If you want an ex-spouse, buy a red sports car

A long time ago, I was young, stupid and sick of driving my beat up car.  So I got a bank loan for more that it would have cost me to buy a house plot and bought a flashy red sports car. Two months later I caught the eye of a beautiful woman, one year later we were married but before I knew it, we were divorced.
A while later, after selling my successful business, I once again bought a red sports car.  This time, there was no bank loan, but it did have a really cool automatic folding roof.   Two months later I caught the eye of a beautiful woman, one year later we were married but before I knew it, we were divorced.  No, there’s no echo in here.
The problem was neither of these women met and married the real me.  Though I fooled even myself, the sports car driving, designer clothes wearing, champagne drinking, ambition fuelled, successful businessman wasn’t the real me.  The real me, unintentionally hidden at those critical moments of my life, craved (and still craves) simplicity, spiritual growth, financial independence and a life with purpose.
On the surface it’s easy to see that if you’re pretending (perhaps even subconsciously) that you’re someone you’re not, then anyone attracted to you is not really attracted to you but to the person you’re pretending to be.  If the real you ever emerges, then chances are, that person isn’t going to be attracted to you anymore, especially if the real you is very different from the pretend you.  If you want someone to be attracted to the real you, then you have to be courageous and honest enough (especially to yourself) to reveal the real you.  And herein lies the challenge.  Knowing and revealing the real you may sound very simple, but I think it can be one of the most difficult things for a person to do.
So, for now, that is part of my journey, to discover and reveal the real me.  The me who is defined not by my car but by my faith,  judged not but the cut of my clothes but by the cut of my character.  As I don’t even own a car now, I can’t imagine anyone being attracted to me for my ride.  But then again I do own a really nice pair of minimalist running shoes.

Costumes, Masks and Pyjamas

At this time of year as you see kids putting on costumes and masks for halloween,  I thought about the costumes we put on in life.  Once upon a time, I would don my corporate costume –  designer suit, silk tie, tailored shirt (complete with cufflinks) and polished calf leather shoes – and head off at 6am to a job that I hated.  The cost of those clothes was more than I spend now for everything for an entire month.  My true preference in clothes was much more modest; the days that I worked from home I would dress in my favourite comfortable shorts and t-shirt, but of course that outfit would be unacceptable in the office.
We do the same throughout our life.  Instead of ‘dressing’ in the clothes, values and lifestyle with which we would be truthfully comfortable, we don the ‘costumes and masks’ that are most acceptable to the world – career ladder climber, pension saver, homeowner, people user, stuff collector.  I find it intriguing to encounter people who ‘dress’ differently.  To explore what makes these people courageous enough (or crazy enough) to wear pyjamas to the office.

Who do I want to impress?

I’ve just finished reading the biography of Steve Jobs; an amazing story. Each of us wants our life to count for something. We are told from an early age to ‘be somebody’. Some of us have great aspirations for the world stage – build a great company, win a gold medal, be elected President, set a world record. For others, the aspirations are smaller in scope – get a college degree, own a house, win a beauty contest. All of these ‘be somebody’ aspirations imply being admired and celebrated by others. We can’t really be ‘somebody’ if we impress nobody.

But I wonder if impressing other people really matters. Maybe we should turn our eyes to heaven. With the things that they’ve experienced, I can’t imagine the angels of God are too easily impressed. What if our life could reflect God’s goodness in a way that was so honest, so consistent, so gentle, so loving, that someone who encountered us said “I want some of that” and turned to God? What if our life led to the angels of heaven throwing a party? Now that would be a real accomplishment.

the angels of God rejoice over one sinner who repents – Luke 15:10