I've been thinking a lot lately about living an authentic life... Being honest in front of everyone even if they think me weak for all my flaws. It is a scary thought, all this being exposed to those around you... Even sometimes being exposed to God can be... I mean He knows all but telling Him I've failed somehow seems even more fearful than just realizing he already knows. The paradox is, He wants us to confess our shortcomings to Him even though He knows... It is actually better for us even though it may not feel that way at the time.
So, why does it feel bad to admit we don't have it all together, we've failed or stumbled along the way of life? If it's so good to live honestly before people and before God why do I just want to cover my mistakes up and pretend they never happened... I think there are a few reasons, the obvious being our culture molds us to want to put the best image forward and people who make mistakes in the public eye are nearly slaughtered by media these days... But the problem with putting the best image forward is that image is only a mirage and even if you're fooling everybody else you know those people don't even know the real you much less are they able to make a decision on whether or not they like the real you. Maybe not so obvious to most of us: when we admit to our flaws and mistakes we can actually help others get over their own! You see, if you are just being real with people and God you have nothing to hide, your thoughts, actions and love are freed up to show the real you and people will love you for it! I've found the more authentic I am the more people gravitate to me and when they find out I've made a mistake and admitted it somehow they find confidence in themselves to confess and move forward from their own mistakes... Mistakes are not the end of us, they are what causes us to plant a seed of repentance and watch faith grow strong. The last reason I want to touch on is we do have an adversary who knows that the only thing strong enough to keep us away from God is un-repented sin... If sin remains unrecognized, un-admitted, un-confessed or covered up we can't possibly repent and turn from it so he wins on the grounds only of us not moving forward... Our battle is lost simply because we are too fearful or prideful to take a moment of embarrassment in admitting something everyone already knows.. We are not perfect. Are you kidding me!? Why would we ever give up a battle we know can be won over embarrassment!? That's like a battalion of soldiers retreating from an enemy force bearing no weapons but with prettier fatigues... CRAZY! "But then I decided to confess my sins to the LORD. I stopped hiding my guilt and told you about my sins. And you forgave them all!" Psalm 32:5 (Easy-to-Read Version)
So now that I've hopefully helped you see what's holding us back from living authentically and why those ways of thinking should not hold you back... Here's some encouragement in the right direction:
- People actually will like you more for being real! I mean, this should be a given but because I also face the same insecurities as you here's a tweet from someone just a few minutes after I shared some of my fears with in hopes she could learn from them: " I like real people, just throwing that out there.." - Alanna G
- God promises us that we can prosper and find mercy if we not only admit to our sins but stop doing the same kind of sin over and over! "Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy!" - Proverbs 28:13
- God will help you overcome your sins! If you will admit to wrongdoing and make up your own mind to turn away from it God will purify you and help you! "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
- Even your worst moments work together to make you more beautiful! "Never be afraid to let the best parts of you show... or the worst. They all make you beautiful" - Joseph Ranseth
- Admitting our own flaws helps keep us humble and reminds us we are no better than anyone else... When we are aware of our own issues it makes us less likely to point out the shortcomings of others and we all know how people look when they are putting others down.. "No one has ever made himself great by showing how small someone else is." - Irvine Himmel as tweeted by Inspirational Quotes.
So there it is in a nutshell... We need to be more accepting of flaws.. Of our own flaws. Don't go covering them up, we all see them anyway. Covering up your flaws doesn't help anyone, we can all see the make-up line my dear. We can all use a little taste of humble pie by recognizing we are not perfect, we fail every day somehow. We can all also use a little pill of relief when we see the people around us living honestly with their own flaws, "Thank goodness it's not just me!" Recognizing you're not perfect will help you beyond what you're probably thinking... It will help you with compassion toward others, understanding, patience, love, sympathy, empathy and the list goes on... So this weeks challenge? Be honest! Don't cover who you are, stop with the mirage already, be vulnerable and watch how your relationship not only with others but with God take a huge growth spurt!