Being Authentic

Being Authentic Might Be Ruining Your Life

Nathan Smith Christian Maturity, Life Skills

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Nobody likes a fake.  We may joke about how funny it is for people to buy ‘Foakely’ sunglasses (fake Oakleys) or ‘Folex’ watches (fake Rolex’s) out of a van in New York City but at the end of the day, everybody wants the real thing.  When it comes to people and relationships, we certainly expect to have trust and transparency.  It’s impossible to relate to people if you constantly have to wonder if they are telling you the truth or not.  I’m all about being real.  However, it seems to me that ‘being authentic’ has become a buzzword in our society for ‘being led by your emotions’.  That is not the same thing as ‘being real’.  That is called ‘being moody’.   What you feel in a given moment verses the truth about your situation are often not the same thing at all.  Therefore if ‘being real’ is simply justifying your emotions in the moment you are not being ‘real’ at all.  I’m just being real here… (Click here to read my post on Hipster Culture)

Emotions are a gift from God.  There is nothing wrong with emotions as long as your emotions are the ‘passenger’ and the not the ‘driver’ in your life.  I have experienced life in both scenarios and can say from first-hand experience that being emotionally driven will drive you further away from your calling, not closer to it.  Our culture tends to go in the opposite direction of the Kingdom of God.  My father told me long ago that the world will teach you that your actions should follow your feelings (if it feels good, do it) but the truth is that your feelings will follow your actions.  I never feel like going for a run or working out.  NEVER.  Not ONCE have I ever thought, “I WANT to go push myself to exhaustion, sweat like a pig, have to shower again and change clothes and then go on to face the rest of the day.”  I seriously never ‘feel’ like exercising.  So when I choose to do it several times each week am I being ‘inauthentic’?  Am I not ‘being real’?   Unfortunately from what I’ve seen in much of society today many would answer ‘yes’.  This is where the new ‘authenticity’ starts to become a problem. (Click to read my post on Finding Your Identity)

Are You Really Being Authentic?

The Apostle Paul addresses this in Romans 7 when he talks about the good he wants to do he doesn’t do and the things he doesn’t want to do he does!  I think we can all relate to that.  The bottom line is, we often have to go beyond what we feel to tap into the REAL reality.  There is nothing wrong with acknowledging that you don’t feel like doing something and then also acknowledging that you are choosing to engage your will to do it anyway.  That is not being fake or ingenuine.  That is called being mature.  For too long, people felt they had to deny their feelings in order to live ‘by faith’.  The expectation became that if you were going to be seen as mature you had to deny your feelings and pretend you where happy about everything.  Like all things, the tendency is for one extreme to lead to another.  This need not be.  Surely we can acknowledge our feelings and authentically express them while choosing to not be ruled by them. (Click here to read my post on ‘The Right Thing in the Wrong Place’)

There will be times the you don’t feel like worshiping God or praying and standing in faith.  You REALLY don’t feel like it.  But if you let those feelings shape your reality then you will REALLY be in big trouble while you’re ‘just being real’.  It is possible to acknowledge your emotions, express them and yet still be able to maturely choose to be and do what you don’t feel like being and doing.  If you do that to perform for others or to put on a show, then you are a fake.  If you do that to lead yourself well so that you can maturely choose the better thing, you are growing up!  Be real.  Be authentic.  Mean what you say and say what you mean.   As you do that know that you have been given God’s grace to choose the better thing even when you don’t feel like it.  By doing so you will CREATE the reality that will lead you into freedom instead of SETTLING for the reality that your emotions would prefer you accept.  God is for you today and so am I!  Selah.

From the Bible

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! – Romans 7:21-25 NIV

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.  – Hebrews 5:13-14 NIV

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”  – Luke 10:41-42 NIV

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