photo above: When I first started thinking about the blog, I thought it was going to be about posting pictures of the messy in my house. Turns out it was supposed to be about the messy in my heart.
Authentic-Having a genuine original or authority, in opposition to that which is false, fictitious, counterfeit or apocryphal; being what it purports to be; genuine, not of doubtful origin; real. Websters online dictionary
In other words, authentic people are never ever pretenders, fakers, people pleasers, or performers. Or are they? The truth is we are all guilty.
It seems no matter what circle’s we travel in these days there is that buzz word, authentic. What does it mean? I have had folks tell me that they like my blog and my Facebook post because I am authentic. I smile and say thank you, but deep down I think…If they only knew. If they only knew that I am struggling with forgiveness, I can be moody, and a multitude of other sins that are not coming to mind at this moment. I think, if I had a camera recording what goes on in my home, they would all know. I am a pretender, a faker, a people pleaser and let’s not forget performer.
Just recently, my Facebook post went something like this: Today I will not be a pretender a faker a performer or a people pleaser. The very next day, I looked at myself in the mirror and thought: you are a liar, that’s what you are.
I decided to check in on a friend who has been sick. I was feeling guilty because I knew she had been ill and I had not checked on her. Now this is the type of friend that will show up with a meal, a card or candy at any given moment. It seems she always has something in her hands to give to someone. Once she saved a free sample of dog food for me.
I sent a text asking how she was doing. All the while feeling a day late and a dollar short. Her response? “Finally, I’m starting to feel better.” Me: I am sorry that I am just now checking in. I’m glad you’re feeling better (feeling like I let her down). Her:”no worries, I know you’ve been busy.” Me: Yep, story of my life these days. Busy. Feeling like a performer (thinking she was thinking the same about me) . Her: “Why do you say that?” Me: You know too busy performing, not enough time for real stuff. May as well add faker and people pleaser to my list Her:” Sounds more to me like the enemy is mentally attacking you so that you’ll feel less than for your fullness of life and pursuit of God than what you’ve described. Don’t buy into his lies about faking, pretending and such. You are who God says you are, beloved, redeemed, forgiven and chosen.”
Shortly after that my phone rang. Another dear friend called: “About your Facebook post yesterday, you are none of those things.” I have been in a small group with this woman for years. We have had some very deep conversations and I would say she knows me pretty well. She said “you are authentic”. There it was again, that word. If she only knew. I explained honestly to my friend that I have been struggleing, and her phone call came at the perfect time. This is what she told me: ” authentic to me is honest and also knowing you can’t do it alone. Alone without God is what I think Christian authenticity is. Honest and God is Strength”. Ah, the wisdom that God has placed all around me.
Don’t miss it. Learn from each other, be real with each other.
Recently, I ran into a friend who I had not seen for a few months. I had known this friend was struggling with simply being exhausted. She has a bunch of kids and is always on the go. When I ran into her she said “how are you doing?”. I told her that everything was good. I told her I missed her and was excited to see her. Then it was my turn…How are you doing? My friend grabbed my hand, looked me in the eyes and said “I’m tired, so tired. Oh and I’m pregnant…again”. I could see the desperation in her eyes and could tell she needed to say it. My friend needed to tell someone what was going on in her heart. I thanked her for being so honest with me and she said, “I don’t know how to be any other way at this point”. Raw, real and authentic.
I’ve been meditating on this idea a bunch lately. Does being authentic mean letting every person that crosses your path see every deep thought or hurt that is going on? Not unless you are led by the spirit. (That is an entirely different blog post)
I find when I am feeling like a pretender, faker, people pleaser or performer it has to do more with where my relationship is with God then the person/people I am trying to impress. For example, recently I have been struggling with un-forgiveness. I felt betrayed and lied to by a friend. There was shame attached to those feelings because I knew I was wrong. I could feel the foothold of un-forgiveness seeping into other areas of my life. I felt anger, betrayal, and then guilt. On with the mask. Faking, pretending, and performing. inside I felt exactly what the world see’s Christ followers as: I was a hypocrite.
I did confess these feelings to a group of women in my Bible Study. The ladies prayed over me and the situation. Oh, how we need to surround ourselves with prayer warrior’s. Not folks that are going to tell us how wrong we are, but folks that can bring our brokenness to our healer. My heart was covered in peace for the first time in what felt like forever.
It was not long before the un-forgiveness and betrayal was creeping back into my heart. I felt shameful and somehow I couldn’t confess it to God. I kept justifying those feelings. It was causing a separation between me and my Father. I was hiding.
The turning point happened a few days ago when we had to rush my eleven year old daughter to the emergency room because of severe chest pain. This was our second emergency room visit with her in one week. The previous visit was because of an acute asthma attack. This mommas heart was done. As we headed to the emergency room for the second time my heart was raw. I looked at my girl gasping for her breath, she was experiencing the kind of pain no one ever wants to see their child in. At that point I noticed that my husband had thrown the afghan that my son-in-laws grandmother made for me around our girls shoulders. When the grandmother gave it to me, on my daughter and son-in-laws wedding day, she said she prayed over me the entire time. Remembering that moment, I found words. As the tears slipped down my cheeks with my arms wrapped around my girl, I whispered: I trust you, I trust you, no matter what I trust you. I gave HIM my biggest fear at that moment. That does not mean I was not scared out of my mind, what that means is that I knew I was not alone. It means that I know that I have angels with me, it means that I know that HIS ways are not the worlds ways., it means HE loves my children more than I do. It means HE knows and loves me relentlessly no matter what. The good the bad and the ugly. At that moment I could be nothing other than real and honest. My emotions were raw and sometimes that’s what it takes to get real.
Since then I realized my un-forgiveness is coming from a place of fear. I am the closest to God when I allow myself to feel the very thing I am hiding from HIM in HIS presence. It is only then, my dear friends, that I can truly come from a place of truth. My fear is stopped in it’s tracks. Only when I am truthful with God am I not a faker, a pretender, a performer or a people pleaser to others. When I know I am honoring God the best I can the mask is removed and I can be the woman HE calls me to be.
My prayer is that someone will read this and remember that God knows the REAL you. The one you hide from everyone else. He knows every lie you have told, every bit of ugly in your heart. He did not send HIS one and only son to the cross for us to be caught up in bitterness and unworthiness. Jesus paid the price already, allow yourself to be honest with HIM. That is how we can be authentic my friends. Sure, there will be eye rollers and critics. Guess what? When our heart is right with God we do not care. We can get on with God’s work.