Although I’ve had moments in which I could fool the best of them, for the most part I’m a pretty real person. I’m not good at hiding how I feel and I tend to say what’s on my mind. Deciding to be the authentic you does come with some risks, but there are also wonderful rewards to be reaped.
Risk #1 – Not Being Received by Others
This is probably one of the biggest reasons people struggle with being authentic. They don’t want to be rejected or not liked by others. It’s less risky to be who others expect you to be. I know because I’ve been there. I wanted to fit into the right mold as a wife and mother, so it was easier to pretend I had it all together—when in reality my marriage was teetering on the edge and my children were acting out.
When we care more about what others think than what God thinks, we’ll get caught in this trap. God doesn’t place expectations on us. He loves us for who we are and just as we are. This doesn’t mean we stop striving to become more like Christ, but we understand that He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion (Philippians 1:6).
Not everyone is going to like the authentic you. But we have to be okay with that. The more concerned we are with what God thinks, the less concerned we’ll be with what others think. If our confidence is people-based, we can’t possibly grow in Christ.
Reward #1 – Being Liked for Who You Are
As a result of being the authentic you, a wonderful discovery is made. There are people who will actually like you for the person you are. Aren’t these the kind of people we want in our lives anyway? A genuine friend and an honest relationship? Someone who likes the soft side of you as well as the prickly? Who can look past your flaws to the person underneath?
My closest friends have seen the best in me but also the worst. And yet they still care about and love me. They can handle my attitude because they don’t take it personally. They know it’s just me being me in my more difficult moments. Because the truth is, we all have character flaws—things in us that we’re working on. Those who can handle that are worthwhile people to have in your life.
It’s better to be loved by a few (even one) than receive false acceptance from a group of people. The real deal is always a better deal!
Risk #2 – Getting Stuck in Sin
Another risk we face in being the authentic you is getting stuck in the trap of sin. What I mean is that we can become so comfortable with who we are, that we’re not willing to change. We shrug our shoulders and declare, “That’s just who I am.”
For several years, I justified my struggles with anger. It was either the fault of someone else (you know, the person who caused me to become angry), it was a result of my childhood (that’s always the easiest to blame) or it’s just how us German people respond (yeah, I even used culture as an excuse). It was an attitude of “take me or leave me” because it’s not going to change.
Being authentic has nothing to do with accepting our sinful behavior. It’s accepting who we are but recognizing our need for repentance and the receiving of God’s grace. It’s a willingness to admit our faults and a commitment to change them.
Reward #2 – Being Pardoned from Sin
The greatest reward of authenticity is knowing that we can come before the Lord, stained with all kinds of filth, and yet be washed clean through the forgiveness of Jesus. It really doesn’t get better than that!
Authenticity before the Lord is the only way to grace. Yes, He knows about our sins. He knows the areas we struggle in and He knows the reasons for it. But God wants us to come before Him, in humility, confessing that we have strayed from His path…admitting that we are a sinner…and asking for His mercy.
God always has better for us. He doesn’t want to leave us where we’re at. He wants us to grow in Him. He wants us to be a godly example to others.
We can hide our true selves from others, but we can’t from God. So we might as well keep it real with Him.