There are so many things that bring me to the virtue or concept or quality—whatever you want to call it of—authenticity. I know that I am drawn strongly to those people, events, places, things that represent authenticity.
The Webster’s definition that resonates my thoughts on authenticity is this: true to your personality, spirit, or character.
When I was first becoming a Blessings Unlimited consultant, that was the one thing that rang true over and over as they were preparing and coaching us as consultants. “Don’t try to be someone you aren’t. Be the authentic you. Because that is how you will reach people. Don’t compare yourself to someone else, another consultant, or try to do things the way they do them. Because it’s not you. Find your authentic you and you’ll soar to who God wants you to be and who God made you to be”.
I think that may be why I loved and do love Blessings Unlimited so much. I think that may be the reason I love Journey, our church, so much. I know that is the reason I love Steve so much. And why I love little children so much. Who is more authentic than a child? Honestly, who? That being the reason we are to have faith like a child, don’t you think?
This has been so interesting as we try to teach our kids. I feel like I am always saying “especially with our junior high kids”. Can you tell that this has been a huge challenge for me personally learning how to raise our girls in the stage they are in? God is teaching me all the time. Challenging me on who I really am. Challenging Steve and I on how we are raising our kids in general. Teaching our kids to be “authentic” even when their “authentic” is not exactly what you are proud of at any given moment. Because as we all know, shining the light of Jesus, being the light, and helping others to be the light…it is hard. Especially when darkness is all around us. Darkness being defined as without light. This can be in the forms of gossip, jealousy, and what I like to tell the kids—anything that Jesus would not be proud of. Basically the cliche’ of WWJD (what would Jesus do) is really something I want my kids to think about before acting, speaking, etc.
Where do you draw the line with this? When kids have a hard time being a friend to someone who is not a good friend to them. I expect that my kids are friends with everyone. That they respect people, stick up for people, and be Jesus to them…no matter what. But there are people they may choose not to be with. Is that ok?
They need a safe place to fall. A safe place to vent. And I think there are times when I don’t allow the “real” feelings to be expressed. Sometimes I don’t let “authenticity” be my guide in how I interact with our kids. Home, being Mom and Dad, should be a place of transparency. If nothing else than to voice your feelings, let them be validated, and learn how to deal with them. I know that I have to have that place. Every day I need it. And by dealing with those feelings you grow. Learning that God has placed certain people in your path, whether you like it or not, and God has placed certain situations in your path, whether you like or not, and God has placed you where you are at—whether you like it or not—it is all to grow you. To bring you to your authentic you. And more importantly to bring you closer to Him.
I have been humbled hugely the last few weeks. Because we do not have a church building, we held many children’s practices for the Christmas program in our home. Many times because of my work schedule and other activities we are involved in, I just could NOT get my house to the point that I wanted to have people in my house. Granted, kids do not care. But there were adults, mostly women, all friends of mine who were there each practice. I could be wrong, but I don’t think there was even one time where my house was picked up how I wanted it. I was embarassed to say the least. Talk about AUTHENTIC. Here it was in all of its unpicked up, laundry strewn, Christmas crates piled up, Blessings distirubution center self. I had to just go on. Put a smile on my face and come to the realization that this was the “real” me during those few weeks. Authenticity is continual work. For me, my kids, for all of us. Authenticity is who we are called to be.
Do you know what overpowers darkness every. single. time? Yes. LIGHT. Being the light. Being the you God created you to be, which is a reflection of Him and His love. Let yourself feel what you feel. Find the safe place that allows you to validate your feelings of darkness—because we all have them. Authenticity. It’s something that I so strongly draw upon and may be one of the hardest things to draw upon as we strive to live this life God has placed us in. A continual work. And my authentic me needs help. Thank God for grace.