Christian or Nah?

Spent a lot of time reading today, and one particular thought kept recurring through my head as I read this post by a “Christian” and that blog by an “nonbeliever” and a tweet by a “Christian who is a professional” and then an article by a “self proclaimed heathen” and so on…

Observation for today: If you call yourself a Christian, yet mock those who have overcome failures and defeat, focus more on race, politics and cultural agendas, and create division rather than unity by your words and/or actions,

what is setting you apart from the world??

…and if we are not set apart from the world, why would “they” want anything we have?

Give Yourself Permission: Authenticity

Too many of us grow up believing we must conform to society, or be molded after our family’s traditions, or conform to our friends’ desires, or even be completely yielded to our parents’ or spouses wishes. When we’ve been constantly conditioned to surrender and submit all willpower, all defiance, all choice to the determination of another, authenticity can escape us, and we might not even realize it.

It really takes hard work to be authentic, because not everyone is going to agree with you on everything. It takes a dogged mindset to remain real when the world around us is full of so much fake that is sold to the highest bidder. It even takes a mental stubbornness to remain grounded in your own beliefs, standards and choices for life, especially if you have someone close to you whom you seek to have their approval, affection or admiration.

The coveting of another’s love can wreak havoc on one’s conviction to be authentic. At times, it will even take some self-denial to preserve true genuineness of soul, because our natural tendency toward selfishness can, often, override authenticity to the point of creating a self-righteous, self-approved, self-promoted state of being, which is never truly authentic in the matters of the heart.

A true authentic being is one who knows herself, the good, the bad and the ugly, and is fully aware of what needs improvement, and is willing to make the, sometimes, hard adjustments to bring the kind of change that will not simply “turn over a new leaf,” but change that will also be magnetic to cause others to desire this same type of transformation to become authentic.

Authenticity comes with a price. Those willing to pay it will reap it’s amazing benefits. Those who refuse will grow stagnant in the mundane, duplicity and hypocrisy of life, until they eventual die a slow, cruel death of fake relationships, dual personalities and a foul, unreliable character.

So, it is up to you, and it up to me.

What will you choose?

I will strive to choose authenticity.

Be Brave. Be Authentic.

Authenticity takes courage and boldness to obtain. This is not because it’s hard to achieve, but rather, because it takes effort and a deliberate decision to be real, not only with others, but with ourselves. It also takes a true appreciation of ourselves, a sort of self-love.

I say, “sort of,” because I’d like to clarify this word I chose. The kind of “self love” I’m talking about isn’t this cultural self love where everyone has to agree with you, appreciate you and understand to for you to be able to “carry on” in your daily routines of living. That kind of attitude has been misrepresented as self love, when all that is is pure SELFISHNESS. No, true self love is when you can appreciate who you are AND who you are not. It is an understanding of your strengths AND your weakness and having the ability to love yourself through all of them. It is even the ability to be able to ask for help when needed, realizing that you’re not made perfect, and there are other people in this world who are better than you, more capable than you and even, sometimes, who aren’t even going to like you.

But you can be ok with that, because you’ve come to grips with who you are and who you are not. You love yourself for it; you’re wearily working on the improvements you need, and you’re okay with those who don’t like who you are, because you’re not living for them anyway! THAT’S authenticity, and that’s “the bravest and most adventurous way to live!”😉💗

Authenticity is Magnetic

Not to steal someone else’s quote, but to requote Daniellelaporte.com, “Authenticity IS magnetic! When you are your true self, people will be drawn to you. Uniqueness is intriguing. Genuiness is both compelling and appealing. Try it. You might just find you like it, and others do, too! 😉

*Note: if your “true self” is just simply a jerk, you may be a bit more repelling than compelling; so, please, do self evaluate. If you’re more of a total jerk than a friendly person, this might not work so well. You might actually have to “Fake it till ya make it, baby!” 😉😂

Authenticity is Attractive

Have you met someone who acted one way in front of a crowd and was totally different behind the scenes? I’ve heard and read this a lot about certain actors in Hollywood and various TV celebrities. They might be amazing actors on the screen, full of love, class and debonair, but get them out of the spotlights, and they are complete jerks!

It’s a lot like this iceberg above. It looks small, unimposing and practically a tiny island unto itself. Yet, the underside is dangerous, imposing and all together vicious to any ships that may sail within its grasp. There are plenty of stories to be found of heartbreak and tragedy when even the largest of vessels have encountered these mammoths of the frozen world.

