Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Truth From The Inside Out


My first "Behind Those Eyes" Bible Study Class was last Wednesday night. I bought the book and started reading the first 2 chapters, which was our assignment for the first  week. God immediately started "stepping on my toes", in Chapter 1, about  the big "A" word --AUTHENTICITY.

As I was reading the first chapter I started thinking about what the word "authenticity" really means.
   
"The quality of being authentic; genuineness."

So what does it mean to be "authentic"? 

"Genuine; real; true to one's own spirit, personality or character"

"Being exactly as appears or as claimed; not false, imitation or copied"

In regards to our Christian faith, what we mean when we use the word authentic is "to be real"; "to be honest about who we are". Real enough to say that my life isn't perfect. That I have struggles, difficulties, temptations, and, yes, even failures.  Why is that so difficult for us to do? Why is it so hard for us to just lay it all out there on the table and admit that we are really broken and weak?

One of the other definitions of authentic is "to be like the original; not copied or imitation". As a Christian, my example is Jesus Christ Himself. Being a Christian is about becoming more like the genuine; the Real One.  He is my Original! As I follow Him, I will stumble and fall along the way because of my own imperfections.  The Bible says in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

Somewhere along the way we have gotten the idea that Christians don't have problems. Or, we have bought into the devil's lie that if we have enough faith we won't have any problems! I have even heard TV preachers teach this! That could not be farther from the truth!  Jesus' life certainly was not easy!  I wonder why we think that we should have it easy? 

We go to church and put on our smiling faces and our best clothes, and why do we even do that if we already have it all figured out? Why do we need to go to a place to learn, be built up and encouraged if we already have it all together?

God, through just the first few pages of this book, is challenging me to, lay it all down. To admit that I have many struggles, difficulties, hardships, failures, trials and temptations.  To admit that, "No, I am NOT perfect!"  "No, I don't have it all together!"

I guess you could sum it up by saying that He is challenging me to "GET REAL"!! 

Rather than trying to appear that we "have it all together", we need to be laying it all out on the table and sharing our burdens with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Galatians 6:2 says, "Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ". This is one thing that has been such an encouragement to me since I joined this wonderful network of blogging friends.  The people I have "met" through blogging are a great example of what I believe God meant in this verse.  We carry each other's burdens and pray for and encourage our sisters in Christ.

With those definitions of the word "authentic" in mind, I started thinking about just how authentic I really am? Am I really "exactly as I appear or as I claim to be"? Do you know very many people that are? 

As is pointed out in the very first chapter of this study, women are "pros" at impersonating, well......other women. We are so good at "masking" what is really going on in our lives. We camouflage our weaknesses with our perfect makeup, the latest hairstyle, a new designer outfit with a new pair of shoes to match. We think if we smile big enough that no one will know that we are "dying" inside. 

As Lisa points out in her book,   "we often impersonate the women that we want to be  (or those women that we want people to THINK that we area)"    --those happy, spiritual, caring, strong, content, loving women that have everything together. You know the ones -- the ones that drive the expensive cars, live in the golf course communities, have perfect children that go to private schools, take exotic family vacations, have "Mr. Wonderful" for their husbands and, of course, are deeply spiritual.

Why do we do this? It's because we have determined that if we were to show our "real" side, if we were to be authentic, that we would not be accepted.  So we keep our "true self" hidden. And we've gotten quite good at it, haven't we?

Lisa reminds us that what we really crave is unconditional love and acceptance. We want someone to love us in spite of who we are.

There IS someone that loves each of us in spite of who we are. He loves me just like I am. He loves YOU just like you are and His name is Jesus! Let's GET REAL with Him today!

What you're after is truth from the inside out.       Psalm 51:6

10 comments:

Becky said...

I bought the book yesterday and can't wait to get started and "get real"!

ldtucker said...

Are you Grace and Josh Davis' mom? I saw your comment on Katie's blog and found your blog. I found Grace's blog, but couldn't find Josh anywhere. Anyway, this is Drew Jr. I just wanted to say hello! Tell Josh and Grace hello. My wife and I live in Raleigh right now - check us out - my blog is www.religiousaffections.net

Crazy the people you run into out in the blogosphere!

Best,
Drew

Kristen said...

This is a great reminder for me. My g-pa is a pastor, so growing up we were a very private family. Because of this I'm often hesitant to share what's "really" going on with others. Definitely something I need to work on now that I've moved away.
I love how God created other believers for encouragement and support. I agree with you that blogging friends are great prayer warriors and encouragers.
Yay for your new study! I can't wait to hear about what else God reveals to you!

Caroline said...

Oh MiMi, I am just going to have to go and buy this book!!!!! Real.......isn't it freeing to just be real. oh the pressure we sometimes pick up and like the yoke...put on around our necks. I need this book! This was such a good word for me today! love you!!!!!

Speaking Thru Me Ministries said...

isn't lisa such an increibly gifted writer. i can not wait to read her book!! she said she was gonna send it to me.......i keep waiting... but not much longer after hwo wonderful you made it sound!! hope you enjoy!! sure miss all of you!! love, Leigh

Faith said...

This is a challenge to me. I'm so thankful that I have family and friends, and my Heavenly Father, who love me no matter what...I don't know why I think that I can't let them know when things are tough and not going well. I want to be truly authentic, I want to be more like The Real One!

I can't wait to hear about what you learned last night! Love you

Heather said...

I so want to be real before anything else as far as showing others my real life struggles and journey. It is not easy...but it IS what God has called us to. Thank you for your "real-ness"- it encourages me!

Julie said...

This post is so appropriate for me right this very day. I just talked along these lines with Bryan last night. I have to admit this very topic is an incredible hurdle for me. I fall into the impersonate trap very often and it is something I try and try to overcome. I'm glad you shared this. It did step on my toes to but I have to have this reminder.

Cortney said...

Ooooh, I love a good Bible Study that challenges me to "step up and get real". In a weird way, I kind of like to get my toes stepped on because it helps me clearly see my weaknesses (and believe me, the list is long) and "get to work". My new Bible study starts next week, and I can't wait!!!

My Army Brats and Me said...

Day one of chemo down, working on day 2. Thanks for your support and continue praying for brighter days.
Love Cindy