Over the past eighteen months, God has been teaching me what it looks like to live authentically, to live real—both before Him and the people around me. Having spent most of my life believing that perfection trumps transparency, this journey has stretched me in ways that I couldn’t have imagined.
If you rewind those eighteen months, you would find me at a crossroads. Surrounded by the polar opposite of honesty and integrity, I knew that God required more of me—more of my faith. But wrestling with what was and what should be, left me depleted of trust and searching for a soft place to land.
God was asking me to live faith wide open. I simply wanted to hide.
As I scanned the landscape of Christian faith, I began to see that God was stirring up a movement—people of faith desiring to live theirs out with honesty and a willingness to admit that while we love Jesus, we are well aware that we aren’t Him.
We are not perfect. We are not sinless. We are simply saved. (Tweet that.)
And I knew then, that this calling to lay myself bare, to be real, wasn’t just a suggestion. It was a necessity. I not only needed to restore and reignite my faith, but I needed to empower others in theirs.
This charge from God opened my eyes to an incredible community of believers, a new church, and a sisterhood that lived wide open right alongside me. I’ve tried to live out the lessons God has shown me in the every day, but especially with the words that I lay down in this space. By speaking truth with grace. By being honest about my imperfections. By creating a safe place for others to do the same.
So … as believers in Christ, how do we live authentically? How do we live real?
- We can be authentic and honest, but we are always accountable to God.
There is something beautiful about our willingness to share our stories. To not only speak about the mountains, but also the valleys of our faith. But as believers, our journey always has to end with truth. Our fellowship as believers is not in commiserating over sin, but in being cleansed of it. (1 John 1:7) We should receive the hurt, the misunderstood, and the confused with grace in abundance to that which we’ve received. And then, we offer them the remedy—God’s truth. Authentic faith leaves us better than we were found.
- Authenticity does not trump our privacy with God.
We have a Father who receives us as we are. He is our soft place to land. There is nothing that we can’t bring to His feet, lay at His thrown, or process in His presence. (Hebrews 4:15) Ours is sacred relationship; our first line of defense. Our desire to encourage others in their faith by living ours openly, can’t come before we seek God honestly. There is no redemptive power in my story. By allowing God to sift through our thoughts, we ensure that we point others toward Him, not back to us. Authentic faith seeks God first.
- When we live real, we proceed with wisdom and caution.
Being vulnerable in any situation can tap our emotional and spiritual resources. Hence, the necessity to go to God first for strength. But often, I feel first. My emotions drive so much of who I am. But feelings can mislead faith. Being real doesn’t give way to cattiness, insensitivity, and divisiveness. (Colossians 4:6) Vulnerability without caution can derail our validity. If I dump every single thing I feel on those I’m called to point to God, I’m going to look more crazy than honest. Authentic faith is not about keeping up appearances, but we won’t impact anybody if they stop listening to what we have to say.
- Practice authenticity with your community.
My journey toward the pursuit of transparency in faith left me on the outskirts of a long standing community. Not everyone is of the mindset that living honest before God is a good thing. We are sinners after all. Just because we’ve chosen to give grace, doesn’t mean we’ll be received with it. While God is our safe spot, we all need people who will receive us flawed and frayed. They are the place we practice being real; our grace place. Authentic faith is not lived out alone.
The path of faith is not easily navigated. There are intricacies that make it one of the most difficult terrains to travel. But there is no journey that is more rewarding. When we open ourselves to the incredible wonder of a God who doesn’t require secrets, or pretense, or our self-imposed perfections, we come face-to-face with the most unique kind of freedom.
Authentic faith isn’t religion, it’s relationship. And there is no better way to honor the most valuable bond in our life than to be honest and humble—to be real.
You can also find these words linked up at my favorite spots: Holly Barrett (#testimonytuesday), Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory), Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#threewordwednesday).