Made Real

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

1 John 3:16

The Velveteen Rabbit recently celebrated its 100th birthday.  First published in 1922, by Margery Williams, I think there is a reason this story has never gone out of print.  The lesson is timeless.  

When I first reread The Velveteen Rabbit as an adult, I can remember it stopping me in my tracks, only to go back and reread it a few times over.  There was so much truth in this little book.  At first glance, the story felt a bit sad.  A toy rabbit is routinely tossed to the side for the more attractive toys.  Then, once chosen, the rabbit is loved to the point of being completely worn out.  But, dig a little deeper and you will find a story lined with a lesson on what it means to genuinely love and be loved.  In a world where so many are deceived into believing that superficial possessions and titles are what should define us, this book brings us back to what it means to – as the Skin Horse describes – become “Real.”

“You become.  It takes a long time.  That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby.  But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

The Velveteen Rabbit

Becoming Real requires vulnerability and sacrifice.  As a wife and mother, this truth immediately resonated with me.  Over the last twenty years, I have been loving five humans unconditionally until I am sometimes “loose in my joints and very shabby!”  Marriage and mothering are a big commitment; one that requires sacrifice!   Yet, at the same time, it is also this commitment that has yielded the rewards of huge personal growth and beautiful family relationships.  Put it all together and it is my greatest treasure despite the personal sacrifice.   My love for my kids and husband have given my life immeasurable depth and meaning.  It has given birth to a love that transcends the physical; one that cannot be put into words, is eternal, and lives deep within my soul.  

Christ was a perfect example of this type of love.  His love for humanity convicted Him to willingly sacrifice his life on a cross so that all who receive Him will have everlasting life.  Christ loved to the point of death.  I sometimes wonder, could I love that deeply?  Would I give my life for my children or husband?  Like the unsung casualties of war within our military or the martyrs in Jesus’ day, could I love to the point of death?  

Thankfully the majority of Americans are not required to make such a decision.  But, the point still remains.  As Christians, although we may not be asked to sacrifice a physical death, we are called to sacrifice spiritually on a daily basis when choosing to die to self in the name of love.  And, just like the Velveteen Rabbit, so too can we find ourselves feeling weathered when doing so.  

When you think of weathered, what comes to mind?  I think of an aged fine wine, the carved out riverbeds of the Grand Canyon, or the wrinkles that line an elderly person’s face.  They were each weathered to “become” what they are now; a wine rich in taste, a canyon rich in beauty, and an elderly person rich in wisdom.  Do you see it?  Do you see the beauty in becoming Real despite the weathering required to arrive there?   I do.  I hope you do too because in the words of the Skin Horse, “once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand” (The Velveteen Rabbit).

Our culture continues to push lifestyles that are more and more self-centered and engaged in shallow forms of love. We live in an age of round-the-clock technology and the facade of social medial. But it is my hope that you will not give in to the instant, superficial, or comfortable.  Instead, push past the false passions of this world and take steps to chase what will make you Real.  Discover how to love as Christ did. I promise you that the rewards are beyond measure! 

What steps can you take to love authentically to better become your Real self?  

xo Carre

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