Wow, so what do you think about the title of this post? What may you think I am about to ramble out of my mind into the text and content of this particular post?
Well these two words have been appearing not only in my thoughts, but in movies, books, and in general conversations with others. Someone even spoke about FaceBook that many times they feel people are not being their “true-selves” That they may often be “posers” amplifying the positive, or even possibly dramatizing the negative, both for attention.
I am up late again, and just finished watching the movie, “Wild Hogs” It is one of my favorite “guy flick” comedies. I enjoy most of the movies and satires by the main actors in this movie. The word poser was used a few times in this movie. The “suburbanite” middle age guys buying Harley’s to set out for adventure, freedom and an escape from their lives, calling themselves the “Wild Hogs”
A word was used a few times in this movie, and it is “poser” The so called “authentic” biker gang they ran across called them “posers” “Pansies” that knew nothing about riding free.
I am hoping I am not spoiling the overall theme and ending of this movie. However these men discovered themselves and their strength through some comical and stressful situations, as well as facing their fears, and it did require their fists at one point. They ended up discovering they were indeed men seeking adventure and found in their comradery, and willingness to stand up for what is right.
Another movie that I watched the other day with a group of Christian brothers is called, “The Company Men” All I can say is powerful, profound and humbling. It was a movie that captured a time in many men’s lives during the great recession that began in 2009. It captures the pride men often have, and to where that pride is broken in the midst of loss, adversity, and financial failure. The word “poser” was brought forth, or at the minimum assumed. Sometimes it takes going back to ground zero before God can bring you back to the top of the mountain to be even better than you were once before. And sometimes being better is not making more money or having a fancy title. It’s about being a better husband, father, and friend. Discovering how to be more authentic for what really matters in the long run. Again, I am not going to spoil the movie for you if you have not seen it. I do highly recommend it for both men and women. And if I find a woman in the wife like the character “Bobby”, Ben Affleck plays, has; I would certainly hold on to her as she was a jewel in this movie.
There are plenty of movies about men and woman facing their fears, seeking adventure, and change in their lives. Sometimes they may discover much of what they were thinking previously or doing was “posing” and their life wasn’t truly authentic.
Let’s look at the Merriam-Webster simple definition of these two words, Authenticity and Poser so I can expound my perspective.
: real or genuine : not copied or false
: true and accurate
: made to be or look just like an original
: a puzzling or baffling question: a person who poses.
Another form of the word for “poser” is “impostor
a person who deceives others by pretending to be someone else: one that assumes false identity or title for the purpose of deception
I think many of us have experienced a “poser” sometimes called “impostor” in our lifetimes. It is often refreshing to come across people who are more authentic. Their words match their actions displaying authenticity.
Have you ever come across a person that says,”How are you doing?” and then they just walk by without waiting for a response? Or you just nod and say, “fine” but you were not fine at all. Maybe the person is just trying to be cordial with the question, or maybe they are not being deeply authentic? If I ask someone, “How are you doing?” and regardless of their reply, I wait for it. I even often ask them to tell me about how they are fine or not fine and invest a few moments to engage. I know it may not be easy when your busy or passing in church. However, with my friends, I sincerely want to know how they are doing.
Or how about you share something that is on your mind. Maybe something you are struggling with to someone else and their reply is, “I’ll pray for you.” and you do not hear from them on the topic again. Maybe they did pray, but it is curious to me if they just said that to be courteous and completely forgot about your prayer request. In fellowship gatherings and bible studies I bring my iPad for my bible as I can pull up several versions of the bible and I keep notes on my iPad. In addition, I carry a journal. I call it my Spiritual Journal to where among additional notes, or journaling spiritual inspirational thoughts, I also keep a prayer journal. I like to look back on the prayer requests and see if they were answered and later reach out to the people who have made the prayer requests to see how they are doing, and how God may of answered them.
In my lifetime, both personally and professionally, I have experienced both posers and people who exude authenticity.
