This post was originally shared in 2008 and has been updated for relevancy.
Showing face. Keeping up appearances. Sittin’ pretty, if you’re southern.
So much of what we do is about presenting a respectable front.
Me? I have a habit of drawing attention to myself at all the wrong times.
Give me a good hair day when my skin is glowy and my outfit is totally put-together and my child is being a literal angel, and NO ONE is around to experience it. I’m blending into the totally put-together wall, over here.
But oh, no – try me out when my hair looks like my toddler fixed it and I’ve sweated every bit of makeup off and I have spills and crumbs stuck to my shirt. When my kid loses her cool because she’s three.
Everybody catches that little show.
I think it’s programmed in us. The whole fight-or-flight thing, if you want to get technical. Because our ancestors were on the lookout for things that could go wrong, like wildebeests, now we’re always scanning our horizons.
You’re welcome to ask Jesus to validate that statement, but you can do that on your own time, ok?
Anyway, I think that we’re all so worried about what others see in us when they’re scanning their horizons that we start to obsess over the way we’re presenting ourselves.
Yes, even crumb-covered, sweaty me.
But the life of a Christian was never promised to be a polished and put-together show of dignity.
We’re all familiar with God’s words to Samuel; “man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart. 1 Samuel 16:17”
Samuel’s mother knew a thing or two about looking the fool. Brokenhearted and longing for a child of her own, she was mistaken for a drunkard in 1 Samuel 1:
“As she [Hannah] continued praying before the LORD [that He would bless her with a child] Eli [the high priest] observed her mouth.
Now Hannah spoke in her heart; her lips moved, but her voice was silent. Eli thought she had become drunk, and said to her “How long will you be a drunkard? Put away wine!”
Hannah said, “No, sir, it is this; I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit. I am not drunk. I’ve been pouring out my soul before the LORD. Don’t consider me as a pagan drunkard, because it’s in my grief that I am crying out.
Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace; and the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him.”
Thanks a lot, Eli. Being the high priest, you might expect that he would speak with compassion. Or, you know, the booming, thundering voice of someone with a word from the Lord. Whatevs. He did none of those things, jumping immediately to the worst conclusion he could make about a brokenhearted person seeking the face of God.
Our girl Hannah was a champ, though. She was willing to step outside the box of what worship looked like. She decided to approach God with everything she had. And she looked crazy. Like a regular, babblin’ fool, if we’re reading between the lines here. But she didn’t care. When people didn’t understand her, she was ok with that, too. She sought after Him with her whole heart.
God doesn’t care about our wild hair or stains on our clothes or glowy skin, and He commands us to look past all that when we see others around us, too. So the real question is this: have you considered stepping outside the confines of your public persona and being willing to humble yourself and be real?
That’s a tough ask, but one with great reward, because it’s a decision propelled by pure-hearted submission to Jesus.