Always Be You
Have you ever wondered what it was about Jesus that made him draw crowds of people around him wherever he went? He seemed to effortlessly form groups of followers. He constantly had people pressing upon him for his attention and his time. So much so that often he had to retreat to a quiet place. Even his enemies were drawn to hear him speak.
What was his secret? There were many character traits that Jesus had that could have been the reason for his ability to draw others, but there is one that I think stood out. His authenticity.
Being authentic means staying true to who you are, what you do, and who you serve. True to one’s own personality, values, and sprit, regardless of the pressure that you are under to act otherwise.
Why do we like authentic people? One answer I found said, “Authentic people instill a sense of trust. You trust that what they say and do, is based on how they really think and feel.”
How authentic are you? How authentic am I?
Sociologist Erving Goffman believed that our life as human beings could be seen through the metaphor of the theater.
We are actors playing various roles to different audiences – audiences that also include ourselves.
So, through this perspective when we encounter another person in interaction, we attempt to guide and form the impression that the other person will have about us by “acting” in a way consistent with the impression we want the other person to make. We dress in particular ways, we talk in particular ways, and we do specific things to accomplish the purpose of forming the impression that we want other people to have about us.
Did Jesus care about what kind of impression he was making on others? Did he weigh the cost of his authenticity? Did he dress differently, talk differently, or act differently depending on his audience? He may have tailored his message to better relate with the audiences he was speaking to, but who he was, what he did, and who he served never changed. Regardless of the pressures he faced to be someone different, he remained true to his real self. His life’s purpose never wavered.
So much of our troubles come when we veer off course and allow ourselves to give in to what the world tells us we should be. We believe we are lacking or inadequate which then tempts us to make up for the perceived inadequacies by becoming someone we really aren’t. We lose our authenticity.
I’ve realized how often throughout my life I wasn’t authentic. It’s embarrassing to think about and humbling. My desire to fit in and to have people think well of me caused me to stray from who I truly was and what I really valued. It was too costly to speak the truth and too risky to be who I really was. With age and God’s grace comes wisdom and the courage to be more authentic, regardless of the cost.
So, this week, let’s be ourselves, speak our truth, focus on our gifts, and thank God for his healing grace.