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For the Woman Who Struggles to Live Authentically

One of the hardest things to do in this life is to be authentic.

We are sooooo afraid of what others think of us.

Afraid?  We’re down right terrified!

The mere thought of standing out causes some of us hyperventilate.

Fitting in makes us feel “normal” because we don’t like being shunned or mocked.

It’s so easy for me to type the previous sentiments.  I didn’t have to look them up or research what it feels like to be disingenuous or as the kids say: to put on a front.

That’s because it’s what I’ve experienced all of my life.

From the cradle – and most likely to the grave – I’ll be fighting off feelings of rejection by others because I dared to be authentically me.

I’m not talking about being true being true to my sinful self: I realize that I’m a sinner saved by grace and that all my righteousness before God is like filthy rags.  That’s a “self” I don’t want to be true to.  I’m simply talking about being a copy cat!

Truth is, I struggle with authenticity on multiple levels. 

As a blogger, I’m constantly putting myself out there for public consumption.

Anytime I write, I wonder how it will be received.

I wonder if anyone will like it.

I wonder if I will be judged for coming off as a know it all.

I worry that I will be perceived as un-spiritual for my sarcasm or lack of accompanying Bible verses.

This kind of fear is polarizing!

It keeps me from obeying God’s voice for fear of being judged.

It makes me not want to press “publish”.

Yes, we should be ourselves because everyone else is already taken; but you know, that sentiment is much easier said than done, yet the Lord recently taught me a lesson about that very thing.

I listen to contemporary Christian music regularly, and I’ve been studying the work of a few artists.

What I love about Chris Tomlin is that he’s like a psalmist, constantly delivering scripture through song.

But then there’s TobyMac, who I’ve come to recognize as a story teller who artfully paints a picture of God’s goodness and life in Christ.

So much of what Chris Tomlin has written has ministered to me, because just hearing God’s word through song is so spiritually edifying.

But I equally enjoy TobyMac’s style of writing.  Listening to it is like reading a good book where I’m transported into someone else’s story, yet the truth of Scripture is still being communicated.

Through studying the varying styles of these two artists, God communicated to me truth about living authentically.

The Father has uniquely gifted each of them to bring Him Glory through song.  Chris Tomlin can’t be TobyMac, and Toby can’t be Chris.

If for one minute they tried to adopt the other’s style, they would both fail miserably because they would loose their own voice.

The same goes for us all.

I often think about the unique ways in which these two artist’s bloom, and how it applies to my own life as someone who aspires to use a mere slither of space in the dot-com universe to encourage women in their journey as wives and moms.

So often I’m guilty of trying to be someone who God hasn’t made me to be.

I read the spiritually sophisticated articles of other bloggers and somehow sense that I should write just like them.

I see their exquisite branding or observe how savvy they are in marketing their work and I think, “Wow!  That’s impressive. I’ve got to do more of that.”

I’m guilty of trying to catch up with the number of followers that others have on various social media platforms, even when God has spoken to me directly about the limits of my involvement.

Yes, sometimes I want to be someone I’m not.

I want to sing how others sing.

I want to write how others write.

I want to speak how others speak.

I want the waistline others have.  (Okay, I just threw that in.)

What an insult to my God – that I would essentially communicate to Him that He makes mistakes, so now I need to be an impostor?

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit convicts me of such shenanigans.

I am on the Potter’s wheel right now, trying to learn how to live authentically.

The Lord is continually bringing me back to the necessity of listening to His still and quiet voice, and shutting out all of the others.  In doing so, I find my own voice and my own message – the one that He so graciously gave me.

Yes, I can always grow spiritually and become more skilled in my writing, but I must not compromise the uniqueness of who He made me to be.

There’s another music artist I would like to reference – someone else who decided to be authentically himself and not follow the beat of anyone else’s drum.

That would be Kirk Franklin.

He emerged onto the Christian music scene when hip-hop seemingly belonged to the streets.  His beat was “funky” and decidedly urban, yet it was the beat he understood before coming to Christ.  The beat an entire generation of youth spoke, yet the church wasn’t listening.

I was about college age when Kirk’s music swept through urban America.

I remember hearing an “unsaved” acquaintance singing the lyrics to one of his songs.  I asked my acquaintance what about the song appealed to him – a song where the lyrics were unapologetically Christian and “churchy.”  He simply said they made him feel happy.

Sometime later, I learned that the young man was shot dead.

Kirk Franklin was reaching a generation of urban youth with the message of hope that is only found in Jesus Christ.  That is why his music made the young man happy: there was something different about Kirk’s music – that difference was Jesus.

It didn’t matter that some people thought Kirk’s gospel music had “gone too far.”  He was authentically himself and God used him in that capacity.

{I only hope that young man personally encountered the One Mr. Franklin was singing about…before he stepped into eternity.}

Is there anything holding you back from being the authentic person God created you to be in Christ Jesus? 

