Thoughts on Authenticity, part 2.

4:43 PM

   O.k. so just so you know, nothing gets me more excited as a blogger than when people GET IT.  Nothing.

   When they get my point, get my sense of humor, get my crazy ramblings, get the drift, get the heart of it all.....just get it.  And when that happens, I do a little happy dance and want to blog forever.  Just so you know.

   So thanks and a giant, squeezy hug to all of you who left me love on that Authenticity post.  Kinda makes me want to revisit some of those life-giving words, so let's, shall we?  Here are some comments that prompted me to post about authenticity again today: (read the first post here)

What a beautiful quote! Thanks for this post! I was wondering if you could clarify the difference between authenticity, transparency, and intimacy. I would like to put this into practice, but I don't know what that looks like.

oh girl you nailed it! i wish i could have figured some of this out years ago!

WOW, I haven't finished reading this and it's the best post you've ever written (gush gush...) Please do write more on this. I'm copying that Beth Moore quote. I've heard about 'boundaries' so much--and knew I needed some!--but I was always afraid it would mean I couldn't be 'real.' Love dis!

Also, a pet peeve of mine is when bloggers (bizarrely it's a trait mainly just found in online bloggers) end up being ALL about 'authenticity' and 'realness' and 'honesty'... and leave it at that and don't have actual content! Like, "this is my dirty kitchen sink: just keepin' it real!" x 100.  This does NOT describe 'Frame of Mind', just to clarify! I wonder if other people have noticed this?

   O.k. so that last one made me laugh.  SOOOO true.  I cannot count the times I've read blogs or followed Instagrammers that make me wonder if a Superhero Stepford wife/robot (instead of actual human) is at the helm of all of that dizzying perfection, and then they do the whole "Here's me doing laundry, just keeping it real!" post and I'm all over here like......."THAT'S being real?!   Well now I'm for sure not showing anybody my 'real' because then you'll commit me to an institution."  

Just kidding.  Sort of. 

   And that second-to-last comment?  It was anonymous and I SO wish I could know who wrote that so I could give them a big fat thank-you for all the amazing things they said but mostly, for not being anonymous and MEAN!  This is a newsworthy moment here at Frame of Mind, folks!!  It's usually the no-namers that have the sharpest digs to jab.  Funny how that works.

   So anyway, I just want you to know (I've said this before) that I am like, the WORST in the world at replying to comments, but I read every single one!  And they mean a lot to me.  A lot.  And so every once in a while, I like to feature them in a post in my small little attempt at showing you all how much they really mean to me.  Because every time you leave a loving comment, you breathe life into me.  I feel like what I'm doing actually has a POINT.  And if you're a blogger, you understand how pointless all of it feels a huge percent of the time.  So thank you thank you thank you thank you.  


   Getting onto the real point here, and discussing in further detail, authenticity and transparency and intimacy.  The first comment I listed was the one that spurred me on to writing more about it. It really got me thinking, and I realized I REALLY don't have all the answers.  So much of it is just a "learn-as-you-go" thing, but that can feel painfully slow.  So of course, I turned to the dictionary for a little help.

   1. Not false or copied; genuine, real.

   1. Open; frank; candid.
   2. Easily seen through, recognized, or detected.
   3. Having the property of transmitting rays of light through its substance so that bodies situated beyond or behind can be distinctly seen.

   1. Characterized by or involving warm friendship or a personally close or familiar association or feeling.
   2. Very private; closely personal.

  It's amazing to me how something as simple as reading the definitions of words can shed light on their meaning.  It makes sense, I guess that it would, but it just seems so elementary that it's easy to overlook.  

   And so without doing any further research than literally looking these words up in the dictionary, these are my humble conclusions:

   Being authentic is just what it sounds like.  You're not copying someone else, you're not putting up a false front to try and win people's approval, you're not being fake.  Period.  You are just genuine.  Real.  YOU.  So what if you don't know how to be authentic?  It's probably a result of not yet knowing who you are.  So I would suggest figuring that out first, and then authenticity will follow.  And please, please PLEASE do not embark on some Eat, Pray, Love journey to find yourself.  Go to God.  Get in the Word, and get on your knees, and you will find the answers you seek.

   Transparency always scared me a little, because I always think of it as the first two definitions I listed.  Open, frank, candid.  Always speaking her mind and spouting her mouth with little thought of what might come out before it does.  Easily seen through.  Wears her heart on her sleeve and THEN some.  Everyone she meets within a short period of time knows everything about her.  Open book.  All of that seems a little scary and intimidating, and so when you have a personality that tends toward transparency, what's a girl to do??!  

