"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength."
- Philippians 4:13
My mother has this saying she used to tell me and my brother growing up.
If there was ever an event we didn't want to attend or a task we thought we couldn't accomplish, my mother would pop up in the background.
"Fake it ‘till you make it!" she'd shout.
Meaning, that party you’d rather not attend? Put a smile on your face and pretend you’re having a good time.
That task you’re insecure about performing? Smile and act like you know what you’re doing.
Fake it ‘till you make it.
The beauty of this advice was that often — in feigning enjoyment, in wearing a smile instead of a scowl — the fake became real, the attitude genuine. Before we knew it, the party was fun. The task was complete. The joy was made whole.
I firmly believe that true celebration blooms out of an attitude of contentment.
When we finally become at peace in our circumstances, we can celebrate. We can rejoice.
Sometimes, though, that peace doesn't feel natural. It's not our gut impulse or our immediate reaction.
It must be fought for and practiced. And sometimes, I believe it must be faked.
Aren't there moments, days, months, when you just don't feel like rejoicing?
Your best friend gets a job the day you lose yours.
The house you wanted gets bought by someone else.
You're throwing a party, and everyone cancels.
You're single, and all your friends are married.
You're married, and all your friends are pregnant.
You're pregnant, and you miscarry.
You have children, and you're stuck at home, wishing for just a moment of rest and quiet.
Your children are grown, and you wish you could have them back.
Life is hard, and our tendency is to make it harder.
Because misery is hard. Self-loathing is hard. Anger and irritation and impatience are hard.
Wallowing in self-pity feels easy, but it's hard.
Sure, take a couple of days. Drown yourself in a pint of Ben and Jerry's. Call out to the Lord in agony. Fall to your knees and cry in the shower.
But for rejoicing to return, there has to be contentment — there has to be gratitude — in your circumstance.
Depending on the day, that contentment may feel forced.
Force it anyway. Fake it anyway.
These 31 days of blogging have not been easy.
I am burnt out, and the words are running dry.
I am tired and slightly irritable, and I'm producing a wedding tomorrow that inside, I'm a nervous wreck about.
But my mother's words ring true in my head.
"Fake it ’till you make it."
Not because I don't believe in authenticity. Not because I don't believe in showing my friends and family the truest version of myself.
But because I believe that sometimes, our friends and family deserve our best.
The person throwing that party you don't want to go to? They deserve your smile. They need your support.
The newly-engaged, newly-married, newly-pregnant? They need you to say "congratulations." They need your hugs and your laughter and your care.
The task you've promised to complete? It needs to get done, and it needs to be done well.
Fake it ’till you make it.
Soon, your contentment, your gratitude, and your joy will become real.
Faking it won't be fake anymore.
It will be real. It will be authentic. It will be genuine.
It will be true celebration.
photo via Wit + Delight