Authenticity is a word we hear tossed around. We are told to be ourselves and to be real with each other, but what does that look like? Does it mean letting our guard down and living as we please? I want to share three keys to an authentic life.
Living an authentic life requires us to get honest with ourselves. We have to dig deep, discover who we are, and allow for self-reflection.
1. Be True to Yourself.
The world tells us to “be ourselves,” but I want to encourage you to be true to yourself. Being yourself implies that you should do what you want when you want. You act on impulse rather than with strategy. Being yourself is easy, but being true to yourself takes discipline.
What does it mean to be true to yourself? It’s acting according to your beliefs and values. You make decisions because of what you know to be true, not what you feel.
It’s great to be able to let your guard down and just “be yourself” at times. We experience so much pressure in day-to-day life that it’s good to relax! We shouldn’t feel like we need to fit a specific mold. But it’s even more vital that we remain true to ourselves because feelings can change. What you may feel like doing today can change over the next day, month, or year. But what doesn’t change is what the Word of God says.
Being true to yourself looks like walking in faith. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” It’s not about how we feel in the moment or what the circumstances appear to be but about the promises of God. When we know who God is and understand His good character, we can have confidence that He will show up.
The same principle applies to being true to yourself. As believers, our goal is to live like Jesus. We are to emulate the behavior He displays for us in the Bible. Are we perfect? Of course not! There is always grace for our shortcomings, but we should be striving to live like Him. But what happens when we don’t feel like it? If we live based on feelings, we will miss out on so much. Being true to ourselves means that sometimes we will do what we don’t feel like doing.
It’s better to live according to what you believe despite how you feel. Imagine what a mess things would be if the entire world was based on feelings! Sometimes, we don’t feel like going to work, or going to the grocery store, or cleaning up after the kids, but we do it because it’s our responsibility. As Christians, we are called to represent Christ in all we do. Treat with excellence what God has entrusted to you!
2. Drop the Facade.
We all put on various masks at times, but it’s essential to be real with yourself. Where are you at? How are you feeling? Don’t be afraid to let your guard down and examine your true self.
It’s important to share with close friends and family where you are at. They can act as a sounding board and provide some perspective and advice. But make sure you are surrounding yourself with godly friends who will give you the right advice. It may not be what you want to hear, but it will be what you need to hear.
I’ve met a lot of women who want to cast the blame on someone else. They will talk about how great they are or how great you are, and everyone else seems to be the problem. It may make you feel better in the moment, but the thing is, we can’t change other people! We can distance ourselves from toxic relationships, we can set an example for others and represent Christ well, we can demonstrate kindness and generosity to our neighbors, but, ultimately, we cannot change them. Only God can change their hearts! They have to be open, willing, and ready to create change in their lives. Thus, it’s not productive to sit around, talk about how everyone else is the problem, and never arrive at any solutions.
Instead, find friends who are problem-solvers. Be real with them, and allow them to help you come up with realistic solutions. But until you drop the facade, you’ll never be able to experience growth.
Being vulnerable with those who care about you will set you up for personal growth. You may have great friends who will push you toward Christ, but you won’t move forward if you can’t be honest with where you are. You don’t have to share everything with everyone, and you especially don’t need to post everything on Facebook or other social media platforms, but it’s great to share with those close to you.
Godly advice is so important! We see so many friendships outlined in Scripture. God will send the right friends into your life when you seek Him.
3. Give Yourself Grace.
Don’t be too hard on yourself! We need to be able to show ourselves grace when we make mistakes. Nobody is perfect, and nobody is expecting you to be perfect either!
We can spend all day rehearsing where we went wrong, analyzing every angle of every situation, and beating ourselves up about it. But it won’t change what happened. There’s a popular saying, “Hindsight is 20/20.” We can always see what could have been done differently, but we can’t fix it.
The more you focus on the past, the more frustrated you will get. Don’t let mistakes get you down. Learn from where you went wrong, and the next time a similar situation comes, you will know how to handle it. Everyone makes mistakes; it’s okay!
Learn how to show yourself grace. To live authentically, we need to let some things go. Don’t beat yourself up over the small stuff. Learn to walk in the grace God has given us!
If you need encouragement, check out these verses on God’s grace:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
—2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
—James 4:6 (NIV)
He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.
—2 Timothy 1:9 (NIV)
Walk in the grace of God and live authentically today!
To discover more about finding the right friends, read my blog How to Be a Good Friend HERE.