Tonight I am watching the Chicago Cubs play the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field in Chicago. It is “authentic Cub fan night” and you are invited to send in your picture to be used later in the evening on the big screen. That is if you show yourself to be an authentic fan!

Saturday evening we were at a wedding reception for a really special couple and I chatted with some close friends about what it means to be authentic in community.

Tonight I read a blogger I follow and she talked about what it means to be authentic in her life.

All day I have been pondering what I want to write tonight. I kept swirling around the same ideas – all are off shoots of AUTHENTICITY!

To be authentic is to be true to your own nature or beliefs, true to yourself and who you are. It is knowing yourself and then representing what you know in a truthful and open manner.

I have not always been authentic. There have been times when I was hesitant to share my feelings for fear they would not be reciprocated. There have been times when I waited to share an opinion on a topic until I ascertained what others were thinking. And there have been times when I fell silent rather than speaking up when I perceived I would be standing alone on an issue.

Perhaps that is why I find Jesus so attractive. He was authentic to the core. He didn’t wait for anyone to give him their approval (John 2:24) And when they did, he didn’t trust it anyway. (John 4:41) He also knew exactly why he was here and he never wavered! (John 12:49-50) Guided by the knowledge that his purpose was to glorify his Father, Jesus said and did whatever his Father told him to do. Wow! To live with that kind of confidence is my dream!

But too often I act like many of the people who encountered Jesus and believed but lived in constant fear of being exposed. (John 12:42-43) My dream is to live boldly, but it’s so easy to be distracted by the praise of humans.

But more and more I grow immune to what others might think or say. I find myself less concerned with what is “right” and more focused on what is loving. I worry less, smile more and enjoy the twists of life.

Today as I mowed my lawn – you know, so many great ideas are birthed during a lawn mowing session – I pondered what I wanted to be true of me in this season of life. How do I want to be more authentic? Two traits came to mind. I want to continue to develop as a parent to adult children. I want to know how to do that well. We never stop being parents, but our tactics and responsibilities change. I want to be always learning in that regard.

And I want to grow as an authentic listener. I am a good talker and I often have great things to say. But I want to listen in such a way that others go away feeling valued, understood and heard.

John 13:3 says this: “Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table…” Jesus lived confidently from a place of knowing. That is authenticity.

Are you confident in your purpose? In what ways do you need to grow in authenticity? Who is already present in your life to help you take next steps?

Until next time…

May the Lord bless you and protect you.

May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.

May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

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