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Just What is Real?

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse.

“It’s a thing that happens to you.”

The velveteen rabbit was pretty scuffed up, one eye gone, his velvet thin, his seams ripping open, and his ears hanging limply.

“What is real?” the rabbit asked the Skin Horse.

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you, and when someone really loves you, then you become real.”

“Does it happen all at once, or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen 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 the 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.” [1]

Such wisdom from a rocking horse! And Skin Horse is right! You have to want to be “real”. You have to be open and patient and understanding to become “real”. People who are brittle and ill humored, self-centered and proud rarely become “real” people. They are like that because they need someone to love them and if they only knew how loved they are – beyond all their wishes and hopes, then they, too, could become “real”.

I was pretty shabby, coming apart at the seams, my hair was thin, and everything about me was pretty “droopy”. I was alone in my world (I thought) and the tears came often. I tried so hard to get people to love me by doing nice things for them, looking just right, and never being obstinate about anything, but I could never feel their love. Oh, when I would do something pretty spectacular they would pat me on the back (actually touch me!), smile, and say some inane thing that had no meaning. And then it was over’until I did something else spectacular.

One unforgettable day, I realized that I was loved – no matter the ripped seams and thin hair, no matter the droopy ears and the eye being gone.I was loved! And just like the “rocking horse” said, when I knew I was loved – no matter what – I stopped trying to be beautiful and talented and efficient. I stopped worrying about my shabbiness and all that was wrong with me. And what other people said or thought didn’t distress me. They just didn’t understand what had happened to me. I had become “real”.

Being “real” means that tears can come, joy will be a part of your life, you will look at others and understand and you will live to please only one Person – Jesus Christ.

Being “real” isn’t how you’re made: Being “real” is what you become once you know you are loved! And Jesus loves YOU, so very, very much.

No one but Jesus could love someone like me and for that amazing love I praise Him. Because of Him, I’m real! There are no hidden motives; no shallow feelings, just love coming from someone who knows – unequivocally – that they are loved.

[1] Margery Williams: The Velveteen Rabbit

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.