How I've Struggled to Live Authentically
I've always been pretty good at hiding.
When I was young, I lived in a cul-de-sac full of children. One of our favorite neighborhood games was hide-n-seek at night. And I am not going to lie. I was really good at hiding. Sometimes I would be hiding so well, they had to call the game because they could not find me. I guess that means I won.
I hid all the time.
I hid my journals so no one would read them.
I hid my face behind makeup.
I hid my body behind loose clothes.
I hid my sin behind good things like mission trips and leading bible studies and worship leading and being a captain of FCA.
I hid my feelings of rejection behind judgmental attitudes and arrogance.
I hid my insecurities behind confidence.
I hid my hurt behind a smile.
I hid my exhaustion behind hustle.
I guess that means I am good at hiding.
I wonder what I was so afraid of.
Maybe I was scared that if people saw the real me that rejection would come, or judgment, or disappointment. Maybe I was afraid that they would not like what they saw under the mask.
Authenticity has not ever come that naturally to me. The layers started to get stripped away when I went to college. I met some people that started asking me harder questions, wanting to go deeper than surface-level with me. At first that felt so intimidating and scary to me. But as I grew in relationships with these friends and mentors, I started opening places of my heart that had been long hidden away.
I started sharing my feelings and thoughts and sins with safe others. I shared hopes and dreams and heartaches. I shared doubts and fears. I started actually being genuine with people, real, true. For probably the first time in my life, I was learning what it meant to let others into my mess with me.
And I let in God, too. I started to learn how to be raw and vulnerable and honest with God, that I did not have to pretend in front of Him anymore. That He would still love me when he saw the depths of my heart.
And I started to really find freedom where the Spirit of the Lord was. I found freedom in the confession, the lamentations, the praise, the complaints. I found freedom there because when I opened the door for others to come in, for God to come in, truth came in with them.
And it changed me.
I battle living authentically every day still. I still am pretty good at hiding, but I am learning to bring things into the light that are usually in the dark. I do this with the safe people in my life, and I do this with God. It is a daily choice to let people see me- my personality, my beliefs, my flaws, my struggles, my heartbreak, my thoughts, my feelings. And I do not often let them see. It is risky and scary and I never will know what they will think, but it is me. And it is beautiful.
There are times I wish I could pull off more pieces of the mask, but I know that only truth will do that. When I fill my mind with truth, tell truth, accept truth, the mask will continue to crumble into dust. And I will be exposed. And that will be ok. Because freedom is there. It is there in those authentic, raw prayers, and it is there on tear-stained journal pages, and it is there in conversations over coffee.
Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing more with you about authenticity with God, self, and others. We are going to talk about why those things matter, what holds us back from them, and how to implement them more in daily life. You will hear some of my stories, some others' stories. And we are going to open up our bibles, fill our minds with healing truth. The kind of truth that frees.
I would love for you to join me. Not for my sake, but so that you will know the truth, the truth that sets you free.
I confess that hiding is easier.
But God, I can't hide anymore.
Bring what is in the darkness to the light.
Bring what is in the darkness to the light.
Teach me how to be honest in prayer.
Teach me how to understand who I am, what I feel, what I think.
Teach me how to be vulnerable with others.
I open my heart to truth, the truth that comes in.
I want to know truth, and I want to live it.
In Jesus' Name,
Creative Journaling Prompt
Are you really good at hiding like me?
Take some time to consider the person behind the mask.
Consider the details, the hidden things. The things that you feel or think or believe. The things that you are scared to admit, the things you want no one to know. The things you see when you see yourself.
Draw that person or write out the descriptions.
Here's the key. Don't hold back. Be honest.
That's the only way to authenticity.
"He uncovers the deeps out of darkness and brings deep darkness to light." Job 12:22