They are driven by fear, shame, guilt, and regret. They don't see the value in authenticity. They believe they'll get more out of life by being someone who they're not; fake. They frown upon people who are transparent. Real women are everything they are not: authentic.
Society rewards those who live behind a mask. Who look like they have it altogether. Who are good at faking fine. Who are a counterfeit.
Being secretive seems to be the most fun. Being real causes hurt, loss of relationships, humiliation, and more. It can lead to insecurities. Shame. Disgrace. Forsaken. Worthlessness. Abandoned.
There's a legitimate fear of being disliked. Of not being heard. Of being misunderstood. Of not being accepted.
Even as adults, women fear not fitting in. Being transparent means exposing their vulnerabilities. Their messy places. In some cases, they are too paralyzed in fear to be real. Therefore, they pursue a masquerade of faking fine.
Please tell me I'm not alone. That I'm not the only one tired of this facade. That being an impostor is deceptive. And I won't do it.
God never intended for you to live this way. I challenge you to remove your false mask. I invite you to join me on a sacred journey to bravely be your authentic self.
Let's be real. Let's be honest. Let's be vulnerable. Let's be unashamed. Let's stop comparing ourselves. Let's celebrate our unique selves. Let's encourage one another as we lift each other up. Let's drown out those voices that say we're not good enough.
Let's stop expecting everyone to be the same. The Lord never intended us to become a cookie cutter mold. Let's not blame or shame anyone for who God designed them to be. Let's stop criticizing ourselves. Let's accept compliments. And let's remind ourselves that we are beautifully, wonderfully made.
It's that time of year when we become more critical at the thought of baring our insecurities for the world to see. At the beach. At the gym. On New Year's Eve. At high school reunions.
I challenge you to wear your little black dress. Even if the size isn't what you hoped for. To give yourself permission to dress up and show up without worrying about your shape or size.
Let's be confident. Let's look beyond our outer selves. Let's know that what's on the inside is what matters most. Our character. Our heart. Our soul. Our special gifts. Our personality. Our dreams. Our creativity. Our unique way of expressing ourselves through art, music, writing, cooking, and being in nature.
Let's not care about what others say or think. Let's not focus on our faults or weaknesses. Let's not miss out on anything because of how we see ourselves or how we see others.
Can we give ourselves permission to be real? Can we do this together? Can we be courageous? Can we join hand in hand as we bare our souls?
Let's be who God made us to be. Let's not stress about what we've done. Or haven't done. Or how successful we are or aren't, according to the world's crazy standards.
Let's not beat ourselves up because we're not the weight we'd like to be. Let's move beyond the superficial. Let's stop the pretense. Let's be real. Because being fake is exhausting.
Let's love this life we've been given no matter where we're at. In the spiritual desert. Along our wilderness journey. In the midst of our mess. Let's love one another for who we are on the inside. Let's love and nurture ourselves. Let's do this together so that no one feels alone.
When we live our authentic life, we can thrive. When we're authentic, we author our own lives, our own music, and our own art. We blossom. We sing. We dance. We write. We come alive. We're energized!
When we're authentic on our sacred and meaningful path, we step into our true selves. We deeply connect to the spiritual person who we are inside. The author, Ann Voskamp, wrote something awesome on her blog. She posted, "I have felt it—how no one wants anything of anyone but to be honest and real and to trust enough to take off the mask.”
Authenticity is transparency. It's admission of failure. It's the rejection of pretense and hypocrisy. It's truth-telling about all areas of our lives.
We serve a God who is always truthful. He never lies. He never changes. In fact, He has defeated the Father of Lies; Satan.
Being authentic means that God and His Word define what is real. Eventually, our true colors are seen. Others catch on to the shenanigans. They discover who we are; fake or real. God loves us too much to allow the charade to continue.
When we choose to be real, we no longer need to stress over trying to be someone we're not. Don't let the fear of what others think hold you back from being authentic. If they ridicule or reject you, they have no business being a part of your life. Surround yourself around those who will appreciate, respect, and encourage you to be who you truly are.
Today, I invite you to accept the “real” challenge. To release the burden of living up to the world's distorted perceptions. Trust that you are the apple of God's eyes. Courageously, step into your authentic self. Empower yourself by freely walking toward the beautiful, real woman you were created to be.