A few weeks ago I was watching a sermon by T.D. Jakes entitled “It’s not what it looks like.”. He discussed the story of Jesus with the woman at the well.
Jesus had sent his disciples away to get him something to eat, but when they returned he was sitting with a woman (known to be promiscuous) and told them he wasn’t hungry.
Now, to the common eye (and his disciples were common) it probably looked like Jesus sent his boys away so he could get his mack on. But in fact, he knew they would get in the way of the lesson he needed to teach this woman, so he sent them out of the way so he could do his job.
Now this could have proven an example of Jesus falling victim to a mis-story. Unlike a mystery where something is utterly unknown, a mis-story requires SOME information, but that information is exaggerated until it is a half-true or a complete lie.
I thought about how often this happens to us. How often something isn’t what it seems. How many times we have fallen victim to someone else’s perceptions of us.
I’m reminded of another pastor, A.R. Bernard, who said that he often doesn’t go out to dinner with members of his congregation because he doesn’t like to work during his down time. In other words, these people have created an image of him as their pastor that he would have to work to maintain should he spend time with them outside their normal setting. However, it was what he said next that astounded me. He said,”- tel them when THEY mature then we can spend some time together.”
In short, when you grow up enough to see me as I am (faults and all) rather than become disheartened with my humanity and imperfections, rather than allow your misguided exultations to become fuel for a mis-story, then when can spend some time just being ourselves in one another’s presence.
It made me think about myself and my own experiences with mis-stories.
For instance, I recall a time not too long ago when a friend was telling me a story about his sister. He mentioned she was moving out of town to find work. For whatever reason, he closed out the story with “She’s like you; she can’t be without money.”
I wondered what about my life had given him that impression. Perhaps he perceived my constant pursuit of money as a constant acquisition of it. Maybe he thought I pursued it because I couldn’t live without it. Regardless, I wondered (and still do) what would change if he knew that I’ve always been without money; that I usually am without money; that my pursuit of money is not for me, but for my children whom I’d like to spare the hardships of my reality. I didn’t say a word to my friend, but I just thought to myself, “It ain’t what it looks like.”
It happens to us all. But the thing to look at is why this is happening. It is merely a misunderstanding that can be cleared up with a little discussion – as with me and my friend? Or is it something more? Are your mis-stories the result of you not standing in your truth and telling it yourself? Have others come in and spun tales about you based on what they see and hear because you haven’t set the record straight?
I recall, years ago, a friend of a guy I was dating at the time offered to come help me shovel my grandmother’s driveway after church. He knew that my boyfriend was planning something special and he wanted to help me get to it sooner.
He wasn’t much help. I’d done all of my grandmother front walkway plus the neighbor’s next door by the time he cleared the driveway. Then we went inside and I made some of my specialty cocoa. I put on some make-up, put my pumps in a bag and made my way to my boyfriend’s house.
This guy escorted me to my final destination just so he could tell my boyfriend about his experience. He said, “Man, it was crazy to me. She handled that snow like a professional – that I expected. But then she turned around and got in the kitchen like a chef. And she flipped it again with the make-up and the hair. I always thought she was just a tomboy.”
This is where maturity of the other person comes in. His bubble was burst because his perception of me was skewed in the first place. He couldn’t fathom that there were so many sides to me. But truthfully, it was my own fault. In the five or six years I had known this guy (by then) I never took the time to show him different sides of me; to teach him who I was. I allowed him to think what he thought and to write my mis-stories.
When you show someone your poker hand and they still choose to play Go Fish, that their fault. But when you hold everything to your vest and let people assume…that’s yours.
So my advice today, go live your life. Take chances. Explore. But most of all, be honest about who you are. Stand in your truth and claim it. Don’t ever let another soul tell your story…because nobody does it better than you.
Posted by The Blue Jean Diva, mz. iscis malone, with WordPress for BlackBerry.