Authenticity Always

Attribution: MOPS

Attribution: MOPS

Several years ago I signed on to volunteer with Mothers of Preschoolers aka MOPS. I first signed on as a childcare worker and lover, and then moved up the ranks to mentor mom, one who has “been there, done that.”

In our training, a word I knew but never connected with the who that I am jumped to the forefront of my awareness. That word is “authenticity.” As authenticity relates to the world around me, it means real, honest, truthful, the real thing, nothing hidden. And you probably can think of others.

But I learned a new authenticity in my MOPS training. Although it involved all the above, it specifically meant I had to be the one showing and sharing all those qualities, not some product advertised on TV or sitting on store shelves or hanging on a rack.

As the verse above from Isaiah mentions, God was doing a new thing in me. He was making me accountable for who I am, not only to the persons I was interacting with but with family, friends, and myself.

Talking to a young mother I learned to speak openly about the difficulties of parenting a new infant, sharing the trials I experienced with colic, sleepless nights, a husband who didn’t help, the laundry, trying to balance housecleaning chores, cooking, and baby. I could not sugarcoat the realities of what I had experienced.

This young mother needed to know I knew what it was like to be in her shoes, in her skin, in her days. In order to do that I needed to share who I was when I was a young mom.

What was even harder was sharing about when my first marriage faltered, and the father of my child and I separated. This was something I didn’t willingly share with everyone. However, God placed a young mother struggling with separation and a young child in her arms for whom she had become solely responsible. It was my big test!

I thought long and hard about telling her the truth of my story, but God nudged and I knew she needed to know I truly understood because yes, I had been there. “Be real, authentic” God kept nudging. And I did.

We all need to bravely be ourselves, be authentic always with those around us.

We need to give up conforming to this world, attempting to fit in, or speaking so others believe we agree when we don’t. It means we need to be real, really who we are, really His.

What God wants from us is authenticity — the act of being who He created us to be.

Can you be that for Him, for yourself, for others? Think about your life and if you have a story to share about your authenticity, won’t you share it with us below?


Linking up on Monday with:

Kelli Woodford at Unforced Rhythms

and on Wednesday with:

Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart
Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory

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12 thoughts on “Authenticity Always

  1. Author Brene’ Brown is the one who first challenged me towards authenticity. This is one of my favorite quotes from her. “I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” The way you let God use you and your story with this mother is the very definition of bravery and authenticity. I dare say she won’t soon forget it, and it will spur her to share her story too. Because bravery ripples. Always. Thank you for linking at Unforced Rhythms.

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    • Beth, believe it or not I’ve just discovered Brene’ Brown and want to read more. I love the quote you shared. Your comments almost had me in tears — the truth of them struck a chord. “Because bravery ripples.” That’s what it’s about, isn’t it? Thanks for connecting.

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    • My thoughts on your question … yes, that counts too. As long as people know you are being you, you’re authentic. It may not be pleasant for all concerned but at least everyone is aware of your feelings and your truth.

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  2. Hi Sherrey! I think our experiences are God-given to share. Especially the painful ones. Jesus says don’t throw your pearls before swine, and you surely were not doing that. Someone really needed your voice and experience to get them through. What a gift that God sent that woman to you. It was no accident.
    I agree about striving to be myself, even if it means I don’t aways fit in. The challenge is to trust that God has made me perfectly for what I need to do for him. It’s hard to have that faith all the time, but I’m working on it!
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    • Hello Ceil! I strive to be myself more now than ever before. Growing up I could never please my mother (long story, writing a book!) and therefore I did whatever I could to achieve affirmation from others, even if it meant being someone else in a particular situation. That all changed in December 2000 when I had to bring her here to Oregon and care for her. Grace rained down on our relationship, and in a short 10 months we achieved forgiveness without speaking a word about our past. The night before she died Mama affirmed me by letting me know that I had “done everything for her just right.” No longer do I try to be someone else. With that affirmation, I knew who I was for the first time.

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  3. “Be authentic” is one of the daily goals I read to myself each day (right between “Just show up” and “Connect with compassion”). So I appreciate this advice and your willingness to be see-through to the new moms. It really helps us to grow when we share, and when others share with us. So thanks, Sherrey! I’m sure you were/are a wonderful role model for those moms.

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    • Interesting, Lisa, that your daily goals are the tips we taught to our new mentor moms each year — show up and be available, be authentic in all things, and connect with compassion. They’ve stuck with me ever since stepping down about two years ago. You don’t practice something for six years and then just forget about those goals. Thanks for always encouraging not just me but so many.

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  4. I never thought of how being honest with myself takes bravery, but you’ve got it right. Authenticity, whether it’s to others or to ourselves, takes guts and courage. Blessings from your neighbor in Coffee for Your Heart 🙂

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  5. I think we try to put on the mask that we think others expect from us. We don’t want to disappoint them or make them think less of us. I am so grateful for friends who have been real with me, and I pray I can be that for others.

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