I love to play with my kids. I could paint, color, read, play games, do puzzles, build forts, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, build legos….you get the point. I love to engage an interact with my kids at their level.
But I have to confess: I hate playing pretend.
GASP! How dare I admit such a calamity? Ok, but really, I do feel guilty about it. Pretend play is how children learn to interact with others and the world. It is essential to their development and esteem.
So why do I not like doing it? Michael’s version of playing pretend involves him directing me what to say with his superheroes. He also pretends to be a ninja turtle, I am assigned the role of April, the reporter (Ninja Turtles are making a huge comeback). There are a myriad of other “identity” assignments and I am under the direction of Michael’s script.
There are several definitions for the word “pretend”. Besides “make believe”, dictionary.com provides these two definitions that prompted a whole series of thoughts on my life:
1. to cause or attempt to cause (what is not so) to seem so: to pretend illness; to pretend that nothing is wrong.
2. to appear falsely, as to deceive; feign: to pretend to go to sleep.
Am I pretending with my God? My husband? My family & friends? Do I pretend that everything is ok when it is not? Do I pretend to know God and not spend time in His word and in prayer with Him? Do I sin willingly and pretend it’s no big deal?
Do I pretend with my friends? Am I transparent and authentic in my conversations with them? Do I hide behind a facade of false reality so others can’t see me?
What makes us want to cover up? Are we afraid of rejection? Of being unloved? That if others knew the truth about us, we would be laughed at or scoffed?
One thing I do know, is that when I am transparent about my struggles, my triumphs, my passions and joys, life is better. Relationships are authentic. It requires less effort to admit my weaknesses and openly embrace them (with the hopes of strengthening them) then to cover them up. Trust is built quicker. People are more at ease when they see the struggle in others and that they are not ashamed or embarrassed.
I am convinced that God’s love is displayed best when we admit to our shortcomings and place them at his feet. He knows when we are pretending, we cannot fool Him. We can try, or trick ourselves into believing that we can figure out this life on our own.
But we can’t. Not for a single second.
“Oh Lord, you have searched and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, you know it all together. You hem me in, behind and before me, and lay your hand upon me. ”
Psalm 139: 1-5