What does it mean to “be real”?
I used to pride myself on being an authentic person. Grounded. Honest. The Real Deal. But a few months ago I faced the hard truth that in many ways, I’m kinda Phony. I flash a plastic smile and fake my way through so many interactions with people. “I’m fine!” or “It’s all good!” flies out of my mouth before I can even give myself the chance to process how I’m really feeling. And even once I do process, I rarely have the courage to share my honest self with people…especially in–I’m holding my breath as I type this–Bible believing circles. I love the Lord, but I carefully censor my true self with fellow believers because I’m afraid they won’t get me…and then they’ll think I can’t believe this chick works in Christian radio! What an abomination. I seldom give voice to my struggles because I find people are compelled to wrap up difficult life experiences I share in a pretty bow or parrot Scripture at me to make everything A-Okay. Sometimes it’s just hard to reconcile faith with the mess of life…and that’s okay.
In this season of life, the Lord has been speaking to me in the silence. It took adopting a feisty little girl to force me to be still. And be strong. I want my daughter to see a mother who values authenticity over being fake…who values honesty and grace. In fact, before I flew to China to pick up my child, I browsed a bookstore in search of reading material for her to enjoy and I found “The Velveteen Rabbit.” The Skin Horse explains the process of becoming real better than I ever could:
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
I had to ask myself: Am I confident enough in God’s love for me that I can risk being real even if I’m rejected? If I put my true self out there and people judge, attack or make negative comments…I need to be okay with that. Because I don’t want to come to the end of my life being a poor imitation of the real me.
I want to invite you on a journey with me to “become real.” The driving force behind this blog is to go deep and get honest about matters of motherhood and faith. There’s incredible freedom in being honest. In being real.
What does being “authentic” mean to you?