Updated: Jul 31, 2019
Someone somewhere once decided that covering original wood floors with carpet was a good idea.
And many someones followed suit.
And that’s ok, if carpet is your thing. You do you, friend.
If I could choose, though, I would say that carpet is not my thing. I live with it if I must (and I currently must in the upstairs of our house), but I digress. I have nothing against carpet, I guess. It serves a purpose in its own way.
What I don’t like is the covering up, the covering up of the original beauty underneath. The authentic wood floors.
Is anyone else tired of hearing the word authentic?
In Christian and non-Christian circles alike, this is a buzzword. When I hear it most often, people are referring to authenticity with others.
Be real with others. Stop apologizing for who you are. Be truthful with the world about what you’ve been through, your feelings, your thoughts, your beliefs. Be courageous in your vulnerability with others.
This is what they say. They define it in so many ways. So many say that it is something that they value in relationships.
And I would be lying if I told you it was not a value of mine. And that would not be authentic of me.
I keep thinking, what it is about this is so appealing to people? Why do we value this so much? Is there more to it than simply being yourself?
Maybe we are tired of lies. Maybe we are tired of false pretenses. Maybe we are tired of fakes. Maybe we are tired of saying “good” when someone asks, “How are you?”… When good is not how we are. Maybe we are tired of hiding.
We want the real thing. We want the truth. We want the original.
I was a bit curious to find out what this word even means since it has become a staple in our vocabulary. So I asked you first. It did not take long for you to respond. It seems you are a passionate bunch about authenticity.
Here is what you said:
Unapologetic truth, in the good, the bad, the ugly, and beautiful
Not trying to copy or imitate others
Unwaveringly sincere, real
No masks, no façade, completely free to be you
Acknowledging that something is imperfect, but it is special because of that
Who you are when no one is looking
True to self
Like removing carpet, and wood floors are underneath: stripped away, they are the real deal…
Merriam-Webster defines it, too.
: not false or imitation: real, actual
: true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character : is sincere with no pretensions
Synonyms: bona fide, certifiable, genuine, honest, for real
Antonyms: bogus, counterfeit, phony, pseudo, sham, unreal
It seems we are tired of projecting a counterfeit version of ourselves to the world, and we are tired of others doing the same.
It gets old.
In my teens I had produced such an intricate counterfeit that I almost believed myself.
I walked around with great grades anyone would have been proud of though I still compared myself to my sister.
I was very involved in my school and my church, but I had a bit of a i-am-better-than-you attitude because of that.
I seemed fun and outgoing to others, but I was battling a depression even I didn't understand.
I had way too many unhealthy relationships with way too many boyfriends but never told a soul just how unhealthy they were.
I jumped around from best friend to best friend because I did not care how I had hurt them, only how they had hurt me.
I was a spiritual leader in my school environment, and helped lead worship at my church, but I was dealing with a lot of secret sin.
I came across as tough and confident, like I did not care what others thought, when inside the fear of rejection paralyzed me.
I kept it all hidden behind a mask, under the carpet, so no one (not even me) would see. I was scared of the outcome if they did.
It feels risky to expose. To display what lies beneath the surface. To show our genuine selves to the world, to ourselves, and to God. But it seems the only way. The only way to real healing.
To be authentic. To be honest. True. Sincere. Genuine.
I believe in this, so this is why I have created a space for just for this.
A space to be authentic.
A space to get real.
But you will find that when I speak of getting real, I do not just speak of this in light of how we interact with the world, or even just ourselves.
Here you will find those themes, yes. But you will also find that we will get real with God here. Because I believe there is power in this. There is healing in this.
And you know what happens when we get real? We find who we really are. A person made by God, in his image, with a unique life. A person made to glorify Him, loved by him, forgiven by Him. So the beauty in being true is actually finding the truth.
So let’s pull back the old carpet, and see what treasures lie beneath- scratches, imperfections, rot, and all. Let’s get real.
Creative Journaling Prompt
What metaphor or picture comes to mind when I visualize the word authentic?
What colors, themes, characters are there?
Draw that image. (No matter how bad you are at drawing)
Then answer these questions:
What does authentic mean to me?
How am I authentic with myself?
How am I authentic with others?
How am I authentic with God?
If not, then what am I?
Help me to understand what, if anything, holds me back from being
Genuine, real, and honest with myself, with others, and with you.
May I be open to the stripping away process, the removing of the layers.
May I be willing to show what is underneath.
No matter how many imperfections or scratches or holes or rot lies there.
No matter how scared I am for others to see.
No matter how scared I am for You to see.
Will you pull it back? Will you expose?
I know that when you do,
The healing begins.
And I will be whole again.