One of the worst examples I have incurred with lack of authenticity is being involved in a ministry to where people were more concerned with drawing attention to themselves or capitalizing on a fellowship or devotion with trying to over talk someone else or state how their situation was much more difficult or their spiritual experience was much more monumental. Even worse they would talk about others behind their back, or even share confidential information outside of the group, therefore compromising trust, integrity, and loyalty. I myself have had incurred recent tough times and I have had Christians tell me that they would be there for me, pray for me, and “stand in the gap” However I did not hear from them later, nor did they even try to reach out to me further. On an even deeper bruise to my spiritual core, I have served in the ministry to where co-leaders have even went to the lengths to tear me down to other leaders, talk behind my back, even to head pastor(s) due to reasons beyond my rationalization. Quiet possibly due to jealously, lack of confidence, or obsessive desire to be “on top” and to be the center of attention.
During my years of being saved, involved in the church and serving in ministries; it was a few that showed up in a big way. That did exude authenticity by calling me, praying over me in person, even laying hands on me in a group sitting, or praying with and for me over the phone, or showing up at my front door with food, a good movie, and snacks, even when I live within 30-60 minutes of their home. Even paying over due bills for me anonymously. There is a difference between “friends”, “acquaintances”, and “true non-fair weather Christian friends” Those are friends a person should seek to hold on to, cherish, and keep close.
A few of the examples of others authenticity is when I have heard pastors speak from the heart and be vulnerable. To share personally battles and how they even failed, but God showed up and restored them. Some faced mental illness, even addictions. However they shared how life is real. And their authenticity and ability to relate to others in the congregation was apparent in their own personal testimonies.
I remember as I have seen the strongest of men break down telling their stories. How they even got to points of hopelessness and it was only by the grace of God, the love of true non-faith weather Christian friends, and digging deep into their faith they thought was shattered; that got them through it. These men were authentic, and I greatly appreciated their authenticity, and highly value their friendship. God does have a way to turn ashes into beauty, work through our mess into bless for His glory, restore us to help others and utilizing our authenticity as a tool to help and heal others.
However, we are all human with human flaws. Many times we do not desire to seem un- authentic. We get busy, we get distracted, and satan likes to put up obstacles. Sometimes we have no clue we may be “posing”. I have faced that reality as I have been guilty of “posing”. Well, I have to admit I may have come on a bit strong at times, especially in competitions. In the martial arts I often exuded a loud “Kia” to intimidate my opponent. Maybe making a few fancy moves and techniques to display my “talents” as to possibly “show off” a bit. Sometimes I may have amplified my accomplishments when around a group of very accomplished and higher educated people than myself. I have been guilty of “name dropping” in conversations as to somehow create a higher degree of connections amongst peers or in conversations. I am competitive, and I like to win. I also can have a “big personality” and I am rather driven. So in the course of trying to strive towards accomplishments, I may of not kept in mind the personalities and emotions of others. It has taken a few years to be more observant of my Spiritual Gifts and to utilize them in love.
Even as I write this blog, I do use a pseudonym. However I do that not for “posing” it is for a cloud in an effort to protect some interests, privacy, and to draw more attention to inspiration, our Creator, and not of myself.
However through decades of living through the bad and the good, and growing closer to God, I seek more authentic things, and I prefer to exude authenticity. I intently try to be more authentic in all that I do. I am seeking to understand and live out that it is more about Him and less about me. I am also attracted to more authentic people. People that walk the talk. People that are more open, and are not afraid to be more vulnerable for the cause of Christ. Someone who is willing to share their testimony to the point of sobbing, often get’s my attention. People face a variety of struggles, especially if they have lived a few years. We all have stories, and they are often not fairy tales. To be that open, sharing what God has done for them in the midst of hopelessness, and that they found victory in their Heavenly Father, get’s my attention.
I know as I fellowship with others in church, family, and friends I seek and strive to be authentic. When I am walking closer to God, my spiritual gifts often detects “posers” as well. I think it is because of the combination of what my top three Spiritual Gifts are which are first; Mercy, tied for second is Admin/Exhortation, and third is Apostleship.
Most people are drawn to people who are similar. I believe it’s a natural instinctual behavior. I strive to be authentic and I am drawn to more authentic people. I know I am broken and in need of a Savior and have found it in Jesus Christ. I know I am not perfect, that I have made mistakes, and that I have failed. However I do not desire to wallow in it, as I have a Redeemer who loves me, forgives me, and accepts more for who I am, and who He desires me to be, and molding me into.
