Thursday, August 4, 2011

Put Away the Spiritual Cosmetics: Every Life Has a Story

This week I was in "New Employee Orientation," and while I work as a project manager in a credit union, one of the videos we watched was a training video for Chick-Fil-A. I found it to be riveting:





From an HR perspective, our trainer wanted us to think about how every "customer" has a story if we just choose to ask them about it. I think this is valuable. I really do feel moved to help our "members" (as we call them) because they have entrusted us with their money. It's an honor. I'm lucky to work amongst people who keep that kind of thing in mind, every day.

The thing that struck me as I watched this video is that everyone is broken. Everyone has something they keep to themselves, that haunts them, and yet everyone puts on a happy face when they go out into the world. Everyone has bad days. I try to give others the benefit of the doubt when they are unkind as I don't know what kind of day they've had.

What's even more striking is that God knows each of our stories. He knows without asking, without our telling. He knows, and he loves and accepts us. And this is the meaning of grace.

This is the heart of Brennan Manning's book, "The Ragamuffin Gospel," which I'm reading now. In the people of this video, I see parts of my own broken-ness. I see the little bits of personal history that people often hide from themselves and try to hide from God. And it resonates deeply with Manning's thoughts that God's grace and acceptance means that "When I go to church, I can leave my white hat at home and admit I have failed. God not only loves me as I am, but also knows me as I am. Because of this I don't need to apply spiritual cosmetics to make myself presentable to Him. I can accept ownership of my poverty and powerlessness and neediness."

It's this idea of putting away spiritual cosmetics to cover up our perceived flaws, that appeals to me. If we could all just admit and embrace those pieces of our broken-ness, wouldn't that be freeing? If we could give up feeling judged and judging others? If we could know that everyone, all around us, has as many shadow moments as we do? There is power in that kind of knowledge, along with great freedom, knowing that we are accepted just as we are.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

My heart is warmed by this. I have always believed it is important that people be viewed as not just a person at any given moment in time, but as a person with a life and a story.
Thank-You for sharing this with us today.
-Liz