I was very reluctant to get into social networking. I just wasn’t sure about the whole Facebook thing. You know, the time that needs to be put in keeping my status updated and interesting – and then there is the whole issue of having to put photos of myself out there in cyber space for the whole world to see. I wanted no part of that! So, when I first learned about Twitter, I was somewhat intrigued – it seemed so much simpler and easier to manage than Facebook. There was no need to post pictures on the page – and it seemed like an innocent, fun way to receive inspirational ‘tweets’ from one of my favorite Christian authors ( I thought it would be awesome to receive an occasional nugget of wisdom from her). So with that, and only that, in mind – I decided to take the plunge and join Twitter. I signed up, offered no information about myself except for my name, opted to follow only one person (my author), and pledged to myself to not tweet anything personal. As it turned out, my author didn’t tweet anything either – so you would think my Twitter page would be very uneventful and quiet.
Well, it was neither uneventful nor quiet! Something very strange appeared to be happening on my Twitter page; I began to notice that several men were following me. I also noticed that the men all had Hispanic names! Over the course of the next few days, and in spite of the fact that I tweeted nothing, more and more Hispanic men were becoming my followers! The number of followers soon grew to over 150 and I was increasingly becoming more and more puzzled. What were these men looking for? Why were these men trying to find whatever they were looking for by following me? I had no profile listed, no picture, and certainly no tweets – neither from me or my favorite author! It was quickly becoming a great mystery!
Finally one day, after watching 10 more men adding themselves to my followers list, I decided to Google my name – Laura Acuña. As soon as I pressed the Google search button, I began to see pages and pages of information and photos of my namesake. As I viewed the on-line pictures of Laura Acuña, it suddenly all clicked into place. The mystery was no more – instead, it made perfect and hilarious sense! Apparently, I am a Brazilian bombshell! Or, more accurately, the ‘Laura Acuña’ whose pictures are posted on-line is a Brazilian sex symbol! Obviously, with no photo of myself and no profile information on my Twitter page, all of those Hispanic guys thought they were following their favorite pin up girl! Let me tell you, she is everything I am not! She is tall; she is brunette; she is curvy in all the right places; and she is gorgeous! The only people who thought this was more hysterical than me were my own three sons who immediately took to their own Facebook pages and posted to the world that their mother had been mistaken for a Brazilian sex symbol!
Well, after all the laughing had subsided, I knew I had a job to do. I had to delete all of those disillusioned young men from my account and start all over again. I needed to post a picture of myself on my Twitter page and then write a little bit about myself for my profile. For the record – I am not tall, nor brunette, nor curvy in all the right places, and I am not even Hispanic (I acquired my Hispanic last name through marriage)! I was sure that, once the truth about the ‘real’ Laura Acuña was posted, I would no longer see any more men signing up to be one of my followers. I actually felt bad for the men who would be disappointed to find out who they were really following!
Now this is a funny story for sure – but, as so often happens, there is an underlying truth. If we are to be truly honest with ourselves, most of us would probably admit to a fear that lurks beneath the surface—the truth is, many of us fear the people in our lives (re: our ‘followers’) would be very disappointed if they knew the real ‘us.’ We are convinced they will drift away and stop being our friend if they were to discover who truly we are on the inside. Many of you will know exactly what I am talking about.
Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever been paralyzed by the thought that, if people knew the ‘real’ you, they wouldn’t want to have anything to do with you? Does this cause you to keep people at an arms length and never reveal your true self to those closest to you?
I have been well acquainted with this kind of faulty thinking. The root cause of this is shame. Many of us tend to confuse guilt and shame, thinking they are basically the same – but such is not the case. While guilt says that you have made a mistake, shame is far more damaging -- for it says ‘You are the mistake.’ That, ladies, is a lie straight from the pit of hell. God doesn’t make mistakes – and He certainly does not think you or I are one, either!
It took a group of very safe, very loving, “real” Christian sisters to help me learn that it was ok to be my true self—the good the bad and the ugly! We need authentic, real relationships, girls! It was also a right understanding of the difference between guilt and shame that helped me allow God to transform my thinking about myself. It is now in line with what He thinks about me. Shame has no place in the life of a child of God and I am free of it! Praise His name!
I have two prayerful longings for us. My first prayer is that we would all be in environments where we can feel safe enough and free enough to be our true selves – not only before God, but before our friends, family, and the church as well. My second prayer includes a challenge: I am praying that we will rise to the occasion and be the safe women, authentic and real—the kind of friends, sisters, wives and mothers who breathe life, grace and love into others, inviting and encouraging them into freedom without judgment or comparison.
Will you join me in this prayer and challenge? Do you need to feel and experience God’s grace in this area of your life? I would love for you to leave a comment and share your thoughts with us!
In His Love,
The not tall, nor brunette, nor curvy in all the right places......~Laura Acuña!
" This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave- tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike, "What's next Papa?". God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who He is and we know who we are: Father and children." ~Romans 8:15-16 (MSG)