Why do we fake it so much? Why do we spend so much time trying to please everyone else and make so little effort trying to please God? When Craig Groeschel asked himself those questions, he couldn't come up with a good answer. So one day he decided to drop the act and start getting real. With that one choice, his life began to change in a big way. Yours can, too.
Call it what you will: a pose, a mask, another someone else, either way - most of us have a multiple personality disorder where we have another "perfect us" to present to the world. You know who it is: the one who says the right things in the right company, acts in the most acceptable way, and does all the right things at the right time. Pastor Craig Groeschel knew this other self all too well, and after being convicted by God, he came to the point where he said "no more" to the pose, and said so in front of his whole congregation. What an act of courage to step out in faith and declare who you really are, no more deception, no more lies! The best part is, this book is like your how-to guide on doing the same thing. Are you finished with pretending? Had enough of being who you aren't? Then read on.
Craig does not mince his words about what a lot of Christians think deep inside but are afraid to say. He hits these common guilt-laced confessions head on with a chapter for each one: I had been living a lie, I can't stand a lot of Christians, I have to work hard to stay sexually pure, most of the time I feel incredibly lonely, I hate prayer meetings, I worry almost all the time, sometimes I doubt God, I feel completely inadequate, I stink at handling criticism, I'm afraid of failure. Any of those sound familiar?
Craig is bluntly up front and honest with each of his confessions, and how he struggled in each area. Believe me, this guy is a real person who has experienced the difficulty of every single one of these points. So much so, I would only recommend this book for those 18 and up because of his openness about his pre-salvation life covered in the third chapter. (younger readers would still benefit from the book if they skipped that one) He addresses all of those secret doubts that flit through your mind, worries, annoyances, anxieties, and tells you how he experienced them all. He says things with such a brutal honesty that, at times, I felt my hair stand on end at some of his outrageous opinions. (especially in the I can't stand a lot of Christians chapter) But I love that the structure of every chapter followed a framework of - describing exactly how he felt about each issue, how God can change you, and how he became after God changed him. There is such an immense feeling of encouragement and hope found in hearing someone explain exactly how you feel, and then tell you how they overcame it.
The book is well written with an easygoing air about it. As though you are sitting down to a good chat with Pastor Groeschel, he doesn't constrain his opinion to people-please, and includes often hilarious anecdotes about his experiences behind the mask. You feel his pain every time he tells about his failures, but you can't help but admire the courage it took to say. You laugh because you understand his humanness, and you smile because he tells you it's okay, and how you can do better.
This book is a risk, Craig says. But it is a risk that pays off far more than you could imagine. The freedom of living for God the way He created you without conforming to the chains of the world's expectations is a liberty like no other. In his words:
The more honest I have become with God, myself, and His people, the richer and deeper my relationships have grown. Before, I was always afraid of being found out. I lived in constant fear of exposure - but not anymore. I overcame my fear because I took a chance. And I'll continue to take obedient, truthful chances.
Who wouldn't want that fullness of life? From someone who knows what it is like to live behind a wall of fake personalities, I challenge you along with Groeschel: dare to walk on the wild side, and live life as you. After all, who better to be you, than you?
I confess that what I wanted most to happen when I wrote this book was that you, too, would join me in taking the risk: to drop the pose, choose honesty, and get real with God as a way of life.
Be honest with yourself. Are you tired of pretending? Living to please others? Acting a part? Doing everything to cover up who you really are? Stop hiding.
Be who God called you to be. Live for an audience of ONE.