The Hat Makes The Man?

I think the only thing I love as much as playing music is going to concerts. Not only do I get to hear my favorite songs live, I get to support the musicians and sometimes even listen to new bands.

For example… When Mae did their 10th anniversary show of Destination: Beautiful in 2013, not only did I get to see one of my all-time favorite bands, I was introduced to a band called COIN. Super hipster, super catchy, super good. Now, I love listening to those guys, and have frequently used their songs as pre-service music.

Last Thursday, I had the chance to go see the second leg of NEEDTOBREATHE’s Tour De Compadres (with Switchfoot, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, and Colony House) in Portsmouth with Rob, Monica, and Crystal. When I say, “had the chance,” I really mean, “We bought these tickets in April.” And we had super great seats. Nancy, our administrator of all things awesome, hooked us UP with her insider connections.

A few months ago, after seeing the first leg of the tour (which had Ben Rector instead of Switchfoot), I bought this hat, since they all were wearing hats and I wanted to be cool like them.

Yeah, I took a selfie with Seth. Judge me all you want.
Yeah, I took a selfie with Seth. Judge me all you want.

So, as we were walking out of the amphitheater, I saw some of my old students from my Liberty Baptist days and struck up some conversation, and as soon as they walked away, a few random people walked up to me.

This is where it gets hilarious: one of the ladies said, “You put on such a great show tonight.” Pause right there. I was getting my groove on in the third row, so maybe she was talking about that.

Wrong.

She continued, “Y’all played such a great concert, it was so amazing.” More people chimed in with, “Yeah, you did so great tonight, I loved the music!”

These people thought I was a band member. Maybe the beard made me look like Drew Holcomb, or maybe the hat made me look like Bear Reinhart. I wasn’t quick enough on my feet to ask what their favorite song was.

Crystal was smart enough to snap a picture of the occurrence.

My initial thought was, “I should probably tell them I’m not a band member.” I looked to my group of friends, and Monica gave me the “play this up for all it’s worth” look.

If your pastor’s wife gives you the go ahead, you go with it.

After a couple of pictures and a selfie, I got out of there and couldn’t help but laugh at what had just happened. I was mistaken for someone I wasn’t.

People thought my identity was something other than what it truly was. Now, in this moment, it was super cool because someone thought I had just finished giving them a great concert.

But how many times in our own lives do we try to pass as someone we aren’t? How many times do we try to live out an identity that isn’t who we really are?

Maybe this whole band member persona isn’t too far-fetched for me. Music is what I love and what I love to play, so it kinda makes sense. I put on a hat, and it made me look like someone else.

But maybe you’re out there living a double life with one component that just doesn’t match up to who you are. Around others, you’re happy and it seems that nothing could ever be wrong. But when it’s just you, you’re hopeless and it seems that nothing could ever be right.

Maybe by day you’re teaching people to live in integrity, but by night you’re living in complete opposition to what you’ve taught.

Maybe you’re wearing a hat that you were never meant to wear.

We all do this, whether on purpose or by accident. We put on a front around others that would make us more appealing and more attractive, thus making others want to be around us. But, at the end of the day, the mask comes off and we’re who we really are: broken, messy, dirty people.

I do it too. You’re not alone. I’m guilty of this. I sometimes adapt to my environment, almost to my detriment. The people around me end up not seeing the real me and get just a glimpse of a people pleasing nature. The truth is, we live inauthentically, and that’s a problem.

How do we fight this desire to live inauthentically?

It would be pretty easy for me to tell you just to be yourself. I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that either, because it’s the truth.

But there’s always roots behind the branches that we call our problems, roots that must be dealt with in order to move forward in our lives and actually live authentic.

Before we can live authentically, we must deal with the cause of our inauthenticity.

This looks different for everyone. Maybe for you, it means sitting by yourself in a coffeeshop and inventorying what causes you to put on a front, and dealing with it by yourself. Maybe it means calling up your best friend, pastor, mentor, brother/sister, counselor, etc., and asking for help to attack the roots.

This is no foreign concept to me. In this season of life, where I’m unemployed and in limbo between working life and school life, I’m going through this. I’m fighting the roots of my inauthenticity, and facing the demons that haunt my personal life.

The biggest thing to remember in this fight is that we aren’t fighting each other. Your friends aren’t causing you to be inauthentic. Your parents aren’t causing you to be inauthentic. Your significant other isn’t causing you to be inauthentic. You have a battle to fight against the father of inauthenticity, Satan.

Ephesians 6:12 gives insight into our war against inauthenticity. It says:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

As Paul writes this as a precursor to his description of the armor of God, he highlights the truth that we’re on each other’s side. We’re in this fight together.

I challenge you to deal with your junk. Deal with the stuff that you want to hide from others. Better yet, make decisions to quit the stuff you’re trying to hide.

If you struggle with impure thoughts and looking at inappropriate images on your computer or on your mobile device, go somewhere that can keep you from looking at or thinking about those things, and use your time there to develop a game plan on how to stop. Read books while you’re there like “The Game Plan” by Joe Dallas or any of the “Every Man’s Battle” or “Every Woman’s Battle”.

If you struggle with lying, make it a habit that you have to tell five truths immediately after every time you lie in order to develop a habit of telling the truth instead.

Stop putting on hats that you were never meant to wear in the first place, and start putting on hats that were made just for you.

You look better in those hats, anyways.

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