  But that's the beauty of that third definition.....I stopped and stared when I read it.  And I know it's not talking about a quality trait ok?  It's probably referring to a shower curtain.  But I think it's applicable, and so whether it is or not, that's where I'm going with this, so bear with me.:)  

   To me, it sounds like transparency in a healthy, balanced way, is letting the light of truth and Christ shine RIGHT THROUGH US so that when people look at us, they see Jesus.  No brick walls, no fenced in areas, no facades, and barricades, and blockages.   Just letting the light of Christ shine through.  And suddenly, transparency turns from a very scary thought into the most beautiful idea ever.

   And lastly, intimacy.  I was amazed that when I looked up the word, there were 6 definitions listed before it even mentioned amorous acts and sex.  What that says to me, is that there is a multitude of ways to be intimate without ever even entering the physical realm.  And that should be taken very, very seriously.  Why?  Because intimacy is PRIVATE.  CLOSELY PERSONAL.  And if you have a myriad of people in your intimate circle?  That doesn't sound private or close or personal anymore to me.  Or safe.

   And so once again, as a person with a  personality who tends towards intimacy almost immediately, that just means that sometimes I have to say no.  I have to say no to being warm and close and cozy with the secrets I share, the trusts I build, and the relationships I grow.  It doesn't mean I can't make friends.  It just means I don't have to be closely personal with everyone.

   And so if you're looking at this, wondering "How in the world am I ever going to find the balance I crave?"  I really really implore you to go to the Word.  Honestly, it will give you the wisdom you need.  If you're ever in a situation where you're unsure, pray right then and there for wisdom.  I know that I personally have a few situations I would pay good money to be able to go back to and NOT BE TRANSPARENT.  Not be open.  Not be frank or candid and keep my mouth tightly shut!!!  

   There are times I desperately with I wouldn't have been intimate.  Opening up my deepest feelings and emotions and heart and soul to people, only be trampled on and hurt.  

   There are times I even wish I wouldn't have to be authentic.  Because it would be easier to put up a false exterior or just copy someone else I admire more than I admire myself.  

But that's not an option.  

   That's where our handy dandy little saying comes in.....(Thanks Beth Moore!)

   We need to be authentic with everyone.  We owe that to people.  People do not want (or need) more copy-cats, imitators, or fakes.  We need authenticity.   So just say yes to being AUTHENTIC!

   With transparency, it isn't all it appears to be.  We don't have to be easily seen through, or read like a book.  Our emotions don't have to be on our sleeve all of the time, but neither does that mean we get to build the Great Wall of China around ourselves.  Aint no one got time for that.  We need to be beautifully transparent, letting the light of Christ shine through us.

   Intimacy.  Special.  Private.  CLOSE.  An honor and a privilege reserved for only our nearest and dearest of friendships.  Not to be handled lightly because it holds heavy, weighty value.  It hold great power to heal or to harm, to build up or to tear down, to encourage or to cause despair.  

   Whew, I hope this post in some, small way helped shed light on this issue!  All I know is that right now my brain is running in a million different directions in ways I could take this thing, but the clock is winding down on nap time and I need to wrap it up. 

   If you have any more questions I'd love (LOVE) to hear them! Please leave a comment, shoot me an email, whatever.  And by all means, I obviously don't have this all figured out.  I've stumbled all over the page on this one.  Trust me.  But I like to think that I'm growing and learning and I just want to share some of that with you.

Happy Monday.

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  1. Beautifully written, friend. Practical and encouraging and with winsome humility. It's amazing how much time and just living of life it takes to get to that "who we are" place. I thought I knew "me" at 15, and then it changed by 18, and by 22, and by 24 and it's still a picture coming into focus. And yet, like you pointed out so wonderfully, there's always the Word reminding me of the NEVER changing identity of a uniquely loved and redeemed daughter of the King. Thanks again, xoxome.

  2. You are such a gifted writer, Shelley. You take words that most of us feel, but not all of us can articulate, and we all stand up and shout, "YES!! That's exactly it!" I love these posts you've written on authenticity... The openness with which you write. That inner circle of 3, then the outer circle of 12, then the vast group of acquaintances - wow, Jesus just modeled friendship so well. I love how this is so deep and so practical all at once. ♥ you!

  3. Both of these posts have hit me so hard that I hardly have words. Thank you for sharing, touching my heart, being an encouragement and also challenging me. Enjoyed it so very much.

  4. Shelley, this post is beautiful! So exactly what I needed to hear right now! You just hit the heart and soul of the subject right on by putting God right in the middle of it! Thank you for being transparent!

  5. Yes! This is so good! I've struggled as well in knowing how to be real with people, yet not unloading all my junk to every person who asks "How are you doing?" on a Sunday morning :)

    A friend of mine posted a quote from Pinterest & I thought it fit beautifully with being authentic: "Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself."

    I love reading your blog, by the way :) You do a fantastic job of expressing yourself, being REAL & letting the love of Jesus flow through you!

  6. Dearest Shelley, love the new vision I now have of transparency!! Thanks for being transparent and letting Jesus shine threw you!
    I feel God has been trying to get threw to me to run to His Word, and you have just reminded me of that again! Thanks! Jewel


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