I sat on the bleachers, cheering my heart out, as my granddaughter fielded her first t-ball grounder. She picked up the ball and walked a few steps toward the pitcher while her wind-up got into full swing. She tossed the ball the air. It bounced, rolled toward the pitcher, and stopped ten feet short. Of course, her eight raving fans in the bleachers yelled, “Way to go!"
Moments like this are priceless. Each of those little girls were out there being their authentic selves, giving it their all, lovin’ every minute. Some of them were staring at the clouds in the sky while others were swinging the bat with all their might and hitting the ball six feet. The crazy fans, like myself, were smiling from ear to ear as the pure joy of having childlike fun (and not caring about your hair or the score) ruled the day.
What would happen if we gave ourselves a little break from expecting perfection from ourselves and chose instead to offer our beautiful authentic selves to the world? I think we would find greater joy in our faith, life, work, and relationships. So how do we move toward authenticity?
Trading Fakebook for Real, Satisfying Relationships
A family member and I were discussing Facebook the other day. We both agreed that while Facebook has a great benefit of sharing memories with friends and family, we thought it could easily be called "FAKEBOOK" if we assumed that a person's life could be summed up by their happy posts. While Facebook definitely isn't the place to air our dirty laundry, we do need healthy relationships where we can be authentic and real as we face the messy issues of life.
I have found that when people can see my weaknesses along with my strengths, my failures as well as my victories, I become a leader they can follow and a friend they can trust. Our scars and our faith become a source of connection and encouragement because we are in the midst of a real and satisfying relationship. We have the chance to truly love one another if we trade in our fakebook identity, stay in relationships as we work through our issues and disagreements, and learn to treasure one another as a gift from God. We can then develop rich, satisfying relationships where we will be celebrated and accepted for who we really are.
Laying Down Our Masks
Vulnerability is a scary word. It can be too easy to hide our faults, fears, and struggles behind a facade which can leave us feeling alone and helpless. It is easy under pressure to end up behaving like an orphan and isolating ourselves from the love of the Father and from the love and support of family and friends. In times like these, we can choose to lay down our masks and our need to look like we have it all together and connect with others for encouragement and support.
I was surprised when one of my recent Facebook posts went viral. The post said, Freedom is walking forward today, with wisdom learned from our past, without dragging it with you with this image:
If you need help in taking off your mask to live a beautiful, authentic life, please contact us at NewLifeforToday.com.
Letting God into the Nooks and Crannies
God is looking for an authentic relationship with each one of us. He can handle our garbage. Our closet of dirty laundry and the pile of junk we have safely hidden away isn't a surprise to Him. He knows the condition of our heart and loves every part. That broken part we can't face... He loves. Every healthy part we are so proud of... He loves and rejoices with us. That moment of rejection that plays over in our mind like a really bad movie... He was standing right there with each one of us when it happened and is saying today, "I don't reject you; I love you anyway."
His heart just waits for us to say His name. He sings as we spend time together because all He can think about is how much He delights in us as we authentically journey through our lovin’ and livin’. He is so not interested in what man calls religion and is so focused on encountering the real you. In the middle of everything, God wants you to know that He loves the real you, the imperfectly perfect you.
He.... loves.... you...... He. Loves. You. HE LOVES YOU!
Be your beautiful authentic self and run into His beautiful, receptive, encouraging love today!