“Thank you for being so real.” Women make this comment to me many times after I speak. I love it. It means they heard my heart and we made a connection. But more than that I trust it means that they joined in my journey with God and that experience will encourage and help them in their journey with God.
However, what we often enjoy in a speaker or author—authenticity—we cringe in our real-life relationships. How often do you hold back from saying what you feel or think to a friend, family member, or colleague? You hold back from being your authentic self.
[Disclaimer, of course, I’m speaking of being your authentic self, being the you God made you to be—more like His Son. I’m not encouraging you to say whatever comes to mind or do whatever you want. That is living selfishlessly and un-Christlike.]
Why do we hold back? Fear of being:
Let’s examine those motives because I’m guessing many of us consider them good motives, even Christ-like motives. Are they? Did Christ ever hold back from being authentically Him because He feared any of the above outcomes? He did not. Following are several instances where Jesus was boldly authentic and not appreciated for being so. In fact, most of the accounts in the New Testament of Jesus’ life show more often He was not celebrated for who He is. (Luke 11:14-28; Mark 3:20-21, 31-35; John 2, 7)
By being His authentic self Jesus accomplished God’s purpose for Him which was the literal salvation of mankind.
God made you (gifts, talents, personality, strengths, weaknesses, etc.) exactly the way He wanted you. When we don’t live bravely who He made us to be we are cheating our families and friends, the world, and ourselves of the gift God meant us to be. When I was a kid I didn’t celebrate me. I tried to be more like my best friend. She was cool. She was artistic, athletic, adventurous, and oh so, interesting. Of course, my efforts to be someone I was not were a complete failure. I cheated myself, friends, family, and God of being being who God made me to be through discovering my strengths, talents, and kiddo-coolness! However, I learned what I was not good at.Yet, I wonder how sad God was that I spent so much time trying to be someone He did not create me to be. How sad are we when we see our kids throwing off who they are in order to fit in with the crowd? We try to help them see how wonderful they are, but the only thing they see is how different they are and that they don’t fit in.
You’re a big girl now. The world needs you to be her. God has an important purpose and work for you to do, but you can only live that purpose and do that work by being you—no one else, not even your best friend.
If you have spent so much of your life trying to fit in or not being you, stop. Get alone with God. Ask Him to show you:
- What makes your heart sing? What makes you feel alive and fulfilled? This is your calling, mission, passion in life.
- What are your core values? Your non-negotiables in life? Never sacrifice these for anyone.
- What/who means the most to you? These are your priorities.
- Who/what refreshes you? These keep your serotonin levels healthy. They contribute to your feelings of happiness and well-being. Basically, they are your fun and an important part of you being you.
Answer these questions with God. Lean in to God and let Him show you who He has designed you to be. Only by being that person will you be fulfilled. Then boldly, graciously, lovingly, be you. Say what you think. Do what God called you to do—not what the crowd is doing. Incorporate into your life more of who you really are.
When live the authentic you, you will be a powerful example to others to do the same. You will give other women the permission they need to be who God made them to be as well and moving forward with Him. What a gift you are to your loved ones when you are you!
[Why I used this picture–This is a picture of Kerry being her adventurous self. She is actually several feet out from the shore. She insisted on going as far on the trail of rocks as she could. She is four.]
I love relationship with you! What has been your experience in living your authentic self? What makes your heart sing? How do you live your authentic self?
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.