Are you on a never-ending, nausea-inducing rollercoaster of comparison, self-doubt and second-guessing? Are you afraid to be authentic out of the fear that you won't be accepted and considered too much for certain people? Or, do you just feel like it's better to fit in, doing and saying what's safe in order to stay out of conflict (and out of mind)?
The reason why I couldn't get unstuck with this stressful thought process was that I didn't recognize the worth I already brought to the table. Whether it was at work, in my church community group, or with new friends, I insecurely fixated on my inferiority and shortcomings and refused to recognize how unique I really was. I forgot I was already loved, accepted and sought after by a King. But this year, in an attempt to just be known for who I really am, I've decided to start putting myself out there.
- I'm owning my personality and my natural tendency to be transparent, loud and a touch over the top.
- I'm not playing it safe. I'm telling people about my dreams. I'm admitting my shortcomings and feelings of failure.
- At the risk of being called out for my lack of qualifications, mistakes, and imperfections, I'm talking and writing about my ever-growing relationship with God.
- I'm taking a good, hard look at myself, my relationships and my habits to see what could be prioritized, tended, or pruned. Rather than look at who the world tells me to be, I'm asking God who He called me to be.
- I'm putting myself in positions to cultivate growth in my spiritual, personal and professional life, including conferences, continuing education, professional investment and creative retreats.
- I'm being more open, honest and transparent about my experiences and struggles.
And you know what's happening? I'm comparing less and finding more joy. I'm becoming more comfortable with risk because I'm assured in who (and Whose) I am. I'm leaning into what I love doing, and slowly shaking off the work, ideas, have-to's, and people that don't align with my true self. I'm finding relief in discovering what strengths I already have that I should embrace and leverage, while also recognizing areas that have room for improvement. I'm doubting less and embracing vulnerability. Here's the kicker: there's a reason why none of this is past tense. The journey's not complete. The race towards real is something that will take a lifetime of practice and mastery, but I'm convinced that it's worth it.
Does this newfound life-change give me the ultimate excuse to not be intentional and mindful of my words, interactions and work? Absolutely not. But, if I try to pretend I’m poised, spontaneous, always well-spoken and polished, unchangingly optimistic, or quiet, I use all my energy to put on that front. If I spend the majority of my time pretending to be the perfect person I wish I was, I get stuck in an identity crisis of reality versus fantasy, and waste the minutes I was gifted today. If I'm not upfront about ways that I'm growing, learning and failing, I'm denying others the invitation to get in on this life of real for themselves. Because, why wouldn’t you want your energies going toward OWNING your God-given traits and present path, and surrounding yourself with the people who choose to walk it with you? While the price of being real could be not fitting in, unintentionally offending the status quo, or being misunderstood, the pay-off of being your authentic self is truth... To yourself and others. And that truth will set the tension in your soul free.
It could be in your business, it could be with your church community, it could be with your mom group, or it could be with yourself. Wherever you find yourself cleaning yourself up in an effort to be what's accepted, let this be the permission you need to share your true story and own your you!
Thank you in advance for tagging along on this journey of authenticity with me. My hope is that with every message, email, blog post or story you hear from me, you're encouraged to chase after real, inspire others to be themselves, and own your you.
Joyful Takeaway: While the price of being real could be not fitting in, unintentionally offending the status quo, or being misunderstood, the pay-off of being authentic is truth. And that truth will set the tension in your soul free.