Fake It 'Til You Make It
By Eddie Jones
"Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith." Hebrews 13:7 (NRSV)
I grew up on a dirt road with few friends in my neighborhood — neighborhood being any home within bike-riding distance. When I wanted to play basketball, I'd pick two teams (the Lakers and Celtics, for example) and pretend I was the clutch player for both squads. Lobbing the ball to the post, I'd run into position and catch the pass, pivot, and launch a Wilt Chamberlain skyhook. If I missed, Bill Russell would rebound and feed the ball to Jo Jo White who would shoot a jump shot. I kept score in my head, called fouls on myself, and played until Mom called me in for dinner.
Football was more difficult. I'd throw the ball deep and sprint to catch it, sometimes slamming into the pecan tree. Unless it was an obvious pass interference call (occasionally a branch would hold me as I sprinted past), I'd limp back to the huddle and call for a sweeping half-back reverse to allow my wide receivers to rest. The imaginary NFL "Snow Bowl" Championship of '68 played between the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams remains a classic in my small neighborhood.
I never played organized football or basketball. All moves and instincts I learned came from emulating the legends of the game. But my imagination and imitation proved useful. Later, in college, other players would comment on my abilities, asking if I'd played high school ball. I'd smile, think of Wilt, and launch a skyhook.
These days I study great writers. One day I hope to become one; which is why I find it comforting that the writer of Hebrews also endorsed this "fake it 'til you make it" approach to excellence. Imitate the faith of your leaders, he tells his readers, and consider their success. So I do.
I consider the life of David and how his righteous indignation for God led him to challenge giants. Fake bravery until you are brave, I tell myself. I look at Abraham and admire his adventurous spirit as he set out for a land of promise. Fake obedience until you obey without flinching, I think. I admire Noah for building a boat before there was an ocean, rain, or tidal charts. Fake vision until you can clearly see what is not yet, I whisper in darkness.
I can't prove there is a God. Can't prove there isn't either. But I know this. The grass stains on my knees and the mud splattered on my face, reflected my belief that the game I played on that solitary field behind my mom's house was more real than any I watched on television. If there is no God, then I've only deceived myself and lived a life of courage, adventure, and vision, which, in itself, isn't a bad thing. But if there is a God, then my fake faith is real. Either way I am a winner.
"You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia." 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 (TNIV)
Eddie Jones © 2010, printed with permission
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Eddie's young adult novel, The Curse of Captain LaFoote, won the 2012 Moonbeam Award in the Pre-Teen Fiction/Fantasy category and 2011 Selah Award in Young Adult fiction. Dead Man's Hand, Eddie's first middle grade novel in the Caden Chronicles mystery series, is now available from Zonderkidz. Eddie sails, surfs and writes in North Carolina.
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