Authenticity is the quality of being genuine. Sit with that for a minute. When is the last time you remember being genuine?

Real. Vulnerable. Actual. Bona fide. True.

Its been a while for me. A LONG while. Oh, I can think of a couple times that I gave the appearance of authenticity, but I was very calculated in what I really put out there. Just enough to seem real, but still enough hidden that I didn’t scare the mess out of someone.

Why is authenticity so scary?

I was talking to someone once about how I wanted so badly to be vulnerable and authentic in this life, and their response was, ” You have to be careful with that, people don’t really want you to be authentic, they just want the appearance of authenticity.” I was so dejected by that statement, but you know, it is so true. We really do want the appearance of being real and genuine, just not the mess of it all.

We want to hear that you are struggling too, but we don’t want to know what with. Because that might be too far and we can’t rewind it once it’s said. We ask how you are, but we don’t really want to know the struggles you have faced this week…we didn’t ask for all that. And when someone answers honestly to that passing question, we are thrown. Especially when they are REALLY honest.  We either leave completely weirded out, with the thought that we will be careful to ever ask that person again, or we leave feeling relieved that we aren’t the only one having a tough time.

TRUTH – I am initially weirded out when someone is completely vulnerable and honest.  It doesn’t feel right.  It feels foreign and wrong.  But after a few minutes of seeing them reach up and slide the mask off, all I see is beauty. Beauty in the face that has been hiding. The true face of the hurting, confused, pained, happy, joyous, or passionate. I have seen quite a few. And then I feel such a connection with that person. They have let me see their true selves, maybe they wouldn’t mind seeing me for the mess I am. Vulnerability and authenticity produces connection.

People long for authenticity. At least that is my belief. But have one person stand up in church and ask for prayer for their addiction and they might as well be on fire we move away from them so fast. It’s too much. The sin is too real. It exposes the shame in ourselves and hits our hidden places. So we whisper to others and act appalled. But what would it be like if we ran to them the way the Father does? Arms outreached, with even a “me too” spoken. Oh, I long for that.

So, here is my authenticity.  I am Amanda Marie Rager. I struggle with pride, sensitivity, lust, anger, control, and people pleasing. Those are my top six struggles. No fluff, just being real. No editing, there it is. I have been on a 18 month journey to find out those top six and I can now call them for what they are. They are each a part of Amanda. They are definitely not my prettiest parts, but they are there none the less. And I find God in each one, redeeming and using them for His glory.

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