When did it start for you?
Kindergarten, first grade or somewhere during those final carefree years of high school? I am referring to the pressure to change, conform or become something you’re not. It’s not unusual. However, when we change to gain the approval of someone or to become a part of something, we sell ourselves short and settle for far less than God’s plan for our life. Being authentic begins by recognizing your true self-worth.
Get real, get authentic
Imagine for a few minutes you’ve accepted a role as an actor in a play. Following a script, you work hard at taking on the nature of your new character. You memorize lines, rehearse facial expressions, and practice body language. The more you practice, the better you get.
Before you know it, you have the ability to get in and out of character quickly—it’s become second nature, like a habit. Furthermore, you’ve discovered it’s both fun and safe; fun because you get instant gratification from entertaining others. The ‘new’ you, has an ability to make people laugh. Safe because there’s someone to ‘hide’ behind. The real you is tucked away, hidden from sight along with all your hopes, dreams, fears, and insecurities.
So who are you anyway?
What if the more often you played this role, the funnier, happier, smarter, more attractive, or successful you became?
Now, the new character has become a mask; one which has allowed you to veil that which you don’t desire others to see. The short-term advantage, however, is no gain at all. In fact, it costs more than you think. The longer you compromise yourself, the less authentic you become.
I once heard a man say he had changed so many times to please others; he no longer knew who he was.
In the process of becoming something he was not, he lost his identity.
How to be authentic
“For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (Jn. 12:43). Fear is a motivation for putting up a facade; one that eventually leads to compromise. But there’s a great assurance in God’s Word, and it’s this: fear not. This verse confirms and identifies the source of fear:
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Is. 41:10).
The word, ‘dismayed’ means distress caused by something contrary. In this verse, it is the Hebrew (Aramaic) word, sha`ah which is to look at, gaze at, or regard. In English, it’s derived from two words: dis (Latin for a negation) and may (Germanic meaning, to have power). The Amplified translation says it this way: Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation] (Is. 41:10).
God has given us the ability to live without fear, regardless of how dire circumstances may appear. Moreover, He’s established a process by which we can move forward—in the right direction. It begins with the refusal to be discouraged by looking intently at that which surrounds us. Instead, we must remain aware of God’s continuous presence; His power within us and His unique plan for our life.
- When Jesus taught about the immense value of a human soul, He compared it to a sparrow in the marketplace whose value was small. He said a sparrow did not fall to the ground apart from our Father’s will. Jesus said, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matt. 10:30, emphasis added). Imagine how much more God is concerned with your well-being?
- The apostle Paul wrote, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph.
2:10, emphasis added). He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world! (See Eph. 1:4).
- Your calling was not happenstance. It was ordained. Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. . .” (Jn. 6:44).
The value in you
Seek the Lord diligently, spend quiet time with Him. As a result, you will discover how to see yourself the way God sees you—perfect and complete, in Christ. You are, after all, fearfully and wonderfully made. A one-of-a-kind; there’s nobody on earth like you—never has been and there never will be.
How has the Lord helped you understand authenticity and the value of being you?