Category: Authenticity

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Authenticity: Keep it Real with God [Part II]

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ImageThe man upstairs is how some refer to God, a distant reference to a God who wants to be so close to our hearts! Some of our prayers are so disconnected and robotic “God bless me… Amen.”  All God truly wants is for us to pull down the walls and keep it real with Him. A relationship without intimacy (sharing of personal thoughts and emotions) will be superficial. If we only keep it at a surface level with God, you may not fully experience the deep relationship many of us crave.

If you ever find yourself around a gentleman, and a lady is in his presence he won’t let her carry anything.  I know God as a gentleman. Although I am on stage acting or speaking publicly I am an introvert by nature. I carry a lot of weight internally; God knows this, so He reminds me to let Him carry it (1 Peter 5:7). In order to let Him carry your cares or anxieties you have to trust Him. Vulnerability breeds authenticity.

In life there will be experiences that may consist of joy and excitement, as well as tears and turbulence. Having a relationship with God will help with dealing with both sides of the coin. It won’t be easy but it is well worth it.  God is a gentleman so He won’t force you to have a relationship with Him. On the flip side, He is a romantic so He will woo you! God is the lover of your soul. There are so many things that have hurt us in the past. We have walls built up to protect us from future pain but those same walls are shutting God out. How can He reveal more of His character to you? First, remove the walls that you have built up brick by brick by being honest with God. That means revealing anger, fear, doubts, disappointments, loss, regret and bitterness… laying it all out.

ImageOne of my favorite books in the bible is Psalms. David and the other writers kept it real with God, pouring out their hearts. David expresses true sincerity with every verse; poetic authenticity that gives us a glimpse into his heart for God. I could just imagine David journaling his joys, hurts, depression, despair and frustrations. When you read the Psalms one moment David is saying Praise the Lord sharing his adoration for God the next moment, he is worn out from calling for help (Psalm 69:3) then his soul is down cast (Psalm 42:5), then he is asking God for forgiveness for his sins (Psalm 38). These can all be different seasons in his life but for the most part, it means that he had an authentic relationship with God. God allowed him to share how he really felt about his circumstances and God gives us the same access.

There are only a slim few who know me very well. I may get the question “how are you doing?”  I might respond “I’m ok,”  but only those special people can look past my cheerful disposition and then ask me again “NO REALLY… how are you doing?’’ Depending on who is asking, I really go in-depth and share what is going on. I’m learning that although there may be people who truly care about me, everyone cannot handle or help carry some of my burdens (I will be writing about “safe people” soon). Those that he has placed in my life that can, I am grateful for them <3. The beauty about God is that he can handle all of it! Many of us go to God acting like it’s all good and He’s giving you the side eye like …. No for real… What’s really going on? Although He knows all things, He still wants you to share your heart with Him!

2013 was one of the most painful years that I have gone through. While everyone was excited about 2014, I stepped into a new yearImage without my mommy </3. I was and I am still grieving the loss of my golden star. My whole world shattered. I can’t explain it but I’ve never felt so much pain in my life thus far yet, I have never felt so close to God. Through this season God constantly tugged at my heart, when I had no words to pray or when I couldn’t find the words to write because I was so heartbroken. I soon learned that God is truly close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18), I always felt His presence. As of now some days are better than others. I truly take it one day at a time. I see so much of my mom in me, I miss her like crazy <3.

The best advice that I received was from my cousin and she told me to grieve in the way I chose to grieve, no apologies. Then my mentor told me to go through my experience authentically. I ran with it! Freedom!!! God allowed me to be honest with Him about how I was truly feeling just like Job. Job is another book in the bible that I love. I’ve read Job before, but this time was different, every word pierced my heart like daggers, I felt it! Job expressed his hurts to God authentically, he kept it real. This Christian walk is not only about joy and blessings! No matter how much we love Jesus, we will experience tragedy!  Open up your heart to God through each season of your life.

