Thoughts on authenticity.

6:17 PM

What is it about a good-looking journal?  

  It makes you feel so inspired and motivated to write before even cracking open the cover.  It makes you want to record things.....happy things, sad things, things that you're concerned about, things that you're tickled about, to-do lists, event plans, and on and on the list goes.  

   Over my birthday a few months ago, I was privileged to receive two beautiful journals from two equally beautiful friends, and the one on the far right is from Tinyprints and you can even customize it to say what you want.  How cool is that?  For mine I chose something that's been a bit of a battle cry for me lately, and I continue to cling to the promise that greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world. 

  And then, thanks to our ladies'  Bible study at church, I stumbled upon this fabulous quote by Beth Moore which I am since claiming for my blog's mission statement:

   I've spent a whole lot of time in my life (too much wasted, wasted time) trying to be all three of those things to EVERYONE.  For as long as I can remember, I never just wanted to "be friends" with someone.

I wanted to be their kindred spirit.
To know all their secrets.
And tell them mine.
To be their shoulder to cry on.
And their closest confidant.
I wanted to be inseparable.
Anne Shirley and Diana Berry.
Cut from the same cloth.
Two peas in a pod.

   The problem was, I wanted to be this to....well, everyone.  Boys, girls, whoever and whenever, I just wanted everyone to like me.  And not just like me, but like, WE ARE BESTIES like me.

   And I can hardly believe that it took me 29 long years to realize just how ridiculous that is.  Even Jesus had an inner circle.  Everyone with half a brain knows that boundaries are healthy and NECESSARY for one to retain their sanity, but I just didn't think any of that applied to me.

   I've always felt the deepest, most driving force to be authentic.  I can remember as a child feeling like I needed to tell everyone everything and never hold anything back.  I needed to wear my emotions on my sleeve and put everything about myself on display because if I didn't, I wasn't be REAL. I wasn't being true.  I wasn't being me.

   And as burdensome as that personality trait is, I can honestly say that I'm thankful for it, because I truly feel that it has come from God and it is what makes me who I am today.  It has brought pain into my life, but it has also brought beauty and precious relationships and I never want to not be authentic.  It's who I am and it's what makes me me, and I never want to change that.

But I'm finally (FINALLY) discovering the truth and the beauty of that simple phrase:

Authenticity with all, Transparency with most, Intimacy with some. 

   You see, that had never occurred to me before.  In my wild and desperate aching to be REAL, I didn't realize that I also get to choose.

I get to select the secrets I share.
I get to carefully choose the shoulders I cry on.
I get to determine where and when and with whom I will let those innermost walls down.

   And just because I have a relationship or a friendship, does not automatically mean I have to also be continually transparent or intimate.  Authentic? Yes.  I want to be that to everyone.  Always.

   But my mistake for so many years was not stopping to even dream that there is a difference between authenticity and transparency and intimacy.  I thought they all blended together into one, powerful, force and so if I was feeling one, I needed to feel it all, all at once, right now, THIS MINUTE.

   And so my relationships would hurtle with meteor speed into intimacy because I just felt that raw hunger to be authentic.  Transparent.  Real.  And trust was gained and lost, friendships were built and crumbled, and hearts were broken.

   I hope that this new mantra can carry over into everything I do over here at Frame of Mind.  I am just sort of stumbling my way through this as I grow, trying to learn what it means to be authentic and real without filleting myself open on a cutting board for the world to dissect every time.   And I hope you can be gracious, dear reader, as you follow along with me while I learn.

Because at my best and at my worst, I just want to be REAL.

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  1. This is good, very good. Thank you! ~Luci Martin

  2. Oh my. I resonate with this so much! Wanting to be real . . . always been my mantra. Still figuring out what it looks like to wear that well. Thanks for sharing your journey! It helps me in mine.

    Sending love your way,
    Danae :)

  3. One of the best relationship + authenticity mantras I've ever read. Love it!

  4. 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

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

  6. 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!

  7. 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?

  8. This resonated with me. I can relate to so much of it, but I don't think I've ever been able to put it into words. Thank you, Shelley!


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