Authenticity is rare these days. Merriam-Webster defines authentic as: “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character” or “not false or imitation”. Being true to ourselves is difficult and leaves us vulnerable.
Everyone is expected to don a persona of impossible perfection and try to fit into a prescribed mold. If we don’t fit, we hear that we are too noisy, too quiet, too fat, too thin, too serious, too obnoxious…. The list is never ending. We are just always “too” something.
The flip side of the “too” is the “not enough”. Someone who is too quiet isn’t assertive enough. A person who laughs too much is not serious enough. It’s always something, isn’t it?
But who does God call us – His intricate creations – to be? He calls us to be ourselves. Our true selves washed in His grace. Our true selves chasing Him. Our true selves with His wisdom. His plan is to use each of us to reach others to grow His Kingdom. We cannot reach others if we are too busy pretending to be someone else.
I used to think God could never use me because I was so incredibly broken. I’m an abuse survivor. I’m a single mom. I’m overweight. I fear rejection. I’m driven. I’m a recovering (some days, anyway) control freak.
I tried so hard my whole life to fit into places I did not belong. I pretended to be someone I wasn’t. I acted like I had it all together and kept my struggles inside. The irony? Acting like I was in control sent me spiraling out of control. The anxiety of waiting for someone to find out I was a fraud was overwhelming
It was not until I started realizing that He created me with my sense of humor and ability to relate to people that I started connecting with other people on a deeper level. He created me and my unique perspectives to reach others. He has turned so many bad things into good things. He has turned my life around. He has pulled me from the brink. He has blessed me beyond measure.
When we wear a mask, sooner or later that mask falls off. When we walk in who we were created to be, we impact others. They realize they are not alone and allow themselves to connect. When we share our sinful past and demonstrate how much He has changed us through grace, the Kingdom wins.
Embrace your authentic self. Speak truth. Let the lost find you by the beacon of your testimony.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7 NLT
“For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”
1 Corinthians 15:9-10 ESV
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
James 5:16 ESV