Saturday, January 18, 2020


The pressures in middle school and high school are enormous and come in many forms.  Teachers have the crazy expectations that middle school boys should not be pulling the pony tails of the cute girls that sit in front of them.  Teachers should know better than to tempt young boys with a seating chart that places them in such close proximity. Why wouldn’t they put the boys with other boys…oh wait…I see…there is a reason why that corner of the room was called spitball saloon. 

Science teachers seem to have the expectation that young eager minds should not combine sodium (na) and hydrogen peroxide (H202)…Mr. Klawiter has no proof that I caused that mess!  Principals appear to all share the irrational demands that lockers should not be “penny jammed”, slimed or stuffed with exceptionally small 7th graders. Parents unanimously expect their young Einsteins to get good grades and learn things…since when did school become an institution of higher learning.  As best as I can recall, it has always been a place of socially awkward attempts at becoming accepted by our peers.

That may very well be the greatest pressure of all. Despite my awkward social skills, excessive body odor, lack of coarse language, blue jeans 6 inches too short for my legs and the Mickey Mouse decal on my overalls…I still lacked the social prowess to be in with the popular elite.  The years spent in middle school and high school are the mere adventures of young boys (or girls) on desperate journeys of acceptance. 

One day a friend asked me, “Have you ever even had a girlfriend?”

“Yes…of course I have.” I lied.

I wish I had left it at that…but something drew me in.  I saw this as an opportunity for popularity…and so before I could think it all through, I blurted out…“In fact, I have one now.”


“You wouldn’t know her…She doesn’t go to this school.”

“Really?...What school does she go to?”

“Verndale…She is from Verndale.”

“Really?...What is her name?”

“Emily.” I said without thinking.

“Really?...What is her last name?”

“Resch”...This was getting deep.

“No way!...I know her!”

This was a jaw dropping moment.  I couldn’t decide…did he really know her?  Did he really know an Emily Resch or was he lying to the same extent that I was.  There was no Emily Resch…I had totally made it up…all of it…none of it was true.

For the next 3 weeks I endured questions and requests to bring her over to his party on Friday night…or the football game next week.  Until finally, I had had enough of this charade and did the only thing I could do.  I broke up with Emily Resch.  I broke her imaginary heart…she wept bitterly and threw her imaginary notebook at my face…but in the end I affirmed her that she would find someone better than me…at least more genuine.  We said our goodbyes…no kiss…no hand holding…just an air hug.  Finally, I was free…sort of.

Our lives are filled with posing. We spend so much time and energy trying to help people see us the way we want them to see us.  Zuckerburg has made it much easier for us...but posing has existed way before Facebook. 

This truth is thousands of years old.  In fact, we see it in the Scriptures.  The book of Acts records an event in Acts 5:1-11.  Two believers in Jesus decide to do something that looks really kind and caring and loving.  Unfortunately for them…they didn’t do it to make the name of Jesus great…they decided to try and build their own names and reputation, so that they would be seen as generous and Godly.  They were posing as “great people”…when they should have been proclaiming a great God. 

I am no different…and if you are honest…you are probably the same as me.  We worry about what people will think.  We want to matter.  No matter what we do…we already matter deeply to the most important person ever…Jesus. When we can come and see that He is the Great One…then perhaps we can stop posing and let him make us into who He wants us to be.

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