This year I felt like God kept laying the word authentic on my heart over and over.
A personal calling for all relationships in my life — authentic friendships, an authentic marriage, just being my authentic self and more so being an authentic follower of Him.
What would life look like if all of us truly lived authentically as followers of Christ?
If we sought help and brought our trials to light instead of putting on a facade of perfection?
I’m quickly learning how hard this is. It’s so easy to try to hide away the ugly in our lives - to brush it under the rug and pretend to be perfectly fine. To answer “Things are great!” when someone asks how you are, when deep down you’re battling pride, a grudge or working through a struggle with family or in your marriage. Trust me — I’ve been there.
Although it is scary to be vulnerable and let others in when you’re at your worst, I truly believe this is how God desires us to live. He wants us to come to him and to those he’s placed in our lives when we are sobbing on the floor, in the middle of a panic attack or simply afraid. Because I believe when we go through the hard times with a friend, husband or family member, the joyous times are so much greater. For they literally have been in the valley with us.
God didn’t intend for us to go to the valley alone.
After a really rough week I got this text from a dear friend
“D- we do life together. Life has downs. I love you and I wanted to serve you however I could. Jesus put you in my life and I’m so thankful for that. It was honestly the least I could do. You have no shame, ok? You don’t need to do it alone.”
I read this and silently sobbed. How could I not? Who would think that being vulnerable and letting someone in - so awkward and uncomfortable at first- would lead to a love like this? A friend, a sister reaching out letting me know that I’m never alone.
We are called to go out of our comfort zone.
We are called to be authentic.
We are called to be different.
This winter the women of my church are studying Joy. The below passage, Franciscan Benediction was shared this past week at study and truly touched me. When I thought of the women that have made a difference in my life they all possessed these qualities. They were authentic, they were sympathetic and they truly made a difference just by living openly and inviting others into the [sometimes] messiness of their lives.
I pray I can grow in these qualities and be more and more like the friends and mentors I’ve been blessed with in life. Being authentic and letting others in is scary, but the blessings that are reaped from an authentic relationship are truly incomparable.
A Franciscan Benediction
May God bless us with discomfort…
at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
so that we may live from deep within our hearts.
May God bless us with anger…
at injustice, oppression and exploitation of God’s creations
so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless us with tears…
to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,
so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.
and may God bless us with just enough foolishness…
to believe that we can make a difference in the world
so that we can do what others claim cannot be done:
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and all our neighbors who are poor.