Start with prayer. Hey, you do what best suits you. Don’t get caught up in tradition so much. Your quiet time with God doesn’t have to be super structured. You create it! Some of the best conversations I have had with friends… we have no agenda. Let your prayers be conversational or if you are more of a writer start a journal.   Granted, there will be many occasions when we come to God for specific needs and requests. If you are hurt, start there. “God I am hurt about…” Sometimes you won’t have any words to say… it’s ok… let the tears fall. He understands that as well. Just be your beautiful self in His presence, He gets you! God will not judge you for not being strong enough…man will. You are not weak because you are vulnerable. It takes great courage to delve into your soul and share yourself, the raw and uncut version. Everybody cannot “hang,” but God can! The experiences that you go through may even cause you to stray away…it happens… come back. Through your pain, He will carry you with His grace.

Vicky S. Joseph

Vicky is vibrant and vivacious and she exudes versatility. With Her sparkling personality she wants to ignite moral change in individuals through creative expressions such as acting, writing, public speaking and poetry.

 

Authenticity: Keep it Real With Yourself [Part I]

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Many people say trust and honesty is the most important thing to keep a relationship thriving! The thought of believing a lie has had many individuals uncertain about dating or establishing a friendship with new people. No new friends we say, out of fear that new people will hurt us. So we start off with conversations like “Keep it real with me,” as a FYI memo so that the individual in question knows what is required of them. That is not an issue; the issue is that what we so desperately crave from others we don’t even give to ourselves… trust and honesty.

Many of us are not honest with ourselves. We repress our feelings, deny our needs and put our desires on the shelf. In order to bedaisies honest with yourself, you must trust yourself. How can you trust someone you barely even know? That’s right, I said it! Many of us do not even know who we are! You look in the mirror everyday and yet your reflection is a stranger.

Some of you have healthy relationships with others yet you may not understand that you also have a relationship with yourself. I remember watching a message by Joyce Meyer and she explained that we are with ourselves 24 hours a day… “You can’t get away from you” she said. You might as well be at peace with yourself.

Mr. Shakespeare said it best: “To thine own self be true!” That is the beauty of being authentic. The definition of authenticity is being true to one’s personality, spirit or character (thanks Webster). Many of us have not been authentic for different reasons. It may have been because of fear of rejection, self-doubt or we may feel misunderstood.

Let’s talk about how to be honest with yourself:

Start with writing!  Writing is my refuge. Once I start writing, I tap into my true feelings, I may not want to go there but the more I carry it, the heavier it becomes. Avoiding feelings doesn’t make them go away. I learned that quickly. When I do write, I am honest and uncut. Find an outlet that will help you tap into your thoughts and your feelings. Sometimes we become so skilled at repressing our thoughts and feelings that we disconnect from ourselves.

Accept how you feel and begin to  heal! Authenticity doesn’t mean, Screenshot_2014-01-03-18-04-27-1sugar-plum, fairy dust and gum drops. Every emotion is not tailored with smiles and bursts of joy. Being authentic can also trigger other emotions like: hurt, fear, pain, disappointment, despair and anger! These emotions may be challenging to deal with. I would not suggest dwelling in those emotions for extended periods of time, but pretending as if “all is well” when it is not, will not make the pain disappear either. Some of these emotions can be buried deep in your soul and you don’t even know it!

Pray without ceasing! Prayer is also a lovely place to be. I have learned being honest with God also helped me to be myself. (I will go deeper into this subject in  Authenticity: “Keep it Real with God” Part II).  Being authentic is connected to vulnerability. It may be difficult for you to articulate your thoughts to others at first, that’s okay, as long as you can identify how you feel about yourself. You must have a sense-of-self beyond who others say you are. Your likes, dislikes, values, preferences, opinions and experiences are all important because they are tied into who you are today.

Identify your truths in each realm: self, spirituality, love, career and family

What are your needs, wants, and desires?

What are you afraid of?

What are your core values?

What are your strengths?

What are your vices/weaknesses?

How can you grow?

What are you going to do to change?

Answer these questions privately, and without judgment of yourself. The answers to these questions may change tomorrow, but you have to evaluate yourself. When you start being honest with yourself… freedom will come. You are who you are, that is enough.

When you want to beat yourself up remember:

Grace Card: All in all accept where you are today and where you have been. You are in the human experience and you are becoming! One of my mentors always tells me when I am hard on myself “Progress not Perfection.”

Comment Below:

Why do you think it is difficult for people to be honest with themselves? What do you think holds them back? How are you honest with yourself?