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,