Oh Authenticity. One of those buzz words. The thing that tons of people talk about publicly, but few people achieve. It’s such a grossly overused word that it has almost lost its meaning. But alas, since I cannot come up with a better word, here goes.
What is authenticity?
I think perhaps my favorite definition of authenticity is one that relates to gemstones. Basically, you can tell an authentic stone from a fake (usually) because the authentic stone will ultimately have a flaw of some kind. They are both stones. You can touch them, lick them, stick them in your pocket. But the authentic one will have some kind of flaw, or “character” as my Mama calls it.
So what does it mean to live authentically?
“God cannot bless who you pretend to be.”-Pastor Steven Furtick
Sure, in todays filtered, makeup happy, work-from-home world, you actually might be able to go the vast majority of your life hiding your true self from 99% of the people that know you. And you sure can if you want to. But God cannot bless the filtered, fake, inauthentic version of you.
I truly believe that the bigger disconnect there is between who you REALLY are and who you pretend to be, the bigger the chance for things like insecurity, identity issues, secret-self destructive sins.
If the authentic you was worth dying for, the authentic you is worth knowing.
Learning to live authentically, means learning to be at peace with your flaws because your worth is not based on your perfection. It means learning to stop hiding your weaknesses because you have a weakness bearing Savior. It means not pretending to be somebody that you are not. It means learning to love yourself because you are loved by God. It means recognizing that God can take your brokenness and make it beautiful.
Side note- living authentically does NOT give you permission to be nasty, rude, or live unholy just because that’s how you feel. We are to pursue holiness, sanctification, and all other growth that helps us to be more like Jesus daily.
Here are 7 Tips to Help You Learn to Live Authentically
(you’ll see this is a reoccurring theme in all my advice) Misrepresenting who you are is actually lying-intentional or not. Repent and ask God to forgive you. It might even be a good idea to ask forgiveness from some who you have misrepresented yourself to.
2. Start asking yourself some deep reflection questions for authenticity
Am I posting or saying this so that people will like me? Or am I saying or posting this to glorify God?
Am I trying to cover up a wound with this habit?
Is THIS _______ really me? Or a fake version of me trying to please people?
3. Consider fasting the things that trigger your desire to live inauthentically
Social media is HUGE here, but it’s not the only thing. Maybe you have some friends who intentionally make you feel inferior if you’re not up to their standards, maybe it’s a certain show or magazine.
When you allow something to make you feel inferior OR superior to another God created human being, you are opening the door to comparison and living inauthentically.
4. (Girls) Go a day or two without makeup each month
Look your gorgeous self in the mirror MULTIPLE times a day and TELL YOURSELF that you are beautiful, just gorgeous.
Don’t pick out “flaws”. Just focus on the truth that you are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God
5. Differentiate between vulnerability and authenticity in your life
Just because I’m being authentic does NOT mean I need to share ALL my bidness with ALL the world.
Distinguish between your different circles of friends. Don’t share things on social media that are not wise to share with the whole world.
6. Open up about your struggle to a TRUSTED friend
“A friend loves at all times and a brother was born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:7
We all need friends, all of us. Not one of us has it all together all the time. Do not be ashamed to admit you’re imperfect.
7. Take your heart to Jesus again and again
When something pops up that makes you want to hide who you really are, immediately take that to the Lord. Ask Him to give you His perspective. Ask for healing. Ask Him to come in and catch your heart there.
It may take a few times. It may take a few thousand times. But Jesus never tires of healing the broken or loving on the weak. His grace is always sufficient and His mercy always abounds.
You and I, in all of our brokenness and sin were worth saving. You and I are worth knowing and worth loving. It is high time we start showing up authentically, to be who we REALLY are, who God REALLY created us to be. There is something that only you and your authentic self can do, people that God longs for you to reach. But you and I will fulfill our callings best when we are living authentically.