOVE FEEDS COMMUNITY. Also in every shape and form. Love brings out the best in community. "Pefect love drives out all fear." 1 John 4:18. The Corinthians "love chapter 13" talks about this kind of love: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." Not self seeking! Ouch! Not envious! Eww! Not boastful? But what about me!!!?
So what does this mean for me? I can tell you this, that since God has planted this in my heart, I will do my very best to simply BE. I apologize to all those who I have tried my not-so-crafty skills of image management on. No more. I'm done.
Final thought - I guess I need a new t-shirt. I think it will say, without being overly egotistic: "I Like Me." Anyone know a good, cheap, custom t-shirt place?