Let's be real for a moment, vulnerability is tough! It took years to be secure in my own skin. Over the years, character traits such as "hyper", "silly", "loud" and "giggly" followed me everywhere.
As time went by, questions began popping up in my head, "Will my idiosyncrasies draw me away from potential clients and employers?"
Answering my own question, I began "simmering down" for the world.
And it was TERRIBLE!
Eventually I realized, I did not adopt these characteristics, they were knitted into my being. I did not have to try and be humorous, happy or spontaneous, God created me this way. He created me to be vibrant and quirky for a reason. Why? Because He knew the ministry He designed for me revolved around making people smile.
So why on earth did I want to change such things?
Because my worldly eyes were super-focused on what others were doing. Boy, was that disastrous! Thankfully God gave me three secrets to make becoming my authentic self, less intimidating.
Being Authentic is Like Steering a Boat.
In theory, steering a boat is easy, all you do is turn the wheel and go.
In actuality, once you get in the open water, it's easier said than done. In fact, if you are trying to navigate to the right, you need to turn the helm (or wheel) to the left and vice versa.
Being authentic is like steering a boat. You must be focused on your direction and navigate in the direction you want to go. You cannot look at the boat in front of you, mimic their every move and expect to end up in the same direction.
Thankfully, being your authentic self is easier than trying to be someone else. Trying to emulate another person can be utterly exhausting, especially if it becomes your main focal point.
God is a jealous God. He does not condone or appreciate being second in our lives. When we choose a job, title or person over Him, we have forced our Heavenly Father to lose His grip on our lives.
It is then when we to cry out to God wondering why we have ended up in the wilderness instead of the Jordan.
Let's meditate on God's words in Psalm 139: 13-14:
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
God has already planned out each and every one of our lives. He has already equipped us with all of our needs to be successful in His eyes. Being our authentic self does not need to be difficult, we just must surrender.
Get Out of the Boat
Being authentic and vulnerable takes courage. As much as we try and convince ourselves we want to be different, most of us really do not want that much responsibility.
Why? Because what if we mess up? Then everyone will know.
What if we fail? Everyone will judge us.
So instead, we gravitate toward people we admire and sometimes unintentionally parrot everything they are doing.
Please do not get me wrong, emulating someone you respect is different than copying their every move.
Yes, I urge you to learn from people and their experiences. In fact, ask those who you admire, if they would mentor you. Your honest and candid vulnerability creates a safe space for you to grow and glean from your mentor's wisdom.
Joshua 1:9 says,
Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and of good courage;
do not be afraid, nor be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Don't be afraid to step out of the boat, it's where all the exciting stuff lies!
You're Not Steering the Helm
When you have decided to courageously relinquish the wheel by becoming your authentic self, the last thing we must realize is, we were not ever alone in the first place.
You did not think of the "crazy, out of the box idea." God did.
You did not come up with this "extravagant and monumental thought." God did.
You were not the one who came up with the new direction or path. GOD DID.
We are merely the willing vessel. Yes my dear, you ARE the boat. You're not the wheel or the wind. You are the boat God decided to sail into the wind and the waves.
He chose you. You don't have to come up with the perfect solution, ideal profession or mind-blowing sermon. All you have to do is say, "Yes, Lord." when He asks you to do something.
Isaiah 41:10 says,
Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Are you quiet and solemn by nature? Fantastic!
Are you a Gucci and gold kind of gal? Work it!
Are you a girl who sips on iced tea and fishes all day? Come over, I'm always looking for more friends!
Whatever God has put into your heart, do THAT!
Renounce trying to be someone you are not. You are equipped with every good thing. If you believe you are lacking, ask God for more!
ASK. SEEK. KNOCK.
Sailing authentically through uncharted waters can be scary, overwhelming or disheartening.
But when you realize you are not doing it alone and you decide not to do it for your own glory, the journey itself becomes an adventure!