If authenticity were a high school girl, she’d be voted head girl and prom queen all in the same year. Not bad if you’re into that sort of thing.
In 2018, the word authentic was googled more than most other words. It’s super popular. According to Google Trends it has been this way for years.
The word authentic is consistently in the top percentile of searches compared to all other words that are Googled. (Granted, many of these have to do with a dining experience, for example Where can I get authentic Mexican food? ) Nevertheless, authentic is still a favorite inquiry.
WHY IS AUTHENTICITY SO POPULAR?
I believe authenticity is popular because we live in an increasingly fake world, with countless opportunities to craft the food we grow, the fabrics we wear, and the bodies we were given into artificial perfection. The world of social media itself is a synthetic creation, filled with images that have been posed, filtered, and honed to display a desired image. Our churches and faith communities, in a desire to make God look good, subtly or not so subtly, send messages, encouraging us to reveal only what is good and hide what is bad.
This imitation environment leaves us hungry for what is real. It leaves us wanting, yet not entirely sure of what we are wanting for. It leaves us curious about what is genuine. It leaves us tired of concocting, shaping, and screening our lives. It makes it difficult, very difficult, to know our true selves. (If you are a mom, check out THE 5 REASONS MOMS DON’T KNOW THEIR TRUE SELVES, PART 1 AND PART 2.)
So, what is authentic?
Dictionary.com defines authentic as
- not false or copied; genuine; real.
- representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified.
That description is a good start, but I believe authenticity much more than that. In fact, I define authenticity in 8 ways. (YOU CAN CHECK OUT THE VIDEO DESCRIPTION HERE.)
THE 8 ELEMENTS OF AUTHENTICITY
- Know and express the fullness of your personality
- Accept and expose your weaknesses
- Act in alignment with your values
- Recognize your feelings
- Do not influence the opinions of others
- Do not be influenced by the opinions of others
- Stand out
- Stand down
We will look into each element in future blogs.
But here’s a question. Does the definition of authentic change for those of us who follow Christ?
WHAT IS CHRISTIAN AUTHENTICITY?
Is Christian authenticity different than regular authenticity?
Yes and no.
No, authenticity is not different for Christians because all 8 parts apply to any real human experience, and Christians, even though we fight it sometimes, are still human.
Yes, authenticity is different for Christians, because in addition to being true in our relationship with ourself and others, Christian authenticity is being true in your relationship with God.
Christian authenticity is…
…knowing Jesus in a very personal and true way. As David Brenner, said in The Gift of Being Yourself, “We do not find our true self by seeking it. Rather, we find it by seeking God…in finding God we find our truest and deepest self.”
…knowing who God made you to be in the form of His original design (your personality) and the desires He has placed in your heart (your values). And then stewarding those resources to live out His purpose for you.
…recognizing your emotions as God-given indicators of what’s going on inside you, not dismissing them as sinful or frivolous.
…confessing your weaknesses to Him and others, not trying to hide those less-Godly moments from anyone, including yourself.
…living for an audience of One (fear of God), so that what other people think of you (fear of man) is not your concern.
…being highly atttuned to the voice of God so that He is your true guide and source of truth.
…exhibiting the final fruit of the Spirit, self-control, as you choose your words and actions to build up the Body of Christ.
More than anything else, Christian authenticity is living in the tension between what is true right now about you in the earthly realm, the the good, the bad and the ugly, (What I call your little ’t’ truth) AND what is true right now about you in the heavenly realm, the pure, the noble, and glorious, (I call this your big ’T’ Truth.)
As Christians we are authentically in both worlds. The earthly and the eternal. Sinners and saints. Holy and becoming holy. All at the same time.
It’s hard to wrap your mind around, but if you’ll join me on this journey to our authentic selves, I know that God will teach us everything we need to know.
How do you define Christian authenticity?