Persona

Lately I’ve been thinking about authenticity. See, I have this deep-seated need for approval, which often leads me to put up the appearance of being what I think people expect me to be. Never admit a weakness:

Now, I don’t try to impress everyone. But those people who share my core values? I want them to believe that I live out those values better than I actually do.

It’s easy to project an image, especially from behind a computer screen. I can highlight my good qualities and cloak my flaws like nobody’s business. But I go beyond wanting to appear “strong enough.” Any time I sense someone has a specific expectation of me, I want to live up to it.

Case in point: Before I went to Liberia with the BESTWA team, a few friends suggested that the trip would change my life. These folks have gone to foreign countries and local neighborhoods to tell people about Jesus. They have seen people trust in Christ, seen their faces light up with the joy of the Lord and the joy of receiving eternal life.

Mine wasn’t that kind of trip. This was more a check-on-things, deliver-donated-items, encourage-the-national-staff effort. Which I didn’t even expect to be involved with. My sole job, I thought, would be to work on a writing project for BESTWA.

Long story short (which I might share in a later post), for the first five days in country, I could never quite get down to the work I expected. Frustration rose as I worried that my trip was a waste of time.

The Lord helped me adjust my attitude and trust that my actual experience would contribute to the work better than if I’d experienced the scenario I imagined. (Something about God being smarter than people.)

Nice, but nothing that really rocked my world.

The problem is, when I returned and people asked me whether the trip was life-changing, I said “Yes” because… you guessed it… I thought that’s what they expected. So here I go again, trying to give the right answer.

It’s the same with emotions I think I’m supposed to experience. Sometimes, all I feel is detached from the deep sense of wonder or joy or sadness that affects others. That’s hard for me to admit, so I often default to pretending.

Which makes me a hypocrite.

Ouch! I need to cut that out right now and purpose to live authentically.

After all, “fake” is for the news… right?

Thanks for reading,
Jan

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About Janice C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
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10 Responses to Persona

  1. You are certainly showing us your true self here. You know what? It’s refreshing to see someone own it! I mean the fact that we often put on a mask and do what others expect rather than what we truly feel. Kudos to you! This is one of most inspiring posts I’ve read in a long while. Continue to “keep it real” my friend! ❤️💕❤️💕❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Steve Miller says:

    You didn’t do the thing you expected to do over there? Sounds like pretty authentic missions to me.

    Maybe when I finish the classes I’m in (early June), we can get together and swap some experiences. Sounds like you might understand some of them now. One of the thing my wife does in an official capacity is debrief people as they’re going to their passport country.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anonymous says:

    Enjoyed reading this story. Mission trips often turn out different than planned or even imagined. Your trip helped you see and understand a different part of the world. You were able to see their real needs. It would be great if you could go there again.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. corazon181 says:

    This is where I end up myself, crying to be adjusted. “The Lord helped me adjust my attitude and trust that my actual experience would contribute to the work better than if I’d experienced the scenario I imagined. (Something about God being smarter than people.)”
    Thank you for being so frank and open with your heart. I too seek approval from like minded people in my life, as if God’s work in me isn’t good enough. Thank you for the reminder. God is smarter than people. May He shower you with his love, mercy and grace.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Short Story Long | Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story

  6. Janet Thimell says:

    So real. Thank you.

    On Tue, Apr 17, 2018 at 9:27 AM Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story wrote:

    > Janice C. Johnson posted: “Lately I’ve been thinking about authenticity. > See, I have this deep-seated need for approval, which often leads me to put > up the appearance of being what I think people expect me to be. Never admit > a weakness: Now, I don’t try to impress everyone. ” >

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Enjoy reading this story.
    Sharing your true self is just so courageous. Wow
    https://alifelessordinarywithsaurabhavna.wordpress.com

    Like

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