Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Authenticity—An Invitation to Get Real

I’m not exactly sure how it began, but somewhere along the road, my internal wiring got a little messed up. Somehow, I learned that it was better to agree and go with the flow than to challenge and have a strong opinion of my own. I figured out that giving the "right" answer that would earn the approval of others worked better for me than giving my answer, regardless of the consequences. I guess life just felt easier and hurt less that way. Fewer bumps in the road. Smoother sailing.


In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, just turn on ABC and watch an episode of The Bachelor. Dozens of girls competing for the heart of one gorgeous guy. Many of them fall into the approval trap. “Maybe if I say and do everything that he would want to hear and see, I will win him.” Excuse me while I TOSS MY COOKIES!

There is no pattern I’ve had a harder time overcoming in this life than my search for approval in my relationships. Thank the Good Lord for the book The Search for Significance. It was a life-changer—that’s for sure. The chapter entitled “Approval Addict” helped me to see that I had my wires crossed. It helped me to see that my identity is in Christ alone, and His opinion of me is the only one that matters. He already accepts and loves me just as I am, and that is enough. That reality gives me so much freedom to just be me. I am already approved and loved, so I don’t have to alter my behavior to earn that approval from someone else.

Thinking about it, my closest friends are not spineless people who do whatever I want them to do. They are full, intelligent, funny people with opinions of their own and keen senses of humor that were not formed by going with the flow of everyone around them. The people I choose to keep close are loving life-forces to be reckoned with!

This Sunday at church, my pastor was preaching from Revelation 3:14-21. In it, God Himself is speaking to the church at Laodicea. He is frustrated because the church is basically giving him lip-service, but blowing Him off. “These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (v. 14-16) In the original text, the term “to spit you out of my mouth” is more like, “to SPEW” or “to THROW UP”. Interestingly enough, this letter is not written to unbelieving people. It is written to believers! God is not interested in spineless appeasers giving lip-service to Him, just going through the motions in a loveless, passionless way. He wants us to deal with Him in a real way, as honest and real people! God Himself is giving us believers an invitation to authenticity. An invitation to live genuinely—to tell Him just what we think about Him and to wrestle it out with Him. An invitation to get real!

Why not take Him up on His offer?

No comments: