I think living authentically has to do with living openly, in humility, before the Lord, ourselves and others.
It’s about embracing who God created us to be, and at the same time acknowledging that we are not perfect. We are infected with sin. We have weaknesses, and yet we are not defined by these weaknesses. We are defined by God. It is being aware of our beauty and blemishes and secure in who we are in His sight – secure enough to be vulnerable.
It is being willing to say, “I struggle with ______ .” Fears. Doubts. Feeling down about myself. Believing lies. Temptations. Self-pity. Selfishness. Apathy. Worry. Rejection. My past. My present. Depression. Anxiety. It is sharing where we are at in that struggle and how God is working in our lives.
We seem to desire authenticity in others, but are hesitant to always live it out ourselves. It requires taking a chance to open up to others and share our lives – the joys, the sorrows, and the struggles. We’ve likely been hurt before in doing so, and so we shirk back, afraid of rejection or humiliation.
Living authentically does not fear others negative responses to our willingness to be honest about ourselves. It is trusting God to use our lives and our stories. Others may be critical. They may accuse us of being too serious. They may turn their back on us, out of their own discomfort. It is not wearing our heart on your sleeve or airing our dirty laundry 24/7, but having a willingness to share who we are wisely and openly.
Being in the company of someone who is willing to live authentically is refreshing – like a trickling stream, an autumn breeze, or watermelon and lemonade on a hot summer day.
I think it is the “cup of cold water” that Jesus talks about in Matthew 10. It is loving in the name of Jesus, opening ourselves up, sharing our life story, sharing our struggles, in order to encourage and comfort those whom God has placed in our paths, by sharing what God has done and is doing. It is taking the comfort that we have received from God in ALL troubles to comfort those in ANY trouble (2 Corinthians 1:4). When we open our hearts, are authentic, honest, real – not perfect, just real – God can use us as a vessel of His love.
It’s funny. As I am writing this, I can feel my anxiety rise over sharing my thoughts. I feel vulnerable. Somewhere, out in the distance, I can hear someone saying, “I don’t agree. What does she know? I don’t think she’s very authentic. Who does she think she is writing on this subject?”
Truth is, I’m not an expert, just another sojourner for Christ, trying to be intentional in my living and loving the Lord. I want to live in humility, wisely, openly, trusting in Him. I strive to live authentically, but I know I fail.
I hope that these words gave you something to think about and maybe even encourage you to continue your quest for living authentically.