The Real You

By AbbyA

Authenticity is all about living in uncertainty.  JMathis  Think about it.  The very moment you decide to wear the inside on the outside.  Such as, speak a word of encouragement to someone you don’t know that well by using your own embarrassing past to make the point.  Such as, revealing you also sometimes feel isolated, alone and different.  Such as, admitting that you rely more on chocolate than God.  Such as . . .  Think about what you are hiding because it reveals too much about the real you.  That is the such as that I am talking about.

The very moment you open your mouth to share the such as.  At the very moment, you decide to go-out-on-limb, The Map pauses the fire in your gut and flashes for you a nice, clean path from A to Z.  That is, from the school pick up line, directly to your car.  That is, pass her quickly on the way to office kitchen because you are too afraid to mention to her that you too had a recent miscarriage.  That is, run like hell from the chance to wear your heart on your sleeve . . . even if to serve a greater purpose.

In the pause between running like hell and being you, The Map gives you mileage comparisons between the go-out-on-limb option and status quo.  You get construction warnings informing you of the upcoming detours if you recalculate off The Map.  You get news of the potential loss of satellite if you tread too far into the unknown.  In the pause, you only have a moment to turn off the GPS and be in the moment.  You only have a moment because once that moment passes, you have lost your ability to be authentic in that place, to that person, to yourself and to God.

JMathis, Bindu and I have seen and touched the face of authentic.  We’ve seen between this trinity of friends that – – all at the same time – – one can be unemployed, job-searching, staying up all night with a sick child, depressed, moving away, triumphant with healing of a marriage, missing her dog, finding a job, finding herself.  All at the same time.  Yes, this is the such as that I am talking about.  Yes, this is the moment I am talking about.  All at the same time.  Three girls seeing that life is made to be authentic whether we embrace living in the moment, or not.

You only have a moment to be authentic before the opportunity passes.  You only have a moment to trash The Map no matter how practical, how appealing, how promising or how smooth the grass feels when you walk the path of The Map.  If you will cross over from time lines to relationships, from handshakes to sharing handkerchiefs and from nicety to authenticity.  Something may happen.  And it looks like the body of Christ.

It looks like revealing just enough of the real you.  So that she can be just enough of the real her.  So that both of you can live out your authenticity in Him.  Nothing could be simpler.  Nothing can be more promising.  Or more uncertain.  Or more powerful.  Than being the real you.

The Uncertainty of The Map

By JMathis

Authenticity is all about living in uncertainty.

Unfortunately, uncertainty does not sit well with those of us who love The Map.

We love the elegance of The Map. Its cool, calm confidence reassures, calms and guides.

Veer left? No, the college degree is on the right, it says. Head over the hill? No, grad school is just down the slope and through the red tunnel, it says. Cross through the forest? No, the safe career path is around the bend, next to the stream, it says.

Keep listening to The Map and you’re guaranteed a path of financial security, it says.

The Map pulsates and brims with knowledge. Its warm light is comforting.

Who are we to question The Map?

And, for awhile, we don’t question The Map. It navigates on cruise control, pulling and prodding us only with the slightest of hand. It never leads us astray, never demands and is never wrong.

Until we reach its edges.

The four corners of The Map violently jump out of nowhere and thrust their hard lines into our faces. Countless paper cuts lash through our hearts, starting off as minor nicks, but soon fester into gaping wounds.

Why didn’t anyone tell us that at some point The Map comes to an end?

How did The Map stop being such a sure thing?

When did The Map stop giving us all of the answers?

Maybe when we started forgetting that Jesus is The Way, The Truth, The Life?

The only Way. The only Truth. The only Life that counts.

Undoubtedly, Jesus is the harder path. Jesus is the rockier path. Jesus is the path without The Map.

Jesus is the path we avoid when we clutch furiously to the lines of The Map.

Jesus is the path we purposefully overlook when we make a beeline towards the safety of The Map.

But, Jesus is the path you won’t find on The Map.

In fact, Jesus is about uncertainty.

Uncertainty about where you are going, uncertainty about how you will be accepted by others, and uncertainty about what direction your life should take.

Uncertainty to the world means Scary. Spooky. Dangerous.

Uncertainty with Jesus means Trust. Faith. Deliverance.

Authenticity is all about living in uncertainty.

Authenticity is about discarding The Map and Leaping Before You Look.

Are you ready to surrender?

Are you ready to let go?

Are you ready for Jesus?