Authenticity. Do your itching ears want it?
Well, I've been gone from the blogging sphere for quite a while now.
I feel like I've lost touch with this realm and, ultimately, with what I was so striving for--to use this format as a means of expressing what I've searched for and learned through reading, thinking, researching, talking, and then writing it all down...all to the glory of God. This is also my place to put into words all of those little, and not so little, thoughts that go running through my mind.
Today was the last day of school. I cried. Twice. I've LOVED this group of kids, and I get very emotional when I'm reminded that I won't get to see their sweet faces every day. Our class was the perfect size and the perfect mixture of personalities and birth-orders. I'm SO thankful for that group. I'll get to see them at the skating party tomorrow, and I'm extra thankful for that opportunity.
It's 57 days until our wedding. Time has gone by so quickly, but I knew that it would. We're ready, but a few things still need to fall into place. And I'm trusting that they will.
A few weeks ago the fiance and I had an intense conversation surrounding the topic of authenticity. Of realness. Of being genuine.
I long to be real in relationships. In any relationship. With the fiance. With friends (both old and new). With family. But it's difficult. I'm a people-pleaser. I don't want to hurt the feelings of those I'm in contact with. I don't want them to be upset with me. I want them to like me. I. I. I. Anyone else notice a pattern?
Hello?! What I need to realize is that those relationships are not centered around me. Certainly, in any relationship, both parties' needs should be met in order for the relationship to grow and flourish, but one single person is never and should never be the main focus. Therefore, just because something I might say in an effort to help and speak truth might ruffle the feathers of the one I'm speaking to, it doesn't mean that I stop speaking truth and being helpful.
But, Joy, you might say, we're called to accept others. Flaws and all.
And you're right, dear reader, we are called to accept others.
"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." Romans 15:7
We are not called, however, to lie to them or bury the truth just under the surface of our conversations. Sometimes, truth stings. Sometimes, it hurts to have those dearest to us point out our sins and transgressions. I know what it's like. It's not pretty. There's usually an ugly-cry that accompanies it.
God's Word is very clear on the importance of relationships.
Yes, we're supposed to accept and uplift those we're in relationship with. And yes, we're suppose to comfort and
"be devoted to one another in brotherly love. [Honoring] one another above [ourselves]." Romans 12:3.
We are to offer wise counsel, and we are to seek it in return. We are told in Colossians 4:6 to let our
"...conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that [we] may know how to answer everyone." Oooo, isn't "seasoned with salt" such a rich phrase?!
In doing all of those things, we must also speak truth. Honesty. Accuracy. Authenticity.
**haha...I just heard (in my head of course) Robin Williams's voice in Aladdin saying, "Just beeee yourself."**
God calls us to a life of integrity and authenticity.
We are both authentic and wise when we,
"Let the word of Christ dwell in [us] richly as [we] teach and admonish one another with all wisdom..." Colossians 4:5.
We are blessed and healed when we,
"...confess [our] sins to each other and pray for each other so that [we] may be healed" because "the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5:20.
Not only are we to "preach the Word," but we are to
"be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth..." 2 Timothy 4:2-4 (Bolding my own.)
Isn't that what we do? We turn our "itching ears" toward those who will tell us what we want to hear, and we call those spouting untruths "wise." But, Leviticus 19:11 says,
"Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another."
Sometimes, *gasp* we want to be deceived. We want to be told that it's perfectly all right to spend $100 on a dress. "Oh, you'll wear it lots of times," we want those wise ones to say. We want to be told that we were just in how we treated that other person. "He was so unkind to you. He deserved your witty (hateful) comeback," we hope those wise ones will respond when we express (partial) remorse for our behavior.
But being real, being authentic, isn't all about speaking truth when it's necessary. It's about being a friend, a real friend. One who listens well, responds wisely, and comforts freely.
This post was for me. I needed to write it. I needed to read it. Now, I need to live it. I need to be authentic with those around me. I need to listen to, respond to, comfort, accept, admonish, confess to, correct, and be devoted to those God has placed in my life at this moment in time. I'm called to be a friend. I hope those whom I call friends will do the same.
Because, I don't want my "itching ears" to find relief in lies. I want them to find solace (and maybe a little discomfort) in the words of truth-speakers.
I want authenticity.