Written by Dene Nidiffer
Recently, my teen daughter encountered her first major “young woman” opportunity for authenticity…
Someone she barely knew was talking behind her back to my daughter’s good friend. Another girl told my daughter that her friend did not stand up for her during this exchange. As we all have been, it hurt my daughter deeply, first causing her to act out in anger wanting nothing to do with her friend again. I encouraged her to appropriately confront all the girls involved later when she had calmed down. She did speak to each one individually, face to face. The outcome of this really doesn’t matter, but was does matter is that SHE WAS AUTHENTIC – she let her anger subside, not allowing the enemy to gain power and squelched the negative feelings so that she did not say mean or unnecessary things to anyone!
While I was becoming a young woman, I very often felt like people would never say exactly what they mean and I spent a lot of time worrying about it – it bugged me! I was determined that I would say what I meant, and it didn’t always come out the best possible way. (Let’s just say I learned that the hard way and consequently I know I offended often and that left me feeling misunderstood) I know the spirit of my authenticity wasn’t coming from a God centered place at times because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I now thank God for the gift of experience as I learned from my not-so-great delivery in the early years and pray often that God will help me see to it that I don’t have allow myself to act in the way the story above goes… not always easy!
I’ve heard/read so many things about authentic relationships, authentic worship, etc. I want to be very clear that I don’t see this word or action in the context of what I talk about here as being trendy at all. It’s been in my head and on my heart since I was very young and long before I knew it had anything to do with God. I now know it was Him nudging me all along.
I recently read a Christian writer’s blog who described authenticity like this…
- Authenticity is transparency and admission of failure
- It’s the rejection of pretense and hypocrisy
- It’s truth-telling and seeking about all areas of life
Scripture tells us…
That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:20-30 NIV)
God is calling us to build others up and not tear them down – to be authentic!
My daughter’s experience reminded me that I can tout that I am authentic, but until my actions are truly that, I am not being authentic!
Where does your desire for authenticity come from?
How can you harness the power of this scripture to ensure it is from the right place?
What areas do you need to work on?