The Hunger for Authenticity
In a world of where fake news has become the norm and people show only their best faces on social media, I hunger for authenticity. Even in the church, the culture of being good has taken over the passion to be God’s and walk in truth. We wear the veneer of righteousness to cover our wretchedness; pretending to be whole. We, too, are quite comfortable masquerading.
Sadly, the veils we cloak ourselves to fit in with the crowd, leave us exhausted, anxious and standing on shaky ground. Jesus said, there is a narrow path and there are only a few that find it. It seems to me then, that if everyone is going left, I ought to be going right. Pun intended.
There are reasons that we are who we are, and it is far healthier to honor our uniqueness than to shape ourselves into masked bandits; hiding our truest selves and taking on the habit and thinking of those we believe to be in the know; trying to get in wherever we can fit in. But there are reasons for our covering up. Reasons, I am sure some of us don’t consider or understand. Let’s look at a few.
First is the desire to just fit in, be like or be liked by others. Everybody wants to get picked for the team! I was not an athletic kid. I remember what it felt like to not be picked for the team. I was always the last to be picked and it did not feel good. I totally understood the sad reality that I didn’t play softball well, but I still wanted to be part of the group. Even though I had no interest in soft ball, I did long to be connected to the group. We all long to be a part of something.
Second, is hiding behind unresolved issues. We are imposters
. We pretend to be successful when we really don’t believe we are. We pretend to be superwoman, that we handle all the mess that life throws at us with ease but, we really are anxious, afraid and overwhelmed. We are afraid of vulnerability. We believe it’s a sign of weakness but, the Bible says that when we are weak, that’s is when we can become strong because the power of Christ is perfected in our weakness. In other words, we don’t get supernatural help when we believe that we’ve got it together. Sometimes, we hide to cover the wounds of rejection, violation and lack that have left their residue on our lives.
Third, we have allowed others to define us. Our parents and others in authority may have set expectations for our lives that we feel obligated to adhere to. Peer groups can also have that impact. We can easily conform to become a part of a social, civic, or religious group. Sometimes, others have spoken things into our lives that reflect their own fears and insecurities. Saying that we can’t or won’t or perhaps will never be whatever it is that our heart desires.
But God has made each of us unique. Yes, we are all as magical and rare as the unicorn. You are the only you and I am the only me. It seems that we should revel in that knowledge, but most often we don’t. It’s vitally important, at least in God’s economy, that we fully embrace who we are. Here are three reasons:
Purpose – We each came into the world with an assigned purpose. There is no one who can beat you being you. We were given gifts and talents that are uniquely ours and we should work to perfect them. If you are a singer, there are many singers in the world but, your voice is distinct. No one has the timbre and pitch of your voice. If you are a preacher, no one else has the insights and experiences that you bring to a text. That’s why many are called. No matter what your gift may be, work to perfect it. Learn, learn and never stop learning. It will be for your good and for God’s glory.
Assignment – We have a specific assignment. We have been assigned to specific things for specific people. In other words, everybody is not going to relate to who you are and what you do, but you have a tribe that is waiting for you. There are thousands of coaches, consultants, Bible study teachers, doctors, moms, etc. Nobody does it like you! When we are authentic, we will attract our tribes. Until then, we are all over the place, wondering why people don’t like us and wonder why we don’t fit in even though we try. You don’t have to try to fit in to get in. You will attract your tribe by just being you!
Glory to God – When you are your authentic self, you will give glory to God because you trust and believe that God knew exactly what s/he was doing when s/he made you! Read Jeremiah 1:5, NIV. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
So, maybe you weren’t called to be a prophet but, I can assure you that you were called to something. Maybe a singer, or teacher, or doctor, or mom. One thing I know is your tribe is waiting for you. The world is waiting! So, don’t worry about fitting in. Look in mirror, adjust your crown and get ready to stand out.