I’ve been pondering what authenticity looks like in the life of a Christ-follower. It is so easy to try to look good to others, and then justify it, telling ourselves we want to represent God well, or whatever the reason. While that may sound admirable at face value (and believe me – I’ve caught myself in this trap more than once), it is not authentic at all. It’s an act – a human attempt to appear spiritual with the hopes of looking good and somehow feeling better about ourselves. We hide behind a mask and pretend to be someone we want to be, but we don’t know how to get there.
Many of us struggle to be authentic. Somehow, in the need to survive in this world, we lose ourselves and figure if we can convince people we have it together, we can convince ourselves. As a pastor’s wife, it always felt very important to be that “together” person. It felt my responsibility to help provide a safe and comfortable atmosphere for worshippers by being available and open and loving and caring. A noble goal, to be sure, but looking “together” and living authentically are two different things. Jesus invites us to receive His unconditional love, and live in complete freedom, grace, and truth. We sometimes spend too much time trying to look good on the outside while struggling to connect with who we really are in Christ.
So what DOES authenticity look like? Real people who make real mistakes in the real world. People who aren’t trying to be someone they’re not. People who are comfortable in their own skin. People who don’t have to be critical/judgmental of others in order to make themselves feel better. People who don’t just know about Jesus, but really truly know him. People who don’t just go to church but are engaged in and committed to community. Authentic spirituality is more than what we believe. It is how we live it.
I am in the middle of praying, studying, and developing a process to assist disciples of Jesus on the road to authenticity. I am working toward starting a pilot Zoom group of no more than 10, who will meet weekly for a pre-determined period of time. We will consider one question per week like: “How does knowing God’s love form the foundation of your identity?” or: “Why do we worry we are somehow not enough, even decades later?” Alongside the question of the week, we will explore an accompanying Scripture passage. We will consider tried and true spiritual disciplines to help us grow closer to Jesus experientially, and we will covenant to pray for one another.
Do you long for spiritual authenticity in your life? Are you ready to take off the mask and experience the unconditional love of God for you? Are you ready to lower your defenses to fully receive God’s love?
If you are interested in being one of the ten in this pilot discussion group, please reply to this post, or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. As soon as we have ten, we’ll schedule an initial Zoom meeting to nail down details, expectations, and start/end dates. No obligation until you get all the information you need. I hope to hear from you soon.
*Graphic courtesy of garycombs.org