Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Authentic You

We had a beautiful snowy Christmas. I think my first one ever. Oregon's Willamette Valley isn't known for white winters.

I gazed out the window at the hushed landscape, every brush, shrub and tree covered with the fluffy stuff and smiled. Oregonians tend to get a wee bit tired of the gloomy days where a peek out the window shows tired foliage slumping with the wetness that drips onto the sodden ground.

But as the temperature warmed up, the snow melted and all that was underneath began to show through. Slushy, dirty snow replaced the pristine crispness of the day before.

It reminded me of how easily we try to pretty up our junk and put on a smiling face to show everyone that all is well in our world. But the fa├žade cracks and our hurts and scars start to show through.

God didn't design us to hide who we are. He didn't create a world of perfection for us to try to mold ourselves into.

If we buy into the world's lie that we must look a certain way, or that our spouses or children must perform to a certain standard of excellence, we will hide behind a persona.

We will fear being authentic in case we don't measure up.

The fear of rejection causes us to isolate. Oh, not in the sense that we shun being around people or don't have close friends.

I mean in the sense that we don't bring all of us into those relationships. Do we love the core of who we are enough to trust others to accept us too?

I reached a cross road a couple years back where I was faced with that question. And the answer was a sad no. I didn't trust others with the real me, because I didn't like her either.

I had a rigid standard of excellence that I held myself to and rarely measured up. So I pushed those parts away and tried to be someone I thought others would accept. But it's difficult to live in fractured pieces—hiding the parts that you don't like or don't think others will accept.

It's not until you bring those parts into relationship with God and others (safe, trustworthy others) that you can be whole.

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