Growth

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Growth is hard. The internal emotional rollercoaster I have been on has been exhausting.   I have come to realize that I do not do mediocre well.  I am not lukewarm.  I am in or out; up or down; high or low; excited or sad.  I do not simply exist well.  So this is why I am pursing vision for my life in Christ.  I want to lead a great life, I want to make a difference, I want to be a world changer, I want to help people find the joy of Christ.

So I sit here and write, and read scripture (today is Ephesians 1) and pray.

“Father God, reveal Your vision to me for my life.  Give me a glimpse of what You want for me.   Show me the next step to take and give me the audacious courage to follow that vision for my life.  I pray that you will equip me with the tools necessary to be successful and follow through.  I pray that You will anchor me so that when I start to drift, You will pull me back to Yourself and I will not lose course.

                                                                                                                                In Christ’s name, Amen.”

I am learning how easy it is to set out with a great goal and great intentions, and yet drift and lose focus.  This journey is not for the faint of heart!  It is easy to drift.  It is easy to quit.  It is easy to accept that it is too hard and stop.  Staying the course to completion is that hard part.

 I am learning that one must be audacious, showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.  I have gone up on stage and shared my heart, my past, my dirt and how I found healing in Christ.  This is not for the faint of heart.  But if I keep it all in, then what good will I do?  Who would I help if I didn’t share how Christ helped me?  How could I possibly make a difference by keeping quiet?  So I choose to do that thing that scares me, and I get on stage and share my story, my failures and healing in Jesus.  I absolutely love the quote by Nelson Mandela,

“There is no passion to be found playing small-in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

                You cannot accomplish anything of greatness by sitting idly and not working on change.

Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Authenticity

What does authenticity look like to you?

I am a huge fan of being authentic in a culture that is so saturated with ‘ fake’, filters and edited photos.

…That is so saturated with fake and unattainable.

…That is so saturated with unrealistic expectations.

This impacts us whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.

We may choose to believe that social media doesn’t really affect us; that all those perfect selfies of endlessly happy and smiling perfect-looking people doesn’t bring us down.  That mainstream media doesn’t rub off on us…we know it’s all fake right? If you are brave enough to be honest with yourself, I think the truth tells a very different story.

Inauthentic.   

Inauthenticity sums up our culture, our media, and our social media, it goes deep and far even saturating our friendships and relationships. 

Inauthenticity is a theme of this generation.

Why?

Are we scared of showing our mess?

Are we scared of judgement? Of not being good enough?  Why does being good enough matter anyway?

I have chosen to go against the grain.

I challenge you to dig deep and really think how this affects you.

I will not be a victim and let inauthenticy steal real joy from my life.  I haven’t always been this strong.  There was a time in my life when media directly dictated my worth.  My appearances and my self-worth were measured by an unattainable image.  I felt I never could become or make myself good enough.  No matter how hard I tried, I was still lonely, I was still not thin enough, I wasn’t trendy enough and on and on…I just couldn’t reach the bar.  It was always one step too high for me.

Then the era of social media came into play.  This was a whole new beast.  Creating new levels of unattainable.

When will it stop?  I am not against social media.  But I am against the perceived image it betrays.  I am not OK with young teenagers editing their photos with filters that change them to perfection.  This tells them that they are not pretty enough, not flawless enough to really be seen as they are.

Isn’t that what we all desire?  For others to see us?

To see us as we are.  And to accept us as we are, flaws and imperfections included because they are us.  We don’t get to pick and choose our character, our scars- both real and ones we carry deep inside ourselves.

It is my hearts cry that everyone will put the walls of inauthenticity down once and for all.  Let’s embrace who God made us to be.  Let’s embrace that we are enough. Let’s embrace that we were created for community that loves and supports each other regardless if we are hurt and broken.  Or broke.  Or struggling with image.  Or don’t have a clean house.  Or don’t have it all together.

How would our environments that we are in everyday change, if we embraced authenticity?

We are all wanting to be real, but fear holds us back.

Be the brave one

When asked how your family is, choose to share the truth. 

When asked how life is, maybe you get real and cry when you share how hard it is. 

If instead of portraying perfection we gained real and meaningful connections that allowed people in to see our hurts, our fears, us, we would be linking arms instead of building walls.  We would be allowing others to see that it is OK to be vulnerable.  When we become vulnerable in friendships, we take a step out of our loneliness and form community.   And when we support each other, and build each other up, we reinforce that we are in this together. We reinforce that we have each others’ backs.  We reinforce that it’s OK to be broken, and that we will get through this together.

So be the difference.

That neighbor, that co-worker, that mom, that friend, that teenager…choose to be real and brave.  Choose authenticity.