I always thought of myself as an authentic person. Someone who was simply doing life the best they could with an open heart and a love for others. It wasn’t until a few years ago I realised my authentic may not have been all that authentic.
I longed for acknowledgement, and tried desperately to seek other people’s approval. To me a pat on the back was better than the rejection I was afraid to feel. But like everything else, when you sink all of your effort into something that’s not naturally within you, there comes a point where you begin to burn out. The effort to be everything you’re not catches up with you, and along with that comes the realisation that you could still easily be rejected when not doing for others.
Along with the emotional aspect of it all, I tried to keep up with appearances, hair dyed, make up on and of course, leaving my trusty leggings at home whenever I needed to run to the shops. I wanted to fit in with the latest trends, tried every diet known to man... I wanted society to accept me. And yet... I never felt as if I was good enough, pretty enough, smart enough. I even tried to slow down my speaking, because I'm a super excited, fast talker.
A few years back, I hit the wall, tired and worn out trying to be everything I thought a sweet christian wife and mother was supposed to be! I remember praying to the Lord, tears streaming down my face and asking, "Why can’t people just love me for me? I'm a good person right?"
And very quickly God whispered back, his words surrounding my heart. I love you for you. Stop trying to please people and please ME by being your authentic self. Be the girl I created, unique in all ways.
Those comforting words set me on a very real, raw, sometimes roller coaster of a path that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I began to realise if I didn't start embracing the things that made me who I am, if I didn't start looking at the things that made me unique and quirky and appreciating them, I was going to miss out on the best things in life. I also needed to question myself on what a christian woman looked like... she looked like me, like the lady in the seat next to me, even like you!
So what does it mean to be authentic? Here’s the definition-
“not false or copied; genuine; real.” And, my favorite definition, “representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified.”
So here’s three things I live by to truly keep myself in check and stay authentic to myself.
Inside and out- Be who you are inside the home and outside the home. My beliefs and morals are something that are on display at all times. If I’m praising God and talking to Him in my kitchen, you can be sure I’m also talking to Him on my daily walks at the park or sharing my love for Him in public. Same goes for kindness and compassion. If I show it to strangers I most certainly should be displaying it in spades at home.
Let it Shine- Don't want to wear make up? Then don't! Want to wear that quirky hat, those super comfy leggings, and let your hair show it's grey? Do it! Let the real you, the one who wants to be happy shine. Sprinkle that glitter dust all over the place. There is nothing greater to witness than to see someone just doing their thing, and being happy. I mean, how many times have you looked at someone who's content with themselves and don't care how others see them and thought... I want what they have!
The Ugly Bits- Sometimes we just have to embrace the imperfections that make us... us. We’re not perfect, and we never will be and we need to come to a point where we say that’s okay! And when we reach that point, then we can focus on the great things about ourselves that God can use
For His glory. I have many things I’m not overly happy about, my weight, the way I can be so over emotional about everything, gosh... I could write many things about my ugly. Instead, I now embrace those imperfections. I use them to let others around me know that they too don’t need to be perfect, that they too can love their flaws and use theirs as a testimony. That Gods perfect view of us is so different than our own, than societies.
“To be authentic, we must cultivate the courage to be imperfect — and vulnerable. We have to believe that we are fundamentally worthy of love and acceptance, just as we are. I’ve learned that there is no better way to invite more grace, gratitude and joy into our lives than by mindfully practicing authenticity.”— Brené Brown
So to sum it up, authenticity to me, is being true to who you are! The kind, emotional, loving you. It’s not trying to please others, it’s not trying to be the master of everything, it’s not filtered selfies, and the perfect life social media posts. Authentic is showing the world this is who God made me to be on the good and bad days and I’m happy with that! Authenticity is walking with humility, grace, forgiveness and being the light our Heavenly Father created me to be, by being my sweet self and letting Him shine through.
“Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be displayed in our body.” Corinthians 4:7-10
I pray this blog post blessed you today, and I pray you share it with others who also need to be uplifted. Sign up to my newsletter at the bottom of this post to be notified of everything going on at Little Sparrow Loved!
Here are some of my authentic, crazy faces, not ready for my sons Ipod in my face photos! Except the last one... I made him wait for me to look at the camera lol