Authentic Relationships: It’s Been Real

October 02, 2014

Authenticity is the courage to love with a rigorous inside-out consistency. Living this way allows us to be known deeply by others and by God. – Greg Spencer

There is a current trend in our world today towards increased reality and authenticity in our relationships, speech and daily lives. Be Authentic is the cry of the millennials, and that has carried over into other generations as well. We are encouraged, as women and men, to be the me inside and not worry about what others think because we are following our own path. We call it authentic, or being real. The phrase “It’s been real” comes to mind, and is that particular phrase always a positive one? It is defined as “a farewell greeting…a good time has been had” or “A phrase used as a farewell, when the experience shared has been of unique, experimental, or strange phenomenon.” How do you feel when someone leaves at the end of the night and their parting comment is “It’s been real”? It can leave you wondering how they really felt about the evening.

How real is too real? I remember speaking with a young lady one day and she asked me a question on why people didn’t seem to want to be around her when she was being herself. It was a difficult question to answer, because in reality, her take on being herself was being an unloving version of her authentic self. She interpreted it as saying whatever entered her mind, expressing every feeling and acting on every impulse because that was “being real.” As I said then, I gently say now: authenticity doesn’t mean showing every feeling, and it certainly doesn’t mean acting on every feeling or thought you have. Being authentic means opening oneself to be vulnerable in the presence of others, and most importantly, being at a state of vulnerability to God. But what if our authentic self isn’t loving or beautiful?

A good man [woman] out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man  [woman] out of the evil treasure of his [her] heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his [her] mouth speaketh. – Luke 6:45

We know that what is in our hearts and minds will come out.

Can I be real? What’s in my heart and mind isn’t always pretty. I daily have to pray “Create in me a clean heart, Oh Lord!” It’s not something that any of us don’t struggle with. We are carnal beings. We pray in order to be close to the Lord and allow His spirit to strengthen us and give us the grace to follow Christ. Without the power of the Holy Ghost inside of us, allowing us operate in the spirit, we wouldn’t have a hope. In that light, how powerful is this Scripture? “Of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh…” I want my heart to be full of beauty!

How do I change my authentic self? How do I become an authentic person that others would want to be around and are inspired by? Colossians 4:6 gives us an answer: “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” I believe Paul is clearly stating in subtext: Be Intentional about what comes out of your mouth! Authenticity does not give us permission to be rude, catty or ugly with the excuse of  “I was just being real.” Authenticity does not come before politeness. Authenticity does not validate every feeling we have, nor does it give us a reason to show those feelings. Authenticity gives us the room to acknowledge our feelings, and then decide what we are going to do about them. Many view authenticity as permission to spew their feelings to the world and walk away. (It’s comical, but we’ve all known someone that has done that and it’s not uplifting is it?)

The most accurate for authenticity that I’ve seen is the quote at the top of this post: “Authenticity is the courage to love with a rigorous inside-out consistency. Living this way allows us to be known deeply by others and by God (Greg Spencer).”

Authenticity begins with prayer and acknowledgement of our own problems to the Lord.

From there we begin a journey to true relationships with God and others, humbly realizing our own flaws and going forward with the knowledge of our imperfections, yet allowing others to see that and the beautiful work God is doing in us. Be Intentional in your Authenticity-so that when people say It’s been real, you know exactly what they mean.

Interested in reading more on Authenticity? Follow the links below:

What is your take on authenticity? How do you practice being vulnerable, real and authentic in your relationships with God and others? Leave a comment below with your thoughts!