Editor’s Note: This article is part of our second annual “Impressed” series. Keep track of the series here and enter to win the book giveaway here. Don’t forget, the more you share the Impressed articles online, the higher the chances are you’ll win a book! Also, make sure you’ve liked us on Facebook so we can keep track of you. Happy sharing, and enjoy
Years ago, while attending a week-long intensive family counseling session as we attempted to navigate our daughter’s recovery from drug abuse, I was introduced to the concept of masks. You might be thinking of Halloween or Opera or whatever, but this was different. This was about the “masks” we put on in order to cope with the situations or groups we deal with. The therapist encouraged us to look at and name our masks.
For example, our masks could be the dating mask, the parent mask, the professional mask, the country club mask, the mask that hides pain and on and on.These are “masks” we put on when we don’t want to be completely authentic or show our true thoughts and colors. Of course, the good thing is that they can help us to be socially appropriate and acceptable. They can help us to not cause hurt feelings, or to tear someone down. But on a bad day, they can literally mask who we are and decrease our ability to be real and authentic. I think we can safely argue that more often than not we need to drop the act and find a way to be authentic. This is the subject that is tackled in Scary Close.
We need to drop the act and find a way to be authentic.
I did not really want to read this book. I figured that I’m fairly transparent and I’ve been married for 33 years so a book about relationships would be a yawn. But I had to read it because a bunch of my friends get together every couple of months and discuss a book we read. This was the chosen book. So I read it. As with most books, it has some pros and some cons, but it’s an easy read and Donald Miller always tells a good story.
Scary Close is about dropping the act (mask) and finding true intimacy. It celebrates human relationships, challenges us to greater authenticity and intimacy in them, and is an amazingly transparent look into the author’s struggle with getting too close to anyone. He takes a brief look into his past failed relationships and is open and honest about his shortcomings. His story will resonate with many as he encourages us to truly be ourselves. He also tackles the human propensity to judge others. We all do this with stunning frequency and, this too, hinders our relational abilities as we quickly attribute pre-conceived notions about each other that tend to be relational landmines. Instead, we should love each other, even if we don’t want to.
As he begins to explore his story with his wife, he goes into great detail about dating her and their marriage. He challenges us to consider what true intimacy looks like and much of this has to do with dropping our act and being real, honest and vulnerable with each other. I resonated with the idea of choosing to not focus on “impressing” a lot of people, but to connect, influence and love fewer. For that, I applaud him as it can be a struggle for anyone who is a people pleaser.
Don’t focus on “impressing” a lot of people. Instead, connect, influence and love fewer.
One disappointment in the book is its lack of gospel centeredness. Although it is clear Donald Miller loves God, the emphasis was on how people and therapies helped him. Much of the therapies and people’s advice was good, but I think Mr. Miller missed an opportunity to use Scripture and the good news of Jesus Christ and His power to transform us as THE primary agent of change. There is most certainly a need for authentic relationships, reconciliation and redemption on a horizontal level with our friends and family, and this book addresses that need. However, more important is the vertical relationship that allows the Christian to rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ who is the ultimate picture of authentic relationship, reconciliation and redemption.
Where in your life do you need to drop the mask and be authentic? Have you allowed God to transform you into the new creature He promises in 2 Corinthians 5:17? “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
As a new creature in Christ how will you commit to authenticity in your relationships?
Did you like today’s post? Be sure to subscribe to our email list and for a limited time, receive our FREE eBook Overcoming the Darkness, as our thanks to you!
Image Credit: Helga Weber, Creative Commons