Image via DesignLoveFest

I woke up one Sunday morning feeling pretty down. I was going through some difficult stuff and today was just one of those hard days. I couldn’t really face talking to people, let alone going to church. All I wanted to do was have a quiet morning, hibernating at home. However I knew from experience that when things are tough, there is no better place for me to be than among people who love God and love each other. So I pulled myself together and forced myself to go.

As I walked in, I was greeted by friends who asked “How are you? How’s your week been?” “Yeah, good, thanks,” I lied. “How are you?” I quickly deflected their questions, did the token small talk, and went to grab a seat where I could be left in peace. It didn’t last long. Someone come up to me and said, “Hey, so, how are you really? I noticed you were a bit quiet when you came in…”

I knew at this point I had a choice. I could lie again and say I was fine. Or I could be honest and real about what I was struggling with. That was a scary decision to make: to be honest would mean making myself vulnerable. What would they think of me? What if I cry in front of everyone? It would be so much easier to pretend everything is ok, and they would just leave me alone. But at the same time I knew that being left alone was the last thing I needed. So in that moment I made the hard call to tell the truth. I decided to open myself up to them and to the emotions I was feeling, and to the help that they had to offer. “Actually, to be honest, it’s been a bit of a difficult week,” I started shakily.

Being real and honest with each other is hard. It takes courage. So when I think about this year’s focus on authenticity, that’s what I think about – courage. It takes courage to be open, honest, real with each other.

I came across the wallpaper image (above) for my desktop the other day, so I’m keeping it there as a reminder to keep having the courage to be real.

Yes, it’s risky; yes, it’s scary; but I have found that there’s no better way through life than being authentic with one another.

These are just some very brief thoughts on this huge topic, and I’m looking forward to delving more into this together at the Grace Collective this year. What comes to mind when you think about ‘authenticity’?

 – Charlie

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