(From Craig McConnell’s talk at the Advanced Boot Camp on the Poser)
Our hiding, our fig leaf goes deep. It includes our relational style and personality. Your personality reflects the uniqueness of God’s crafting of you. We each have a bit of Glory … the image of God in us. Personalities are meant to reflect that glory and the beauty and the strength and compassion of God. Our various personalities are meant to come together as community (Tribe?) and work together for the mission we have to rescue the hearts of men and women. (That’s what Manschool is all about – rescuing the hearts of men)
The danger is that we settle into our style and stay put i.e. “I am a negotiator” – or – “I am a peacemaker” and the problem is, God is about the process of changing us, sanctifying us and He doesn’t want us staying put in a persona we create that works for us. He has so much more for us. Staying in trait causes us to stall and stay in poor relational styles and in our sin.
Our personality is probably, day to day, the clearest expression of our sin and the issues God wants to deal with and change in us. It is a well-constructed approach to living that reflects our holiness, our growth and our sin.
Allow me to interject here – I shared a story about my father. He is a man of deep, deep integrity and truth. He loves truth. He balances his checkbook to the penny. He expects accountability, integrity and folks to do the “right thing”. There is nothing wrong with that. That, in fact, is holy. That is a little bit of the image of God in him. But…his sin takes over and he settled into that role. It became his persona, his mask that he hid behind and could not be challenged on. He was “right” all the time and expected others to be. And there were many times that his black and white approach to life and insistence that he must speak the truth regardless how it impacted the other’s feelings did great collateral damage. Remember, behind every posing man is a wounded little boy. My father was never told he was loved by his father. As a young man he “learned” that in order to gain favor, he must be “perfect”. Straight A’s, clean cut, above reproach. And you see later in life, what God wanted to do is pierce that façade, crack the pose and dig out the hurts hidden beneath that rigid truth exterior. God will disrupt your life to break these poses. He did in my father and He’s done so (and is doing so) in me. The pose works … but only for so long. Please read on…
We don’t look at our personality or our style of relating with much scrutiny – but we should. How we live, our personality, much of it is a deep construct of our woundedness, our sin, the deep disappointments, some of the glory and our absolute commitment to self-protect. The shame and contempt goes deeper to our core issue that I will self-protect profoundly and in a way that hopefully won’t be outed or discovered or confronted. (That is the best definition of posing I’ve seen) Over the years, we play with different options and we land on one style and say, “this is how I’m going to approach my life to get a little bit of validation or applause to protect myself from exposure as the man I truly am.”
My personality, in many ways, is a godless expression that I am committed to live life on my own terms.
We are born into a world where death and evil reign and it doesn’t take a young boy long to figure out the world is unkind and unloving and doesn’t care to validate him or nurture him. Over time, the wounds, the disappointments and the realities of life all cause him to construct some way to live – some way to get by.
You saw that in Clint Eastwood’s character in Gran Torino – much pain, loneliness, heartache, the death of his wife and war wounds and from that, this iron mask of a persona developed and he destroyed people. And in Bruce Willis’ character in Disney’s The Kid – he was a professional image consultant and he hated people. Acidic, harsh, critical, driven, mean-spirited, running over people – it was formed from his childhood wounds.
I hope this deep dive into the poser, this grand disruption of your world has been valuable. God has so much more than the mask of the poser will allow for. It’s time to drop the pose, admit you don’t know everything, admit you cannot do life alone, admit you need Tribe and invite the Father in with “What do you think of me God? What do I mean to you?” Ask and ask and ask again and then listen.