As I have continued contemplating this idea of authenticity I realized that God has gifted me with glimpses of what authentic living could look like. And as I take in these small snapshots, I realize that I want more.
I am hungry to see more of the incredible beauty that is birthed through the hard work of living authentically. For the beauty that emerges from the mess is astounding.
I wish that there were three simple steps to living a life of authenticity. I would spell them out for you right here. But, unfortunately life does not often work that way. So instead, please allow me to share a few of the insights that God is teaching me and challenging me with as I begin stepping out on this path.
Immerse yourself in grace. Allow it to surround you and permeate your innermost being. We need to practice the art of both giving and receiving grace.
Begin by giving yourself grace. So often in our attempts to "be it all" we become closed off to the world around us. It takes so much energy to try to keep it all together that we are depleted and become hollow shells of who we were created to be. Who could possibly have the energy to truly engage with someone else when all of their resources are being funnelled into trying to be perfect?
When we cease striving to constantly attain perfection the peace and joy that follow are unparalleled.
I have a group of friends who have made a pact that we will not clean our homes before the others come over. It is amazing! We were honest with one another about the stress that we were all experiencing when it was our turn to have the group at our house. We could say to each other, I don't care what your house looks like. I am coming over to spend time with you. Hearing this from someone was incredibly freeing. Going to a friends home and seeing that they have laundry piled up and toys strewn everywhere just like me, is an indescribable blessing. I still have to fight the default mode of trying to get the house looking presentable. But when I confront the fear that I need to be perfect for others to accept me I find that it a lie.
I believe that God wants us to create more experiences like this one in our worlds. God wants us to relish in the truth that we are good enough because he has wrapped us in His beauty. When we rest in that we can then turn our focus outward and truly begin to connect with those he has put in our world. We become equipped to pour out grace to a world in desperate need of understanding and
In a society consumed with self and speed being truly present in the moment can be very challenging.
Yet, I believe that it is essential to living authentically with others. By "being present," I do not mean that we should be at more things. In fact, the opposite might well be true. Too often we are trying to do so many good things that we are not completely engaged in any of them.
Being present could look different for different people. For me, I try really hard to focus on the people that I am with, whether that is my family at dinner, out for coffee with a friend, or even when I am intentionally taking time for myself. I try to eliminate other distractions and allow myself to completely enjoy the moments that I have with those people at that time.
By doing less we also allow ourselves more opportunities to be flexible and be present in the lives of others. When we pack our days so completely full we leave no room for the time that authentic relationships require. By decluttering our days we invite community to grow.
Messy and Costly
Yes, living together in authentic community is messy. When we are being honest, our lives are often messy. When you put those messy lives together, it is seldom neat and tidy. Yet, I will hold tightly to the truth that out of that which appears messy God creates beauty.
Yes, living in genuine community is costly. It feels risky to put our real selves out there. It is scary to show others that we don't have it all together. But it is worth the investment. So we must choose every day which path we will walk. I will choose to walk boldly down the path of authenticity.