A fading beauty steps into a hip city cafe. Her brow filled with botox, eyes and lips coated in Monsanto’s finest. Her hair and nails look and feel like nothing found on earth. She checks with the waiter (twice), “Is the tofu organic? Is the chicken steroid free?”
Why? Because she wants her food natural. She insists that her chicken and tofu salad be authentic. Like the rest of us, she likes to keep things real.
But are we striving for what is actually real or are we content with just a thin photo-shopped veneer of real?
We object to counterfeits when it comes to our $20’s and $50’s, what about when it comes to who we are? Are we authentic or are we playing out a fantasy?
Reality TV Panel: “Who told you that you can sing?”
Hopeful: “All my friends and family tell me I have an amazing voice.”
Reality TV Panel: “I’m sorry, you can’t sing and you are never going to make it in this industry.”
Deluded: “How dare you cheat this girl out of her dreams!”
But it was not reality that cheated us. It was the fantasy.
The problem with reality (and it’s a good problem) is that it calls us to account. It draws back the curtain and asks, “Is it real?”
That was Jesus. He came into this world – His world – and started peering under the lid and asking awkward questions about our love, our faithfulness and our devotion. He went about asking, “Is it real?”
Jesus was authentic. But when Jesus walked the streets many cried foul. He interrupted our sleep and woke us up in the middle of the darling dreams we were all having about ourselves.
Put simply, are we honest with ourselves and others about who we are – or are we faking it? Are we just pretenders?
Or, as a friend of mine put it recently, are we willing to be fully known?
Reality doesn’t go easy on our fantasies, but that’s because reality is actually on our side.
Fantasy says, “You can have, be or doing anything you like”, or, “fake it till you make it”. Reality counters: “The truth shall set you free.”
Jesus came into this world to deliver us from the crippling effects of failed fantasies and calls us to an authentic life. One that admits that the desperation we feel inside cannot be satisfied by a new hairdo, or a new car, or a new wife – or a new fantasy.
God is reality and when reality walks into the room, we have a choice. We can confess that the fantasy going on inside us is not in accord with reality and we can begin to experience life on His terms. Or we can take our chances with the fantasy.