Americans have become more healthy food-conscious in recent years after scaring themselves with reports of fake food and ingredients. Many were not concerned and continued to eat “plastic margarine” and “pink stuff” (not together, of course). “So what if it’s not real food?” they asked. “It tastes good, it’s cheaper, and it doesn’t look any different than butter or other hamburgers,” they told us.

Sometimes it does not appear to make any difference whether food contains artificial ingredients. However, consuming artificial ingredients has been found to have negative side effects. Reported side effects included kidney tumors, brain gliomas, bladder and testes tumors, thyroid cancer, adrenal tumors, chromosomal damage, asthma, allergies, insomnia, eczema, hives, hypersensitivity, and hyperactivity in either humans or lab rats.

In food, it makes a difference whether it’s real or fake. Our bodies were designed by the Lord to break down, absorb, and use real food. We get nutrients from real food that are vital to our physical existence.

In relationships, single Christian, it makes a difference whether our relationships are real or fake. Our souls were designed by the Lord to enter into genuine relationships. We get companionship, strength, encouragement, joy, and motivation that are vital to our souls and our spiritual existence.

Side effects of not fellowshipping at a deep and honest level include loneliness, fear, bitterness, skepticism, not being able to fully mature or develop spiritual gifts, and being subject to delusions, unbalanced doctrine, scams, and demonic influences.

If you need the Bible reference, start with Hebrews 10:23-25.

Then reflect on the thought that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit connect and enjoy fellowship within the Trinity, and we were made in His image. So we were made to fellowship, to connect.

I get how hard it is to connect with others due to scheduling and cultural constraints, personality styles, energy levels, technology, differences in taste, and a shortage of people you feel you could relate to, especially as a Christian single. It’s harder to connect if we don’t feel we can be ourselves and, instead, present our fake selves to the world and even our friends.

Yet we are called to be real—not fake—in a Christlike manner in a world of fake, shallow, and fearful or arrogant people.

It seems like part of the key to being real and Christlike—not just doing church—is managing both our expectations and responsibilities realistically. I seem to fail in doing this at a number of levels, so I’m talking to myself, too. But I do know it is possible.

I may expect God to bless me because I think I’m a good girl. When He doesn’t deliver what I think I am entitled to, I have to reevaluate my expectations of being in a relationship with an eternal, all-wise, sovereign God.

I can still tell Him everything that’s on my heart, all my emotions and issues. Yet I am responsible for my responses and actions. I am responsible to pursue and obey the heart of God long enough to uncover His love for me and at least some of His intentions. That way, I understand myself better, and I’m not afraid of my emotions. And I’m not afraid of anyone else’s emotions, either. Personally and professionally, that has helped me to accept others where they are at.

It does not mean I excuse poor, immature, unethical, or unprofessional behavior. Or that I blurt my problems to an unsafe person.

How challenging is it, my single Christian friend, to be real in your relationships?

When someone says, “Good morning, how are you doing?” how do you respond?

If you give the typical “fine” when you’re really not, maybe now is the time to assess your level of comfort with being real.

Maybe you can determine that the next time someone asks you how you’re doing when you’re having a lousy day, you will give an honest answer. (Not the long version, of course, like the scene from Goonies when the bad guys demand that Chunk tell them everything he knows. They meant about the treasure, but he started blubbering about all his sins that he felt guilty about.)

Pray and seek the Lord about who to approach to test their reliability as a potential friend.

Be prepared to be courageous and disclose something about yourself.

Dare to be real and not fake.

Your transparency may encourage others to come out of hiding. Wouldn’t that be something, if the body of Christ could become so authentic and transparent, that the world would stop, take notice, and exclaim, like they did of the church in the first century, “My, how they love one another! I want a piece of that!”

Please look for me on Face Book at “For single Christians: One is a Whole Number.” Be sure to Like and Share the page and anything you find there that is helpful and inspiring.

REFERENCES

Benjamin, David. Top Ten Toxic and Fake Chinese Foods to Completely Avoid. Article for healthywildand free.com https://healthywildandfree.com/top-10-toxic-fake-chinese-foods-to-avoid/  accessed 6/3/17

Canedo, Nick. McDonald’s new campaign debunks food rumors, allows cameras inside factory for first time (video). Article for syracuse.com 10/14/2014. http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2014/10/mcdonalds_new_campaign_debunks_food_rumors_allows_cameras_inside_factory_for_fir.html  accessed 6/3/17

Mercola website. Are You or Your Family Eating Toxic Food Dyes? Article for mercola.com 02/24/2011. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/02/24/are-you-or-your-family-eating-toxic-food-dyes.aspx  accessed 6/3/17

Special Education Degrees. Colors To Die For: The Dangerous Impact of Food Coloring.  http://www.special-education-degree.net/food-dyes/  accessed 6/3/17

Storey, Kate. 14 Foods You Eat Every Day That Aren’t What You Think They Are. Article for delish.com 7/14/2016. http://www.delish.com/food-news/news/a48194/real-foods-fake-foods/  accessed 6/3/17

Troy, Eric. Butter v. Margarine Myths: Margarine Was Invented to Feed Turkeys, Killed Them, and Other Legends. Article for culinarylore.com 3/4/13. http://www.culinarylore.com/food-science:margarine-myths-feed-turkeys-and-more  accessed 6/3/17

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