As humans, we’re drawn to authenticity, and our culture places a high value on being authentic. But authenticity can be a scary, unpredictable thing, can’t it? It’s scary to feel exposed.
I’ve written about this before, but I’ve learned this year that one of Jesus’s greatest invitations is for us to be naked and unashamed. If I’m being really honest with myself, I know that for me, the risk of intimacy is much less scary than the fear and danger of isolation.
Earlier this fall, I had a conversation with someone I had just met and we were talking about our passions, and how we were living them out. I brought up writing and blogging and as our conversation continued, she asked me where she could find my blog. Queue anxiety. I’m not ashamed of the story I’m writing – but in some moments, I am hesitant to share it.
I was hesitant to talk about it because I never wanted to write this story.
If I could have made the choice, I wouldn’t have chosen this. But when she asked me where she could find my blog, I thought back to hearing the Lord asking me to write, and to be authentic in sharing it.
Authenticity is about inviting people in, and so in this conversation, I told her about my blog and what I’ve been writing about. Even though it was uncomfortable. Even though I don’t want this to be part of my story. Even though there are parts I wish I could do-over or not do at all.
Earlier this year, when I started to share what I was walking through on this blog, I felt like the enemy was attacking me for writing. I thought I was feeling attacked because I didn’t discern Jesus’s voice accurately when He called me to write. I thought maybe I had got it all wrong. As time went on, though, I realized that it felt like the enemy was attacking me because it was important. What I was saying was important and the enemy wanted to shut me up. Why? Because being honest and being vulnerable is powerful.
2 CORINTHIANS 4:1-4 (MSG)
Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times. We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.
I think that being authentic is a gift we all have. I consider it a gift to write through this platform and to invite people in. That being said, I believe that there are parts of our stories that need to be handled with care, and details that need to be discussed and worked through with professionals and trusted family and friends. Even then, it’s a gift to be real. To name things for what they are. To tell it like it is.
So, I’m not saying I think it’s a good idea to lay every detail out in words, or for everyone to be invited into. What I am saying, though, is that I believe it’s important to be authentic in the space you’re in. Whether you’re sharing with one person or with people around the world, being authentic is powerful, and being honest is healing.
I pray you feel you have the space to be authentic in your life, and if you don’t, I pray so deeply that you find it.