Who knew that the most watched Facebook-live video would be a mom donning a Chewbacca mask? If you have not heard all the buzz about this story, you can get the scoop here. It’s silly and ridiculous, but that’s the point. Even Candace Payne (Chewbacca mom) is beside herself with all the hubbub and remarked, “Ya’ll, come on.”
I’m not going to overanalyze the hype or attempt to speculate why Chewbacca mom’s video became the overnight Internet sensation that it is. But the response got me thinking about what it means to be human.
Because we desperately need to laugh.
We take ourselves so seriously. We follow all the blogs, Instgrammers, Facebook pages, and Pinners telling us to get up early, do more, eat better, lose the baby weight before baby turns 3 months, wrap our bodies in this, rub the oils on that, and read all the books to ourselves and to our kids, and paint our walls white with no clutter absolutely anywhere with all our kids still living with us who apparently do not ever move or eat anything in our clean white-walled home decked out in furniture from Ikea or repurposed wood from the back of a barn on a farmstead half a mile away from Gramps and Gram. It is hard to laugh when everything is so serious. You cannot be perfect and laugh at the same time. Go ahead, try to laugh with a furrowed brow. Impossible. Well, that is unless you are Chewbacca.
It is better to be honest than to fake perfect, because it is braver to tell the truth than to tell a lie. Lying is for cowards. When we fake perfect we fear man. We tell ourselves the lie that people will not accept us unless we have it all together, and we lie to others when we try and make them believe that we do.
What It Means to Be Authentic
Authenticity is a buzzword as of late, which may mean different things to different people. For some, being authentic means to be real, not a show-off, but relaxed and down to earth, relatable. For others, authenticity means showing all your cards. Some are almost voyeuristic in their desire to see authenticity in others. I don’t think this is healthy. In fact, often I find that when people are frustrated that someone is not being “real” enough with them that they are really mad that the other person is not letting them pry into their vulnerabilities. Those frustrated with the seemingly inauthentic are often boundary-less people who want to be in everybody’s business. They are meddlers and busybodies. And being guarded by such people is not being inauthentic, but rather safe and wise. We can be real and draw boundaries at the same time. We do not have to show all our cards to all people.
The Ministry of Authenticity
When we share who we are with others, the tears, the laughter, the fears, and all the rest on the range of human experience, we level ourselves to one another and say, “I am just like you. I feel as you do. I struggle too. I can laugh along with you.” And in doing so we minister to others’s needs for connection and intimacy. We cannot be intimately close with everyone, but we can at least let someone in. Imagine who God will bless through your life? You have stories to tell, encouraging words to share, and lessons that you have learned. And others want to do the same for you. It is a brave thing to share our true selves with others. Anyone can hide behind a computer screen. But to give ourselves away with the bad hair days, baby weight, dishes in the sink, and processed lunches in a box- laughing in all the mess- to invite people in our day, our homes, and into our very lives- that is the ministry of authenticity. And in doing so we find ourselves both needy and loved, because there is no partiality with God and Jesus died for us all. The cross is no respecter of persons, and God is not impressed with what we have to offer but the offering of His Son on our behalf. We can all be honestly brave because Jesus was brave for us by emptying Himself of the glory that He had to become one of us. He had “no form or majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him” and we despised Him. Some may despise us even when we are authentic, but we do not seek their approval. We live our lives to please God with our honestly brave, authentic selves, admitting when we hurt, repenting when we hurt others, and acknowledging that we always fall short of God’s glory. We can laugh at silly things, at ourselves, and especially at the “days to come,” knowing that being honest is always better than faking perfect.