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How to Spot a Poser


He ran by me while I was walking on a country road near my home. I jumped a bit because I was startled and didn’t hear him coming up from behind me.


The first thing I noticed was his running “shorts” that looked a lot more like boxers. The second thing I saw were his socks. They were black tube socks pulled up his calf.


I shook my head and smiled.


Once upon a time, anyone who wore colored socks with shorts, especially if they were pulled up, would have been considered a nerd. The cool kids wore white socks scrunched down to the ankle or short socks made for running.


Nowadays, and regularly, I see the same dark sock look on teens and young adults worn with their Hey Dudes or sneakers.


So what?


Well, live long enough you notice that styles come and go, and today’s cool look might have been yesterday’s geek attire.


When I was a kid, during the Jurassic period, you were teased if your pants were too short (we called them “high-water” pants) or if you rolled up your jeans. Not so much anymore.


Things change. Styles change. And the definition of “cool” changes about every five to ten years or so.


That said, I don’t think people change all that much.


We all want to be accepted, chosen, valued, and free from the verbal abuse hurled at those who are weird or out of style. (Except for a small percentage of humans who pride themselves on being anti-social and anti-cool.)


There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be wanted. There’s nothing inherently evil about desiring to be accepted and loved. It’s normal to hope people like you and that they appreciate your wardrobe and the effort you put in to look your best.


However, the why behind the what matters most.


Let me explain.


If you spend more money than you should on whatever enhances your outward appearance because you are insecure and only feel good about yourself when you’re the best-dressed person in the room, that’s a problem.


If you ever find yourself embarrassed about or bored with the perfectly useful but older clothes hanging in your closet, that might indicate a heart issue needing to be addressed.


If you judge others by the shoes, coats, or jewelry they wear rather than by their life, that’s not very cool, regardless of how cool you think you are.


A few weeks ago, an older guy who looked homeless sat in front of me in church. You know what I mean. Old and tattered clothes, dirty shoes, a scraggly beard, and greasy hair. My wife had stopped to use the restroom and hadn’t joined me yet, so I moved and sat elsewhere. During worship, the Holy Spirit challenged me: Why did you reject him based on his appearance? He is your brother and precious to me. 


I wept as I realized how shallow I am at times.


As a rule, we humans have a nasty tendency to look at the outward appearance rather than the heart.


By the way, this is not only true in the way we see people but also in how we look at ourselves. We spend an excessive amount of time on our appearance not just to impress others but to quiet the annoying voice in our head that says, You are not enough.


So, we pretend, posture, and position ourselves always to put our best foot forward. We hide behind masks of perfection because we think only perfect people matter. God forbid anyone would see how crippled and broken we are in our souls.


Do you want to know how to spot a poser?


Look in the mirror.


That’s not to shame you or to make you defensive; it’s just a reality for all of us. 


All. Of. Us.


But what if?


What if we learned to see others and ourselves through the Father’s eyes?


What if we put as much effort into the health of our souls as we do the health of our skin?


What if we cared more about the condition of our hearts and minds than we worried about the labels on our clothes?


I am not promoting sloppiness or ugliness. And I’m not saying how you look on the outside never matters.


Look good. Dress well. Be the best you can be. All beauty is God’s beauty and can point to a Creator who is the perfect Designer.


Just be sure to do as much for your heart because that matters more.


Far more.


Posers pose.


Zits happen. (Yes, even at 66.)


Styles change.


And someday, you might be the frumpy old person who can’t afford the Free People-Yves Saint Laurent-Prada-Gucci look, but it’s okay if you’re okay on the inside.


God will always place the health of your soul before anything else about you.


Now, where did I put my black socks? It’s time for a hike.


Kurt Bubna

Kurt W. Bubna has published seven books, is an internationally recognized blogger, conference and retreat speaker, as well as an experienced life and leadership coach. Bubna has over forty years of experience working with individuals, teams, and a wide variety of business and non-profit organizations.