THE MYSTERIOUS ONION
Did you ever get in the kitchen and have to deal with an onion? This dreaded vegetable that can make a grown man cry. It’s shrouded in mystery. Made up of many layers of substance. It takes an eternity just to get to it’s core. Put too much of it in your mouth and people will smell you a mile away. Poor onions they get such a bad rep because no one really “knows” them.
Many times we are viewed in the same way by others who may see us as “unknowable” even a mystery. As Christian leaders we are more like Batman. We serve people in their hour of need, but the rest of the time we go through great lengths to conceal our identity. I want to examine for just a few moments the impact of Authenticity and it’s impact on not just our professional, ministerial lives but also the impact it has on our personal lives.
WE LIVE IN SILOS
The root meaning for authentic is “original”. Not a copy or an imitation. When an object is being valued it’s authenticity generates it’s highest value. When we live and serve out of a position of authenticity we are displaying “the real us” to those around us.
In her Ted Talk Sociologist, Researcher Rene Brown points out “that the greatest obstacle to authenticity is the fear of not being accepted because we see ourselves as not matching up. Were too short, too fat, too poor, not educated, not cool enough.” She describes these as our self protecting shield against “being known”. So we parade around in this “costume” so that others won’t know the real us.
We serve in community but we live in silos. This is most realized when a tragedy hits many of us and no one knows about it. We dare not discuss our weaknesses or our struggles because it does not match up with the perceived image that we portray and in many cases we don’t want to deal with the shame.
THE BENEFITS OF AUTHENTICITY
Let me suggest three immediate benefits to this thing called Authenticity:
- Authenticity is the antidote to shame
I am in no way suggesting that you put your innermost struggles and fears on Facebook or Twitter in an effort to show others how authentic you are. However I would ask you to consider those in your most inner circle of “trusted” friends. Which of these would you reveal those “darkside” parts to your character. Their input and feedback will be surprisingly helpful to your journey of faith.
- Authenticity builds trust with others
There may be those around you that look up to you as someone they want to model themselves around. Let them have a glimpse of your heart. Let them hear what you are passionate about and what you despise. By they just knowing that simple thing that you are passionate about will help them to build those values in their lives. Even the revelation that you despise something will give them insight into your life. People are looking for “real” leaders not “perfect leaders”
- Authenticity sets you free
God wants us to live lives that are free of the chains of inferiority and mediocrity. He said “he came to give us abundant lives” Jn 10:10. He does not want us to be slaves to self worth that is lower than what He declares about us. See Ps 139. He wants us to understand our worth from His perspective and that we should live our lives as Rene Brown puts it as “wholehearted” people.
The Goal of authenticity is for us to push past living in mystery, and be real. Not ashamed of who we are defects and all. Not trying to live up to some marketing scheme that says we should be a certain way. No we should live with the motto that says “God has accepted me in Jesus, therefore I am enough”. This will set you free to invite others into your sphere and as a result others will want to live in community with you because you’ve shown you are approachable and “REAL”…..Happy Growing!!