"Guileless”. There’s a word you don’t hear much on Main Street. (Main Street? Who lives life on Main Street anymore? The next great social media phenomenon should be called “Main Street Earth,” because that’s what it ends up being. But I digress.)
I came across that word the other day and looked it up for my personal edification. “Devoid of guile (which is ‘sly or cunning intelligence’); innocent and without deception.” That definition immediately brings to mind my youngest. She has always been one to just put herself out there. She is who she is, and that’s that. I remember her preschool teacher comparing her to her older sister: “Your oldest is so quiet and shy, but this one has no inhibitions OF ANY KIND.”
Now, she has reined herself in a bit lately – thanks to pre-teen hormones and a year of trial-by-fire in the public schools. But she’s still the closest I can think of to a guileless person. And that’s good, because it is a wonderful quality to be guileless, to be genuine, to be real.
That has been one of my goals in my adult years: to be more genuine. With everyone. I mean, what good does it really do to have people like you when you know that the you they are liking is just a façade? I got very tired of that.
In particular, I try to be genuine with God. Really, what point is there to be otherwise? As if he doesn’t know the real you. I pray: Lord, I really want to quit this particular bad behavior . . . well, no, actually I don't. The truth is, I LOVE doing that. It feels good. It comforts and soothes my ruffled feathers. I know you say you have better things for me if I give that up . . . and you KNOW how I want to believe that . . . but deep down, I really don’t. I believe it, and then I don’t. I want to change, and I don’t want to change. I’m a mess, God! Good grief, what are you going to do with me??
You wanna know the real me? I’m a selfish little snit. I’m lazy. And boring. I’m a hopeless sugar-and-carb addict. I have very little fashion sense. I get lost in my thoughts and wish I could stay there and forget about the world around me. I'm arrogant; I think I'm smarter than I am. An intellectual snob. I get grand ideas for how to fix the world and then don’t have the courage to tell them to anyone, much less actually put them into action. I take criticism too personally. I think I know everything – and then I think I know nothing. I think more highly of myself than I ought to think – and then I think I’m a worthless piece of humanity and want to crawl under the covers and never see the light of day. Frankly, I’m a bloody mess.
And I’m grateful every day for the people who love me anyway -- especially God who I find, to my great wonder, hasn’t just been tolerant of my weaknesses all this time . . . he’s been working on them. All because I stopped pretending they weren’t there.