Hey Lent Devotional for Women friends, do you have a close friend or family member who, when you are talking to them in person or over the phone, you can tell when they are putting up a front, pulling your chain, trying to get one over on you, etc? Their voice may change or their mannerism changes and you know, “They are feeding me a line.”
Guess what? They may be feeding themselves one too! And as soon as it starts, you check out. It’s a false conversation so why bother listening? This Lent Devotional for Women is all about being a fake, a phony, and an imposter. It’s also about following one.
I’ve always wondered about the story of the fig tree in the Gospels. Why would such a kind, compassionate Jesus condemn a poor little fig tree with no fruit? I was reading a meditation on this story and it said, “You [Jesus] blamed it for professing to be something it was not! The fig tree with blooming leaves and no fruit was typical of pharisaical hypocrisy–all show and no interior virtue, all appearance, and no fruit!”
I’m going to jump back to my childhood for just a second in the Lent Devotional to start to unpack this one. Did you all watch The Jetsons growing up? Do you remember their phone?
I just remember one episode when the phone rings and Jane is still in her pj’s and has just woken up. So she hits a button and down comes a beautifully made-up Jane mask that sits over her face so she can answer the visual phone. Welcome to today y’all where a beautifully made-up person sits just on the other side of that phone you’re scrolling social media from. And now, we’ve even got filters!!
I get it, I do. I don’t really care to see someone else’s messy floors as I’m maneuvering through or sticking to my own messy floors. Look, I’m trying to avoid my own child-scattered Legos, as worthily as any American Ninja Warrior contestant! Sometimes you gotta keep your eyes on your own mess for safety reasons!
But don’t we all need some real? Don’t we need somebody else’s real on those days when our own real feels so isolating and condemning? I need to know someone else has Legos strung out across their floor, for miles and days. I need to know that not all kitchens look like they came off HGTV.
Some of us live in old houses built when wood was king and Formica was queen in the kitchen. An unmade bed, a pimple on a 50-year-old, chipped nail polish, and messy hair way past the whole “messy hair don’t care” mantra can make us feel like we’re not alone, running the race of life.
Let me say though, I do believe people can be too real on the other end. I’ve been truthful and transparent in this Lent Devotional for Women, but not trashy. And by trashy, I mean I’ve shared my struggles in a calm, reflective way, not a standing on the front porch hollering, someone needs to call the cops on me, trashy kind of way.
And by the way, that kind of trashy oversharing, I think it comes from a really hurt place. I think it is a wounded person shoving all their messy in our face and down our throats in all its glory as a way of proving how unlovable, unworthy they actually are; they are basically taunting us: leave me, shame me…show me I’m right!
Look, I don’t need to see your trashed-out car, your stained stuff, or your hoarder-like tendencies to know you’re struggling. Balance people–some people can take the whole, “Look how real I am” thing too far! It almost becomes a contest to see who can be the messiest or dirtiest!
We may want “show and appearance” for a hot minute but we need “virtue and fruit;” one shocks us and the other sustains us.
The reason we crave real is that we are real. I think part of the lure and trap of social media, especially Instagram, is because we want to see the real amid the curated images. So we scroll and scroll looking for that one image we can stop and say, “You too?!”
Our incessant scroll is an attempt to find that one image, that one curated image with a little blip, a bump, a something in it that makes us go, “Ok, I see some real here.”
Ladies, keep it real out there. We don’t want to be cursed like the fig tree looking like something it wasn’t. And we surely don’t want to follow a fruitless fig tree–code for a fake or phony person.
That’s honestly one of the things I love about our Online Bible Study Community! We show up in our pajamas, sitting in our bed, freshly washed faces and hair. It’s a beautiful group of women, being real in their desire to grow in closer friendship with Jesus, themselves, and other women.
But don’t keep it too real for competition’s sake! Have some class, respect for others, and respect for yourself.
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