Last night was a fail. I was on my way to an important function, not relying on GPS or written directions, but driving by memory (which proved to be faulty). I missed my exit. By the time I finally arrived at my destination, the occasion was completed. How embarrassing! It was a painful ride home; it’s hard to watch the road when you’re hanging your head. Three hours and a quarter tank of gasoline wasted. What’s worse is I did not fulfill my duty as a spiritual supporter to a group of pilgrims being sent off on a retreat.
So why do I entrust this shameful moment to you? Wouldn’t I be better off sharing something lucrative? Well, because I’d rather acknowledge my failings than attempt to conceal them. There’s something liberating about bearing your soul. It’s somewhat scary, but I’ve been around enough people who reeked of fake to know that I want to be real.
Like many Christians, I place a high value on personal excellence. We all ought to strive for greater and greater achievements. Trouble is, we’re still human. So we can decide to speak about our lives only in glowing terms, or we can be honest, and sometimes raw. I choose the latter.
There are benefits to this type of honesty. First, it takes the pressure off. It’s impossible to get everything right all the time. Find a trusted friend with whom you can get it out of your system to. After speaking about it in a safe place, you will feel lightened enough to move on.
Secondly, we build genuine connections. Being authentic with people helps overcome isolation and creates bonds that bridge the gap between human beings. When we speak on equal terms, relationships form that become sources of challenge and encouragement.
“Rocky loses almost half the fights we see on camera… And this is a good thing.
Who wants to identify with someone who does nothing but win?”
~ Brian Hutchinson, Positive Writer
Finally, by being genuine and exposing our fears and failings, we can avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms. There is no need to delve into self-pity. Our LORD is compassionate. It is His will that you have a supportive community surrounding you.
“… confess your sins to each other and pray for each other… ”
~ James 5:16
When you do take the risk of being authentic publicly, prepare to have stones thrown at you. Pay no mind to them. Desire spiritual wholeness and nurture the relationships that are constructive. Authenticity is a defining characteristic of Jesus Christ, and so it should be of us.