I have heard people say that churches are full of “hypocrites”, and “posers”. I would have to say, by experience, that is most certainly true. However, so is the world, and a church is not a museum for saints, it’s a hospital for sinners! Just as I would not make fun of an obese person working out in the gym, for he or she is trying to better himself or herself. I seek not to judge anyone, especially if they graced the doors of church to seek this person we call Jesus or a higher meaning and purpose of it all in the Creator of the Universe.
However, I do seek out more authentic people both in church and out in the world for the more inner circles in my life. I like to know who I am inviting into my life, and especially in my children’s lives. If not owing it to myself, I certainly owe that to my children. To me the most important characteristics a person may have is, Integrity, Honesty and Loyalty. Jeopardizing those three for me is deal breaker.
Although we must look at Jesus if we are believers. I know the phrase, “What Would Jesus Do” may seem to by an overly used saying these days by Christians. Regardless, it is still true today, as it was when it was first coined. So, although I desire my inner circle to be authentic and a defray from posers; I still to go into the world. and, yes, into the church, and seek to love them anyway. We are all sinners saved by grace, none of us are perfect. And yes, if you are being “authentic” to yourself, you must admit you may have very well been a “poser” in some area, in some way in your life, at some time. We all have egos, we all want to feel important, and I think a majority of us all dream of being someone greater than ourselves.
The thing is we are greater when we belong to Him. We are either princes or princesses of the High Most King of Kings. According to the Word, this is true and this is authentic. In correlation we are to strive to be more like Jesus. To strive to live in love, kindness, forgiveness, compassion, and empathy. This too is being authentic.
So when people post very positive things on Facebook. Things of goodness, kindness, salvation, victories…; I say great! I strongly believe we need more positivity in the world. And if they are desiring to be a better person and exude that in their posts; I say carry on soldier! I believe you become what you desire most. Just as the famous quote by Paul Meyer states, “Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon… must inevitably come to pass!” You become a formula of your thoughts, dreams, and desires. So by all means keep posting the positive. Optimism, and attitude may certainly determine your altitude.
In contrast, to keep posting the negative, biased, highly subjective material that pulls people down, or degrades them is not good. Spreading rumors, accusations, ill-will is not productive, nor conducive to what I believe Jesus would do. Now don’t get me wrong, I certainly do not like the state of the world, or even our own country right now. I get frustrated with our politicians, actions and deeds of others, lack of empathy it seems for the down-trodden, homeless, poor, and mentally ill. So I have been guilty of “venting” a bit. However, I try my best to first seek to understand. To pray, think, research and ponder first, then to be understood with facts, and the best use of compassion and empathy I can muster before responding or posting. You know, Thumper had it right in that Disney movie, “If you don’t have something good to say, then don’t say anything at all.”
As shared I strive to be “authentic” and I am attracted to “authentic” people, and I defray a bit from “posers” However there is such a thing as being too authentic. What do I mean by being too authentic? Well, sometimes it is not good to be such an “open book” or to be “too vulnerable” Not everyone wants to hear a frank or direct opinion too often. I certainly do not agree with airing “dirty laundry” amongst many. Some people either do not want to hear it, or do not need to hear it. Your children certainly do not need to hear all of your adult “woes’ They just need to feel loved, cared for, guided by wisdom, and for us adults to let them be children. It is good to have a close knit circle of friends you can count on, lean on, and vent with. However, I caution as to leaning on one or a select few all the time, or too much. It may not be wise sharing things too personal with too many people. Sometimes you may think your close knit circle share the same level of values in integrity, loyalty, and honesty as you do. However you may find your heart broken, and your trust compromised in the long run. People are human by all means. There is a difference of being authentic and unwise, and being wisely authentic. I think you get the point.
I am blessed that I do have authentic and true non-fair weather Christian friends. They bless me, and I hope in some way that I bless them. I am certainly thankful for them and appreciate their prayers, and their fellowship and wisdom.
I wish you much joy and peace in discovering your own level of authenticity, especially as you walk in your own personal relationship with Jesus. If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, and would like to know more on how you may have a relationship with Him. Email me, or respond to this post. My contact information is on the About page. It would be a joy and honor to tell you about this “Beautiful Outlaw” of those times, and the Redeemer of all humanity.