Carnival Games

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25 

INSIGHT 

When the temperature begins to rise, and the kids get out of school, summer festivals start taking place in cities and towns all across America. It’s a special time of year when everyone in the town comes together to celebrate their community over amusement rides, chili cook-offs, and funnel cake. There is so much to see and do at the fair you don’t know where to begin. A community party is taking place.

For a second let’s pretend you and a few of your friends enter one of the fair’s favorite attractions in the House of Mirrors. As everyone goes their separate ways, you get misplaced from your group and lost amongst the hundreds of mirrors. Out of the corner of your eye, you see reflections of your friends in a few of the mirrors. Numerous reflections, but only one is where your friends are. You try to pursue them and head towards a reflection. WHAM! Your head smacks up against a mirror. Wrong reflection.

Your second and third attempt produce similar results. When you think you are on the right track there comes another dead end. Frustrated and sore you give up your pursuit and head towards the exit. From the way they construct the walls to the angles of the mirrors, the purpose is to mess with someone’s spatial and visual senses. The shapes in the House of Mirrors give the participants unusual and confusing reflections of themselves and those around them.

Whether we realize it or not, we tend to live our lives like we are in that House of Mirrors by engaging in the game of self-preservation. This game prevents those much-needed crucial conversations from taking place. Even though we crave to be in relationships with others where we are known, community is something we fear at the same time. We are afraid that if we take off our masks or expose our problems, we will come face-to-face with rejection. At the carnival, we shun the rejected like the Bearded Woman, Two-Headed Boy and Midget Lady and banished them to House of Freaks. We pay money and snap our pictures as we gaze at people who don’t fit into normal society.

We struggle with whether others will perceive us as normal or not. The good news is no one is normal or has it all together. One of the foundations of PC3 is the belief that everyone is crazy. Unfortunately, if things remain the same and we allow self-preservation to exist, we hinder the formation and growth of our relationships. Parties never take place because no one gets invited. We all try to hide our “weirdness” from everyone. However, it isn’t until we let our guard down and become transparent that we will ever feel thoroughly loved. This can only happen in the midst of others. If we are to survive and continue to grow out of our struggles we need people around us to encourage us as well as speak up during those times when we've gone off course.

REFLECTION

  • Why do you believe people engage in the act of self-preservation?
  • What barriers are you constructing that are preventing others from seeing the real you and having those crucial conversations?

PRAYER

God, may I not live my life in a house of mirrors. Instead, let me be transparent about my struggles and shortcomings. Give me the courage to invite others into my world as well as the willingness to spur others on to good deeds. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

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