It’s rant time. Today’s topic: pretending to be invested in someone’s life without actually following through.

When you have conversations with people, talking to them about their lives and sharing your own experiences, finding common ground and encouraging them, you give the impression that you care. Everybody gets that, right? It’s like saying, “I can totally get behind the work you’re doing. Bravo.”

So when that person invites you to actually experience that you’ve been praising, to step into life with them and see first-hand what’s going on, and you play dumb passively refuse with phrases like “that’s nice” or “good for you,” it’s basically as though after promising loyalty you’re deserted them to get shot in the back.

Why do people want to pretend that they care until it comes time to actually care even just a little? It boggles, irritates, and ultimately frustrates me.

Don’t be a coward about your loyalties. Don’t be one of those people who just says stuff to make people (or yourself) feel like you mean it. That lie will always fall down more painfully than being honest about your lack of interest. As best, you’ve just insulted someone’s intelligence and killed their respect by pretending that they can’t see right through you false assurance. At worst, they really can’t see through, and you’ll have to keep up the charade because they won’t leave you alone.

Trust me — this is not a game you can win. Even when you think you have, you’ve still lost.

Advertisements

Celebrities are real people, right? Most of us wouldn’t think of them that way. We recognize them from movies and tv, from magazines, from news media and paparazzi, all trying to give us intimate details of these strangers’ lives, without giving us any sense of common ground.

That’s why I enjoy moments when famous people have a chance to speak for themselves. Sure, their usually polite, if somewhat aloof — after all, they don’t really know the individuals in the crowds they might be addressing. But occasionally they prove themselves to be just as real as the rest of us.

You can tell a polite but rehearsed conversation most of the time. And when people are being genuine, that becomes pretty obvious as well. When Hugh Jackman appeared in Knoxville a couple of weeks ago to promote the premiere of latest movie, he gave a short speech to those who had gathered to see him. He didn’t just give a polite celebrity speech – though that certainly would have been enough.

Instead, he showed that he really could be himself in front of them he endeared himself to those who had made the effort to be a part of this event, and drew in many more people to his work just by virtue of his frank appreciation of their city and its popular themes. It turned out to be a good demonstration of caring about what people care about regardless of how well you know them.

Sometimes we forget just how insane God’s love toward us is. Or maybe we don’t forget; maybe we just don’t want to deal with the brain-exploding truth that we’d have to deal with if we thought about it. Jesus is fully God. And He is fully man.

That amazing dichotomy is at the heart of Chapter 5 of John Eldredge’s new book, Beautiful Outlaw. I know that when I think of human relationships, with all of their (and my) quirks and intricacies, my relationship with Jesus is not the one that comes to mind. That’s my relationship with Jesus, not my relationship with people. But I’m rediscovering that my relationship with Jesus is my ultimate human relationship.

If I want to learn how to relate to humans in spite of sin, anger and fear, then I need to start with my relationship with the One who is human without any of those issues. As John says, Jesus is more human than all of us — a true human untouched by sin. We are made in His image; our relationship with Him can reflect our own humanity freed from the effects of sin.

Please check out the rest of my review and thoughts on Beautiful Outlaw over at Tatter’d Pages, and let me know what you think.

October is finally here, fall is trying to force it’s way onto the scene (and succeeding more in some parts of the country than others), and we a whole new month ahead of us. But first — what was so great about September? I’ll admit it was a rather serious month, but there were a few posts that seemed to strike a cord here. Did you relate to these top posts?

1. Steppin’ Out With My Baby

2. Reasons to Stay Sober While Naming Your Children

3. Color Coordinated Couples

 

Hopefully you liked these posts, thought about them, and maybe thought of new experience that relate. If so, I’d love to hear ’em. Or maybe there was something else you related to more — don’t feel like the odd one out, let me know below. You might be pleasantly surprised to find you’re not alone. 🙂

I have a million things to do today. Everything that’s piled up or built up or waited for the opportune moment to strike is all coming to a head today.

I should be okay with that; I’m used to dealing with multiple things at once, dealing with a bunch of different people, and going from one event to another (to another) before home.

But unfortunately I have tasks to complete that require a slightly different mindset. Instead of going from one thing to the next to the next, I need to do the opposite.

I can use adrenaline to distract myself into getting several things done at once; I’ve practiced that.

But you know what’s really exhausting? Staying focused.

Focus is what I’m really gonna need if I want to get through the next several hours.

