Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Well-Scrubbed Version of ME, part 1


In today’s world, technology offers us a unique view of one another. I’ve recently been wrestling with this. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I seek to live my life consistent with the beliefs that I hold from Scripture. There are times when I live incredibly empowered by God’s Spirit. There are times that I stumble and fail. I try to keep short accounts with my wife, short accounts with my brothers, and short accounts with Jesus.

None of this is really where the rub is, hopefully none of this should land as a surprise. Here’s where I’ve been wrestling lately. On my Blog, on my Facebook pages, in my messages, I’ve been offering the “well scrubbed version of me.” So, while I believe that today’s technology offers a clearer view of KNOWING one another from a distance than has ever been possible before, I also recognize the potential for hypocrisy that exists. That’s why I’m calling it out. And because confession is good for the soul.

Here are a few ways that I scrub myself: PHOTOS.
The photos I post are typically selected from whole rolls of less exciting photos, and rolls and rolls of photos that picture me in an combination of unflattering, confused, and rather typical expressions. I try to scrub the boring out, so that a viewer might think, “It must be an amazing adventure to be a part of that clan!” It is and adventure, but not nearly as exciting as pics might suggest. I also choose to post pics of myself that make me look confident, strong, or handsome (Theses pics are more of a challenge to find).

I share a ton of family STORIES.
Those are typically the stories that make my kids sound like theologians, my wife sound like a patient genius, and that make me sound like a great dad, a great husband, and an all around great guy. They are all true. But what is also true are the stories where my kids fight like kids, where my wife is tired and short, and where I live closer to dolt-ness than to great-ness. I scrub the counter-balance, and so opinion is naturally prone to tip towards a too-favorable view.

Even my FAILURES are scrubbed. For example, I might share a time when Jodie was looking for help cleaning the house in preparation for the arrival of guests, while I was upstairs playing Galaga (yes, we have the old arcade version of Galaga, and yes, I am the MAN at it)…and I pretended that I couldn’t hear her calling. And that “confession” might actually make me sound more holy…like, oh look, even Mike gets a bit selfish sometimes. But I’ve scrubbed out the other times during the same weekend that I was already acting selfishly, and how frustrated that must make my wife, and how selfishness is something that I consistently battle to my great chagrin. (This paragraph is intentionally hypothetical, but I’m hoping you get the point. A small, safe confession scrubs me too clean.)

Here’s the last truth: I’m not changing the tactic of scrubbing. I truly don’t think Blogs or Status Updates are the best place to do deep soul-work, nor the best places for gut-level confession. I don’t suggest that to you, nor will I walk that road. But I do want you to be aware of the scrub.

Just knowing brings us closer to Jesus. And I guess the challenge is, for me and you both, to live more and more like the scrubbed versions of ourselves…

The truth shall set you free.
I’d love to hear how YOU scrub…

8 comments:

Doug Murphy said...

I am a master scrubber. Due to my past I realize that people may not accept a sparkling clean version of me so I scrub my filth by the slight of hand. I point to one area of my life that might be more exciting, even though wrong, an ex pro fighter that struggles with the impulse to dominate. Although this may be true occasionally, usually it is just a mask a slight of hand trick. A scrub that others may not see my fear, my insecurity, and my insufficiency. I would rather people dislike me or fear me than know that I am fragile and question my ability to be strong. I am a Master Scrubber.

Dulcinator said...

Thank you for the transparency. It's real and well-said. I try to be the most honest version of myself that I can be with others so they don't have to guess at who I am. But, let's be honest for real, I sometimes guess at who I am. How's that for a paradox?

Mike Howerton said...

Guys, thanks for weighing in. I like where this is going...

Phil said...

Attempting to live an authentic life is a worthy goal.
Spilling your guts in public isn't pleasant for anyone.
Where is the balance of being a "real" person, a "real" Christian? Neither gut wrenchingly grossly self revelatory, nor smoothly polished in laquered hypocrisy?

treasureseeker said...

It doesn't take a social utility to present ourselves as "well-scrubbed". It's the way about humanity. Put your best foot forward. Be the best you can be. Beneath the squeaky clean surface, we all know that we are flesh-and-blood, flawed selves. Hopefully we can edify others while we seek to glorfiy God through the demonstration of His hand upon our less-than-perfect lives. The alternative is...well...edify ourselves while we glorify ourselves. The "scrub" is in the motivation.

Anonymous said...

I have the opposite problem. I have NO SCRUBBER.. I'm just all out there for everybody, strangers and friends alike. My friends know I have a huge heart, strangers may think I'm a head case. Either way it's a lot for everyone in my life to take. I've been focusing on James 1:19 a verse brought to my attention at the AWAKE conference. "Be quick to listen, SLOW to speak and slow to anger." Never feel guilty for scrubbing on line or in sermons. There truly is a time and place for such things.

Diane Davis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diane Davis said...

I have mixed feelings about this post. I agree that it isn't good to put oneself out there in a way that doesn't feel safe. But I also think we scrub way too often, and this is often unintentional. But I must say... I am SO DRAWN to people who are out there with their soul searching, who can admit that life is hard, who readily recognize their imperfections. This type of authenticity is just so human to me and I'm drawn toward it.

I know that I am a person that tends to feel comfort in sharing. I am an external processor. I need community. So FOR ME, the line in the sand has to do with vulnerability. If it is a vulnerable subject, I have an inner circle. But if I don't feel overly vulnerable, then I will share with a larger audience, even if it is heavy content. Because heavy is real and if there is anything I want to be, it is real.


(deleted comment is mine... i was typing too fast and the spelling was horrible...)