Observe the following statement:
"Fake it til you make it."
Do you believe that it is true?
I'll tell you that I didn't for quite some time. Probably more accurate is that I didn't want it to be true. I wanted to believe in inspired passion alone being the thing that "makes it". I wanted to believe that marriages lasted because it was true love and because there were no conflicts in true love. I wanted to believe that a Christian could be on fire for Jesus 24/7 because of the passion inside of them, fueling them onward toward heaven's calling. I wanted to believe that anyone could become a good musician if they just tapped inside themselves and found that inner musician.
But then I had a realization.
The realization came when I gave my 200th piano lesson (or so) to an aspiring 10 year old musician. The student had been studying with me for a couple years at this point and was somewhere between giving up and becoming a true pianist (most of us get to this place in life and give up and then wish we hadn't somewhere in our mid 30's, am I right?). The student so badly wanted to become a good pianist and play things "the way [I] played them" but just couldn't do it. I tried my best to convey that there was only one way to get better at being a musician and that was through hours and hours of countless practice. As you keep slogging away developing your finger strength and familiarity with the keyboard, the piano will gradually become your friend and you will gain mastery of it. Fake it, til you make it.
When accompanying a choir or soloist of some sort, my job as the pianist is to fill in the background music while providing a beat that the soloist can play along with. If there are too many notes for me to play, I "fake it" and just play however many notes I can in order to get by. The next time I play that piece I will be able to play a few more notes and then a few more until eventually I really do "make it."
Benjamin Zander gave a TED talk in 2008 in which he talks about how classical music has the ability to shape and change all of us. At the beginning of the talk he gives an illustration of the difference between an aspiring pianist and an actual pianist. Give it a look.
The difference between a long-lasting marriage and a marriage that ends broken in divorce is not that one lacked love while the other thrived in it. No, chances are pretty good that both couples got married and were thrown into the passion of love right from the get-go. I think it's more accurate to say that the marriage that lasted was made of equal parts love and resolution, while the other one just tried to rely on love. Yes, I'm sure there were moments in the resolved marriage where the couple did have to fake it until they made it. They woke up each day and she made his lunch even though she didn't feel loved and he tidied up after the kids, not because he wanted to but because he knew it would make her feel valued. There is a definite element of realizing the emotion only after going through the menial steps of discipline.
While you may or may not agree with the marriage comparison, I think the easiest example of "faking it until you make it" is with Christianity.
Do you read your Bible each day because you feel close to God, or do you feel close to God each day because you read your Bible?
The answer should be yes.
Chances are pretty stinkin' good that if you feel distanced from God, it is you who have strayed, not God. It is you who have neglected speaking to Him or listening to His voice, or studying His written word, or worshipping Him throughout the week, or gathering with His people. It is the rare Christian who feels intimate with God and that is what spurs him/her on to a more intimate relationship. Most of us go through the disciplines of Christianity and then get to reap the rewards of the actions of our faith. We fake it and then we make it.
I tend to think better in analogy and so hopefully this analogy of faking it til you make it and life applications has been good for you. If it hasn't, then let's go grab a coffee and figure out how I could have said this better. I'll pretend to enjoy coffee with you until I finally do enjoy it :)