How “Real” Do You Want Me to Be?

Today, I am revisiting some of my favorite recurring thoughts. These thoughts were actually the subject of my first two blog posts (Who Are We?, More on the Subject of Authenticity).

I think all the time how I wish we all were more authentic with one another. I wish we could take off our masks and stop pretending to have it all together. I wish we could be more “real” on a wider scale than just the few (if any) super-close friends that we save our “real” selves for. And I wish we could do all of that without fear of what other people think about us; without fear of judgment.

But instead I think on some level we are all walking around asking ourselves this question about the people we are with at any given moment, “how “real” do they want me to be?”

  • “Do they really want to know about my struggle with/addiction to (porn/alcohol/spending money/______)?”
  • “Should I tell them about my (depression/mental illness/infidelity/distrust of God/________)?”
  • “What would they think of me if they knew I (had anger issues/hated my husband/wanted to die/sometimes I wish I hadn’t had children/__________)?”

Over the last few months, I have had more opportunities to be “real” with more people. It’s scary, but it is also very freeing to not feel like I have to hide certain aspects of who I am. And by sharing those parts of me that are less than pleasant or just plain scary to share because of the fear of how I will be viewed once people know that about me, it helps me own my stuff and own how that stuff affects my life. But it also helps me give that stuff over to God, because when there are areas of our lives that need work, but we aren’t willing to own it, we won’t be willing to ask for help to fix it.

Lest any of you start thinking that I have some deep, dark secrets that you aren’t privy to, I am mainly talking about my struggle with depression and the fact that earlier this year it got to a point that I had to not only acknowledge it, but do something about it. With God’s help, I did and am doing that, and since then I have began to open up to more and more people about it. And what I am finding is that I am not alone. There are many other people who are struggling with the same issue. (Whew, I’m not the only one!) But up until that point, I fell into the same trap we all fall into, the one that says we have to “keep up appearances.” And you know what that did? Made me feel even more isolated and afraid to talk about it. (I am having a bit of an anxiety attack right now about posting this blog – those same old fears creeping in.)

I say that to say this: we have to be real with one another, and we have to give others permission to be who they are when they are with us. How else will we find the healing we need? How else will we show the grace of God to one another? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to hang out with people who always have it all together, because I don’t, and I don’t like to feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t have it all together. How about you?

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