Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 11: Be Authentic

If we get used to love that comes to our masked self, how will we ever experience the joy of authentic love that only comes to ones true self?

Week 11_Be AuthenticI’ve been invited to lead a breakout session for a women’s conference in April. The conference will be  hosted by a university which means I get the privilege of chatting it up with college women for a day. Yay me! I am so, so excited.

The conference theme is The Alteration: Acceptance Starts Here. Don’t you just love it? In my breakout session, I’ll get to chat about how this theme plays out in the lives of single women. Wow. Being only a step or two beyond my years as an unmarried woman, my heart is definitely quite soft toward the session and the lovely young women who will attend.

The event promises to be one that encourages young women to “unmask” and embrace their true identity. In a word, this conference is about “authenticity.” Sound familiar?

Merriam-Webster simply defines the word authentic as: “real or genuine: not copied or false.” Wearing a mask certainly has only one purpose and that’s to falsify or to conceal ones true identity.

As I’ve been pondering my session and what the Lord may have me to say on this subject, I can’t help but think about our 52 week journey together here. I hope you’ve gathered by now that the goal that drives 52 Weeks to Be Completely You is to encourage women (including myself) to embrace and love their authentic selves.

So why am I hosting a blog community and a year-long series dedicated to women embracing and loving their true selves? For a long time I’ve noticed we as women have a hard time simply being ourselves. It seems we seldom think “the real me” is good enough – to be appreciated, to be loved. So we create masks to cover the areas we’re ashamed of or deem unlovable. The world – media, social media, etc – has painted a picture of perfection and we are trying our best to live up to it, convinced that our imperfect self is not worthy of love just as we are.

Of course this is far from the truth. In my own life, I have certainly learned that the most genuine love found me in the places where I was free to or brave enough to simply be myself – flaws and all. I’ve also found it’s the craziness of my life that resonates most with other women. Why? My guess is it’s because they can relate and feel pretty darn relieved to learn they’re not alone in their imperfection.

We’ll chit chat about authenticity a bit more during our 52 weeks together. It’s something that weighs heavily on my heart. In the meantime, consider this question:

Why do we girls fear authenticity so much?