Someone out there is waiting for you to bloom in Christ and to be uniquely you.  Their life may depend upon it.

xoxo,

 

I’ve shared this post at these fabulous faith and family link-ups.

{Now, let’s have some church – Kirk Franklin style.}

Comments

  1. I love this so much!!! I think you and I need to be friends! Be your own MASTERPIECE! Also, I would totally like to have most of my friends’ waistlines! LOL!!! Blessings!

  2. So encouraging thank you for sharing. As a writer I too at times struggle with that vulnerability of wondering what people will think or how they will respond or if I’m as good as the next writer or anything like that but the truth is that it doesn’t matter as long as I’m obedient to Gods call to me

  3. Your words are so beautiful and true. We all need to hear this, time and time again. As Christian bloggers, we’re often speaking the same message, but we each have our own way of delivering it. Someone else, who needs to hear it, may have heard that message many times before, but it may be your unique way, that you give that message, that really causes it to sink in and speak to their heart. Visiting from Deb’s link-up today! I hope you have a wonderful day.

    • Hi Dawn…my fellow linker from Deb’s party! I so agree with your point. We all have our unique way of expressing truth (without compromising it) and someones’ heart may be penetrated when they hear “our” version. Thanks for stopping by, my friend. Please come again.

  4. Tiffiney, I can so relate to being less than authentic. My particular cocktail mixes equal parts of fakery, guilt, feelings of inferiority, and self-pity. Aren’t we thankful Jesus sees us as we really are, and loves us anyway? Thanks for your candor, and blessings from your neighbor at Holley’s.

    • Hi Alice, I so agree: nobody knows me like Jesus. If they did, they wouldn’t be interested in me; but thankfully He will never leave me or forsake me. Completely unfathomable!

  5. Just the message I needed to hear today. I feel like balancing blogging and family is a never ending struggle. How can I bring my best to both of them? By listening to my authentic self and the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. <3 Thanks for sharing this!

    • Hey Jamie! Turns out that “balancing” is an ongoing struggle; but it is a beast that can be tamed by yielding to the Holy Spirit, just as you’ve said. Thanks for stopping by to share.

  6. How sad to hear of that young man’s demise, but hopefully Kirk Franklin’s “happy” lyrics brought him to faith in Christ before he died. I truly love many Christian artists like Kirk Franklin, Chris Tomlin and Toby Mac, Tiffiney. They make me “happy” and encouraged in my faith whenever I listen. But you are so right about them all being different and unique to the way God created them. How boring our world would be if we were just like everyone else. You preach it, girlfriend! I’m encouraged by your message and I know so many others are too!

  7. Visiting you from Testimony Tuesday. Yes, we are so fearful of being transparent and showing our real selves. Apart from the Lord we never really know ourselves, He knows us so much better. This post is such a good reminder of how we can bring glory to the Lord by being who He created us to be. May your soul be refreshed as you live out life true to who were made to be bringing all glory to Him.

    • Hi Cheryl, my #testimonytuesday neighbor! How I so agree with you that apart from the Lord, we don’t even know who we are. Only God really knows our hearts. Thanks for stopping by. I like you already because you hava a shot of cappuccino as your gravatar. 🙂

  8. God made us uniquely beautiful, on purpose! We each have something wonderful to offer to the body of Christ, yet comparison holds us back from embracing our destiny. I love the idea behind this post: everyone else is already taken. So true!

    • Hi Sarah! I love the thoughts your comment conveys. How true that we all have something beautiful to offer the body of Christ. Thank you for stopping by, my friend!

    • Hey Michele, I absolutely love the way you expressed that! {His creativity is put on display with our originality!} Seriously, that is so good – I should have added that in! Thanks so much for stopping by, my dear sister. 🙂

  9. Don’t you love that our God has plans specific for each of us? At the beginning of last year, I heard the Lord say, “Stay the course.” It was an answer to my prayer of whether or not I continue blogging and speaking for Him. Fear of rejection ran rampant and facing it daily was mounting heavy. Sometimes we simply go when we’re afraid. We step when we can’t see. Because He’s God. And we’re not. And His faithfulness will guide us well. Enjoyed visiting today, Tiffiney, via #raralinkup.

    • Hi Kristi!

      Yes, I do love that God is dealing with each one of us uniquely. What an awesome answer to the prayer your put before Him: stay the course.! And how true what you said about simply moving forward, even when we’re afraid? Thanks for coming by and sharing! .

  10. Oh yes, blogging has stretched me too. I struggle the most with taking those first steps in being known. Glad you are putting yourself out there and being true to who God made you. It’s inspiring! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    • Hey Laura,

      The first steps can be the hardest, but what makes it easier is knowing that it’s not about “us” it’s about Jesus. Thanks for stopping by.

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