I recently read an article that proclaimed, “You’re not more of a ‘real’ mom because your house is messy.” As the mom of toddlers, I’ve seen a recent trend in confession-style articles—you’re more of a “real mom” if your house is messy, you’re carrying a few extra pounds, you feed your kids chicken nuggets, you don’t shower every day … and the list goes on. The idea is that portrayed weakness equals authenticity. But the author of this recent article pointed out that we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and we should just quit comparing.
That’s a good word. The fact remains, though, that people crave authenticity. So what is it exactly? In her article, “Keeping it Real: The Truth About Authenticity,” Megan Hill explores the origin of authenticity as a Christian value:
So authenticity is transparency and admission of failure. It's the rejection of pretense and hypocrisy. It's truth-telling about all areas of life.
I believe Christians can do authenticity best. We serve a God who is always truthful. Never lies. Never deceives. Has, in fact, defeated the Father of Lies. But I fear that without biblical thought, we may accept an inferior and postmodern version of tell-all, tolerate-all authenticity.
Hill makes an important point. There isn’t one specific formula for an authentic life. Authenticity is a lifestyle based on letting God’s truth flow through our lives constantly. We don’t have to feign weakness that isn’t there (we have plenty of it naturally) any more than we have to act like we have it all together. Our lives should be marked by humility, grace, and truth.
Part of being a Christ-follower is also operating in your God-given strengths and letting those bring Him glory. Perhaps you have a knack for making your surroundings beautiful or cooking healthy meals for your family. Or maybe your house is messy because you spend more time outdoors with your kids or meeting friends for coffee. Authenticity is honoring God by being exactly the person He created you to be.
Living this way speaks loudly of the Savior. Consider the story of Peter and John speaking to the religious rulers after healing the lame man. “Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
And so, ultimately, authenticity comes from being with Jesus—the most authentic human who ever lived. And as we set aside pretense and embrace humility, others can see Him more clearly.
Written by Suzanne Gosselin
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