Maybe you call it living in the moment. Being present. Attending to now.

I call it difficult — especially when there are lots of people who what me to focus on their priorities. And there are.

But eventually the real priorities win out over the perceived priorities. And “eventually” has now become “immediately.”

So the real priorities are here, and I’m doing my best to focus on them.

After that? Rest — relaxation — distraction — diversion.

I just have to get to that point where I’ve done all I can and I can safely let my brain go.

So for now I’ll just keep reminding myself to stay focused.

(Although if you have a way to focus that works for you, I’m game to hear it. I’ll tell myself whatever works. 🙂 )

I hate that feeling of being tired. I like to do stuff — actually, I don’t always like to do stuff so much as I have stuff I have to do, and I like to get stuff done — but sometimes I am just tired. That’s not the worst thing at night, when I probably should have gone to sleep hours before anyway, but in the morning is a different story. When I’ve spent all of my adrenaline on getting ready and getting to wherever I have to go that day, and then sit down and realize that I am still tired, it’s a problem. (I need to get more sleep. Yes, I know. That’s not my point.)

What makes that fatigue so awkward, though, is when I have conversations with people, or I’m sitting in a church service or meeting, and I am willing myself to stay awake… and then I open my eyes. Oh sure, I’ve heard everything that’s been said (and I will never admit otherwise), and I think I have a response coming, but I didn’t quite notice that my eyes weren’t already open. And that can turn into the most dreaded moment of all: that weird moment when I open my eyes and realize I’m looking directly into the eyes of the person talking to me.

If you’ve ever been in that awkward situation, then you know how it goes. It takes a split second when you open your eyes for your brain to make sense of where you are and what you’re doing. And when you’re opening your eyes involuntarily (because the last thing you remember they were already open), that disorientation lasts just a little longer. So imagine opening your eyes involuntarily only to meet the gaze of the person to whom you’ve been listening.

That’s embarrassing, right? It’s difficult not to look startled initially, and then not to look a little guilty right after that. But those expressions are dead giveaways that yes, you were indeed half asleep — something you never actually want to admit if you can help it. Let the person you’re talking to call you out first — then it’s on them to prove it. Unfortunately, if you’re too tired to defend yourself, then they’ve already won that mental battle. You just focus on winning the battle against that next impromptu nap.

Pretty much the only saving grace at that moment is that you’re probably too tired to care to much until you get some sleep. Or some caffeine or sugar.

I admit to being somewhat obsessed with names. As a youngster (did I really just use that word?) I spent hours going over our Who’s Who books looking at all the names of high school students across the nation. I found sone really cool names, ones that inspired my imagination. I also found some really bizarre ones, names that made me think, “How could you do that to your child?”

I don’t spend hours poring over names anymore, but I do pay attention to the ones that happen to jump out at me from time to time, good and bad. For instance, I recently came across the first name Garl. Really? Garl? I hope there’s an interesting story behind that name. And hopefully that interesting story does not involve alcohol.

Seriously, I get concerned sometimes when I hear names parents have given to their children. A child’s name should be chosen with… well sobriety. After all, these are the names that kids will be stuck with until their are at least 18. And really, at that point the emotional scars from bizarre names have pretty much set in. So here are a few reasons for parents to stay sober when deciding what name to bestow on their child:

• The names need to be somewhat easy to spell. If a child can’t get the spelling of their name right until they are almost out of elementary school, the name is too complicated.
• The names also need to be easy to pronounce. Let’s not make it difficult for the people who will be dealing with your child. If you’ve made up a name that no one else can say, then people will just make up nicknames for your child. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?
• The name needs to make sense. “A Boy Named Sue” is a cute title, but an awful reality. And a boy named Garl isn’t any better. (No, I’m not making that up.)
• Alliteration, rhyming schemes, and other patterns often do not turn out to be as cool as they seem during that baby-naming high. I once read about a mother who named her children with slight variations on the same word. Chase, Chance, Case. It may have been easy to call them, but that’s probably not the naming boon that it seems to be.
• This one’s easy: Suri Cruise, Apple and Moses Martin, Sunday Rose Urban, and many, many more. Now, the parents of these children may not have been drunk when they named then, but they might have been drunk on their own baby-naming power. There is such a thing as over-thinking it. Don’t try to create the next celebrity by branding your child with a celebrity-worthy name.

So let’s put a little extra thought to avoid the obvious pitfalls when naming the generation. Because everyone deserves a name they can be proud of.