When you are not authentic, you can leave a path of destruction and death behind. Authenticity can be quirky, against the mainstream or status quo, and definitely not trendy or cliquish. Yet, authenticity is the most attractive thing you can wear, because even if you are different, your honesty of self is refreshing and a thing to comfort to all who meet you.

Authenticity draws people to want more. Uniqueness causes people to take a second look. Genuineness pulls people close like the warmth of a fire.

Be your authentic self. Embrace your uniqueness. Be genuine. Don’t paint a mask for anyone, because when you do, one day, you’ll be caught in a thunderstorm, and everything you’ve painted will be washed away. Then, no one will even recognize you for the reality of who you’ve become.

Love Me Challenge #5

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Dear Younger Me,

When you pick up this letter to read, depending upon your age, you may be a little girl full of so many hopes and dreams, it’s hard to see anything beyond the daydreams. You may be a young teen, so confused in the chaos and so hurting there in the silence that you think no one is listening or even cares. You may be a young lady who is desperately trying to find her own way in love, life and desires that you hesitate to slow down and listen too much to someone who seems a little beyond all the excitement of the present. You may even be a newlywed or young mother just trying to live up to all your personal expectations and those perceived expectations of others, never believing you could come close to meeting them.

Wherever you are when you receive this letter, my prayer is you will listen and listen big to these three words and sentences: YOU ARE ENOUGH, YOU ARE NOT TOO MUCH, and GOD LOVES YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN EVER IMAGINE!! If you can somehow bury these words deep within your soul and truly grasp the depth of their meaning, you will not struggle with the feelings of inadequacy, inferiority and insignificance that you would otherwise. If you can somehow rise above your own fears and doubts and pick up your sword of the Spirit and slash those accusing words of your enemy and fight this good fight of faith, you will not lose your courageous, warrior-like stance he so desperately desires to destroy.

Learn now to lean heavily on God’s Word for your confidence in this life. Learn now to trust Him above all else and above everyone else in this life. Learn now that life may not always end up the way you thought it would, or even as you believed it should, but with God by your side, it will turn out exactly as He knew it would and exactly as He has equipped you to live through it!

So, stand up tall and fight like a girl! God is with you! He always has been, and He always will be! He will carry you through every storm you will face. He will cover you as every lighting bolt flashes, and He will guide you right through into the sunshine. He will bring you beauty for ashes and oil for mourning. He will bring you laughter for the tears and a beautiful joy in the morning. Always be real and authentic, never seeking the approval of man above the approval of the One who gave His life for you and never ever allow the persuasion of friends or the deep desire to belong to draw you away from whom He has called you to be.

He will provide for you all your heart’s desire, and one day, as you learn to trust Him with your whole heart, He will place a man at your side who loves Him above all else (yes, even above you, little one), and because of this love that He has for His Heavenly Father, he will fall in love with you more and more everyday. This man will treat you like a queen, and you will often wonder what in the world you ever did to deserve such a wonderful life. Always remember to return the loving kindness…treat him like the king that he is. Speak to that king within and always help him pursue his dreams, even when they seem way out of the ordinary. God created him in His image as He did you. He created you for each other to make each of you better than you ever would have been alone. You will balance each other in your polar-opposite tendencies, and you will create a beautiful tapestry of passion, purpose and pursuit of His promises to display His unconditional love for others to see.

Oh, and one more thing, when you are blessed with those two wonderfully, energetic, full-of-life little boys, remember the strong independence of one and the strong demand of your love from the other both mean the very same thing: they desperately need your love and guidance to become the men God has destined them both to be. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be real. You don’t have to “have all your ducks in a row,” you just have to love big and always be a mom full of integrity, grace and authenticity. They will always be very much like their daddy, anyway, and be able to see the truth of a person’s character; so, no need for anything less than the genuine “you.” 😉 Cherish every moment you have with them, because one day way too soon, you will turn around and realize they are about to be living lives of their own. Don’t hold on too tightly but never let go too easily, and always, always, always point them in the way of the cross. For He must become their ultimate goal and one true guide.

You can do this thing! I have faith in you! There will be many ups and downs, but this one thing remains true, your favorite Scripture: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” When you trust in Him, He leads, He guides and from your humble life, He ultimately gets all the glory that is due His marvelous name! 🙂 Keep being the beautiful, God given gift that you are to the world around you! He created you for His specific purpose, now go out and be YOU, Mia!  😉 ❤

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My rendition:

Live fully        Laugh deeply      Love freely