This is a hard subject to write about, being authentic. Peeling away the many, many layers that you protect and surround your true self within…well, it hurts. It hurts bad. Sometimes one layer will shed off easily and you discover or admit something about yourself that you never thought you would. Sometimes a layer can get worn down after years and years of misuse until it’s gone. Sometimes it’s like a big ‘ole bandaid that’s been ripped without notice. It’s all a part of life and what we are bound to experience. Lately, I’ve felt this strong “call to action” from God. He hasn’t given me a nudge to get more involved in a particular ministry or charity. He knows that I can become overly consumed with such causes. He hasn’t drawn me to a particular vocation or occupation at this point. He hasn’t given me a vision or even a hint of what He wants from me. RIP! OUCH! And no amount of begging, pleading, crying, yelling or any other shameless form of communication has worked in getting God to just tell me what He wants from me. That would be too easy and it’s honestly infuriating for a Type A gal like myself. But I do know he wants me to be authentic and real.
I faithfully (or maybe, um, obsessively) pour over Christian women blogs and take in every word that seems to be truly inspired and relevant. I don’t have that kind of inspiration. So, I’m sorry if you’re hoping for some life-altering words of wisdom here. All of these women seem to know what God wants from and for them. How the heck do they do that? Have I been that closed off to God and too busy being “of” the world that I haven’t been following my calling? I’ve always been one to immediately jump in head first when I see someone or some cause that needs me. Yes, I do tend to have an arrogant “Save the World” mentality. As a child, I befriended those that were in the shadows, I stepped in to help those I saw in need. I volunteered. I studied hard and earned a great career helping individuals with special needs. This excites my heart…surely this is my calling (an opportunity to be authentic). Well, maybe…it feels pretty darn good to do good for others. But, when I give my whole heart to these causes, it takes away from everything else. But it’s good work. Surely, SURELY, this is what God wants from me. I’m indispensable, right? It takes “special” people to do what I do. Wrong. Your work should never be more important than your vocation. Oops.
Ok, so I’ve been blessed with a wonderful husband and three beautifully innocent children. I’ve always been slightly envious of my husband. Not in the nasty, seething way…but in the admiration sort of way. I’ve admired him since junior high school. No, really. He is the kind of person that is always true to himself, to his beliefs, and to his family. Always. He was quiet and contemplative and still is to this day. Me, on the other hand, I never shut up. Seriously, I don’t. I can talk and talk and talk and typically end up back where I started. Some find it quite comical. He listens, absorbs, and solves all while being silent. This past weekend, we met with a great couple from church and our priest to start planning for a marriage/family bible study group. As per my usual, I talked and talked and everyone patiently listened. I blurted out my ideas and visions for this group that I’ve been praying over for several years. There was a break in the conversation, I don’t know maybe I took a drink or something, and Dave came out with something so enlightening that it totally changed our course of action. Geesh. So that’s what authentic looks like? I need to just close my mouth once in awhile and listen. Oh, OUCH. I think God just said, “Listen.”
You know how when you do something you truly love…whether it be a job, being with a particular person, working in a ministry, a hobby, being a mom/wife, etc…you are effortlessly joyful? No? Then you better start searching because you’re missing out. That’s being authentic. I get that feeling when I work with a particular individual with special needs and I get that feeling when I’m working at the church in youth ministry. I get that feeling after a successful day of homeschooling, which, honestly doesn’t happen as much as I’d like. I get this feeling after a fun, successful photo shoot when I know I truly captured the essence of my subjects. I get this feeling when I’m pregnant. And I think I always will, despite the fact that we’ve suffered many miscarriages and survived three very dangerous pregnancies. A woman’s trials when faced with fertility and pregnancy issues are areas that I freely talk about whenever asked (so just come up to me and ask…). I don’t know what it is but it’s like I’m drawn to these women and want to help them so much. I can feel their pain and anguish. I’ve been there. I feel like God allowed these personal struggles so I can help other women. But it took me a long time to get there. Crazy? Maybe, but I feel that joy when I’ve possibly helped another woman to understand the struggle or guided them to the help they need. I’ve been the shoulder to cry on because I once needed and still need a shoulder quite often. I guess I do show some authenticity every once in awhile.
I don’t know about you but sometimes God sets my days to a theme. Like a repetitive message He will keep throwing at me until I finally get it. You mean you don’t have those kind of days? Oh. Well, today my theme was this…His light, His mercy, His joy, His forgiveness look their best during times of your darkest darkness. His beacon of salvation is most comforting during the times when we feel our life is in the darkest stretch. Can I get an Amen? I’m searching for more realness and authenticity. It’s really not that fun. I am learning things about myself that I didn’t used to feel were true. Some I’m embarrassed of, some I’m proud of, and some I just can’t wrap my head around.
If you’ve read up to this point, thanks. I told you I talk a lot. And I’m sure my rambles display my disconnected thought processes. Oh well, I’m on a journey to authenticity in every aspect of the word. Not sure if I’ll make it but I’m going to try. Thank goodness that I can hand my burden off to God, for His yoke is light…
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” There I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness… in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10