The Authentic ParadoxBlog / Produced by The High Calling
Some years ago I began a blog so that I could "be myself." There was a certain pressure that came from being a minister, and it was weighing heavily on me. It was the pressure to look good. Or maybe I should say to look a certain way, to conform to an image. So I launched a blog and started telling the truth about myself, my life, my beliefs, and my ministry. I was anonymous to begin with, so I revealed a lot, or at least it seemed like a lot to me. I discovered something interesting. I had not shed my boundaries and expectations. I had just embraced a new set of them. Soon I became known as "That minister with the blog who is so authentic." Somehow, the minute you get that label, the magic is gone, and now you're just trying to live up to a new set of expectations. I'm not even sure what authenticity is anymore. The truth is, very few of us know ourselves well enough to be all that authentic anyway. Still, we long for authenticity, even if it is complex. And when we meet people who are comfortable in their own skin, it somehow touches our hearts and gives us hope that perhaps we too could be just as vulnerable and authentic. Bradley Moore is an executive with a blog. He wrote a rather intimate story recently about trying to find authentic friendships in a New England culture that seemed rather suspicious and closed to him. He found a woman in church who managed to be real during a worship service. Her simple words touched him that day.
Authenticity can be difficult to come by, even in the church community. Go figure. People prefer to hide the awful mess going on inside their lives, choosing to maintain some shred of perceived dignity rather than revealing the sober truth. The meager attempts we make at propping up an image of success is much more appealing than spilling the beans about the troubled marriage, the crippling anxiety, or the poor performance at work. But the stark truth is that all of us are struggling with something. People may be good at hiding it, but like my mom always says: “Everyone Has Problems.” I have grown to appreciate more the people who are not afraid to be transparent, raw, authentic and realistic about the challenges and disappointments they are experiencing. It makes me want to be real and transparent with them, too. I don’t know how else anyone can expect to develop real relationships with others unless they do this...READ MORE