Much earlier in my life, I began to develop an interest that I still have.
I have always been fascinated with how people talk to other people. I know most folks take that for granted but I don’t.
I got so fascinated with it that I think about it every day and I have a big intellectual interest in the topic, to this very day.
I studied it in college.
One of the most fascinating topics related to everyday talk is how we see ourselves. You see, we have a self-concept, our own picture of ourselves and we try as much as possible to present ourselves in the best light to our world. That in technical terms is called impression management.
In short, it is what we do to manage our identity in the world; put another way, it is the process we go through to communicate the image of ourselves that we want others to have of us.
You see, most of us want to be liked by others, and we strive to be polite to others, hoping others will be polite to us. We want others to believe that we are a “quality” person; we want to be credible. We go out of our way to diminish our negative qualities by using various strategies for hiding our faults. We want to influence others so we can accomplish our goals in life.
We want our image confirmed.
But can we be real with God?
As we wrap up Chapter 6, we are confronted with this question and it is a tough one to answer. Honestly!
Because we play impression management with God.
Pastor Chan admonishes us to tell God how we feel. Be honest with Him and tell Him that He is not the most important thing in your life, but be sorry for it.
Tell Him to change you. Wow, that is scary.
Tell Him you want to experience true satisfaction and pleasure and joy in your relationship with Him. You know you should.
Tell Him you want to love Him more than anything on this earth. Can you say that truthfully?
Tell Him you want to treasure the kingdom of heaven so much that you’d willingly sell everything in order to get it. Can you say that truthfully? Really???
The point I am trying to make is, can we play impression management with God?
The answer is no.
God sees right through our efforts at managing our images.
We may spend hours in front of the mirror and we may practice our interpersonal manipulation strategies over and over but all that does not matter to God.
In fact, it is all a waste of time.
But people still try to do it, like God is a person with human powers.
Let’s be honest.
We do want people in our world to like us. We do want to get what we want from others with relative ease. We do want people to think we are believable and knowledgeable. We do want to experience politeness from others and want to learn to be polite so others can feel our appreciation for them.
But with God, he just wants us to love Him.
He wants our total devotion and that is where we struggle.
That word total.
We want to hold a little out for ourselves, when He wants our all.
I am going to quote the italicized words at the end of Chapter 6 because they are Pastor Chan’s challenge.
“Jesus, I need to give myself up. I am not strong enough to love You and walk with You on my own. I can’t do it, and I need You. I need you deeply and desperately. I believe You are worth it, that You are better than anything else I could have in this life or the next. I want you. And when I don’t, I want to want You. Be all in me. Take all of me. Have your way with me.”
Does this sound like a man concerned with managing His impression?
I think not.