Tag Archive | Love

Would you rather be liked or fully known?

While scrolling through Twitter, which I do far more often than I’d like to admit, I came across this quote:

“Because what’s better than being roundly liked is being fully known.”

Intrigued, I clicked the attached link and arrived at an article by Jessica Valenti, who writes on “Feminism, sexuality and social justice. With a sense of humor.”

The article dealt with the tendency for women to cling to “likability” as a gauge for self-worth, “often to their own detriment.” Valenti described how women dial down their personalities and true selves in order to be accepted in career and social circles, and in doing so, lessen their power and effectiveness.

In other words, they lose respect and identity behind the cardboard personas they assume people want to see.

This was written from a specifically feminist point of view, but I believe the issue speaks to both sexes, and the culture at large.

We tend to fear rejection so much that we create multiple versions of ourselves to cater to different audiences. This usually happens subconsciously, like an innate survival tactic working in the background.

Jokes that fly with one group may fall flat on another. Transparency may be admirable to this friend, but the new acquaintance might be put off. So we shape-shift accordingly.

I often find myself smiling and nodding in a conversation with someone I completely disagree with for fear that they may judge me if they knew my opinion. This may be an effective way to dodge conflict, but it ultimately makes authentic relationship impossible, be it personal or professional. Read More…

Repulsive Truth

One thing human beings are notorious for avoiding is the truth. Unless, of course, the truth is that we are attractive, popular, or the latest winners of the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes. Often, the truth comes with a sting attached, a pinch that makes it tough to swallow.

But, unless we are content with living in ignorance, knowing the truth is essential. The problem for most of us, what makes it so hard to receive, is how it is delivered.

For the sake of illustration, allow me to create a fictional, yet plausible scenario.

Alan Davids suffers with a condition. His breath is insufferable, only he doesn’t realize it. And he’s a close talker, loves to tell secrets. People avoid getting close to him. They hold their breath when he’s near. Every person in his office has noticed, but no one has bothered to tell him.

Until one day.

Rudy Reynolds decides enough is enough. He relays the truth in one of two ways:

  1. At lunch, in the busy staff cafeteria, he yells from across the room, “Dang, Alan. I can smell your stank mouth from way over here. I swear, you have the worst breath I have ever smelled in my life. I think its time you had a date with a Listerine bottle. Good Lord.”
  2. After lunch, he asks Alan to speak in private. He politely tells Alan about his breath, and how at times it is hard to hold a conversation with him. “I feel horrible bringing it up, but I don’t want your professional or personal life to be strained by this. I’d rather tell you than have you discover that people are talking behind your back.”

Neither scenario is comfortable. In fact, both could end badly, depending on Alan’s response, but what separates the two is the motivation. The first scenario is driven by pride and humiliation. The second, loving concern.

Motivation makes all the difference.

“If truth isn’t undergirded by love, it makes the possessor of that truth obnoxious & the truth repulsive.” – Ravi Zacharias Read More…

We need to talk about your neighbors.

My neighbors are pigs. I should say, my neighbors own pigs. Five of them.

I’ll never forget when they first moved in. My wife and I were headed somewhere, and when we stepped out of the house, this guy was blocking our way to the car.

At the time we thought he was alone. We were shocked to learn he was only one of five, and that they lived inside the house.

Talk about pigs in a blanket! (See what I did there?)

Things quickly became awkward. The pigs constantly wandered into our yard, eating the grass and leaving “treats” behind. We were getting frustrated. But after time, and a few calls to the owner, they put a fence up. Now all we deal with is the occasional visit from their sweater vest wearing Siamese cat. I can’t make this stuff up.

Living among others is tricky isn’t it? Maybe you live next to the couple who always fights or yells at their kids, or the neighbor planting a car-part garden. Perhaps you enjoy a neatly groomed lawn and you’re convinced the guy next door has never used a lawnmower.

Maybe you are that neighbor. That’s an interesting thought. What do my neighbors think about me?

What kind of neighbor am I?

For me, it probably depends on who you ask. Beth, the sweet lady across the street might say I’m a nice young man. The pig owners may have a different opinion. I’m not sure. I don’t even know their names.

Not good for someone who takes the Bible seriously. Read More…

When keepin’ it real goes wrong

Have you ever said something that seemed so perfect in the moment, only to look back on it years later with disgust?

There I was holding the microphone, standing in front of about two hundred students. My task was to pick a few from the crowd to share their dreams for the future. My eyes fell on the girl waving her arms wildly from the front row. “What is your dream?” I asked.

“I’m want to be a singer. I want to sing in church.”

And then it hit me. Give these students a little taste of keepin’ it real. Show them how relevant you are. Oh boy.

See guys, I said. She doesn’t want to dress like a slut and dance around a stage like (insert pop sensation here). She wants to use her talent for God!

Cool, right? How pathetic. Sure, it got applause. It even caused an elderly lady towards the back to smile wide and pump her fists in excitement. But for what?

I still cringe when I think about it. That, folks, is how keepin’ it real goes so very wrong.

Read More…

No man is an island

Other than being locked inside of a bird sanctuary, I can think of no torture worse than solitary confinement. The thought of being in isolation is nightmarish.

It’s not that spending time alone is horrible. On occasion, we all need to step away from the noise to reflect in silence or read a good book. But even the act of reading is conversational, a kind of time travel dialogue between creator and consumer. The same could be said of music and film. Still, not even the transcendent power of the arts can replace the need for loving physical presence.

We are relational beings by nature. Nothing good ever comes from extended isolation.

Much of the violence, poverty and substance abuse in society can be traced, in part, to the absence of supportive parents and mentors. Obviously, there are several elements at play, but prisons are bursting with men and women with absentee fathers or mothers.

Clinics are busy treating grossly underweight individuals literally starving for a feeling of acceptance.

Transient men and women seek shelter in our streets unnoticed.

Many students walk through crowded halls feeling alone. Some look to death for solace.

It is not good for man to be alone. – God Read More…

Bon Jovi: Rocker. Stud. Apostle?

I don’t believe in reincarnation, but if I did, I would say that Jon Bon Jovi is the new Apostle Paul. A stretch? You tell me. Paul rode a horse (see Road To Damascus). Jon Bon rides a steel horse. People wanted Paul dead. They want Jovi “Dead or Alive.” The Apostle Paul once wrote, “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”(1 Corinthians 13:3 ESV) And Bon Jovi wrote “What do you got if you ain’t got love? Whatever you got, it just ain’t enough,” which is what Paul would have written if he had access to an acoustic guitar. I mean, come on. They’re the same dude, right?

Read More…

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