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The Art of Authenticity

Most of us want to have influence. We want to have influence at work, with our group of friends and in our families. When I think of influence, I think of a dear friend of mine and a conversation that we had many years ago. I had been watching her (not in a creepy stalker way but in a WOW are you for real kind of way) and I had developed a deep respect for her. I saw how she lived out her faith and how she cared for and interacted with people and I was impressed. I saw her vulnerability and authenticity and how people responded to her because of those traits. I asked her if we could get together for coffee and when we did I stumbled all over myself to say what I meant and, ended up blurting out, "I don't know why you're different, but I want what you have. I want to be like you."

She looked at me with surprise and asked what I meant. I told her that I had been watching her, that I respected her and that I saw something different in her than I saw in other Christians and I wanted whatever it was that she had. This conversation started a multiple year discipleship process that changed my life. We moved away and don't get to visit very often anymore but I think of her frequently and she still has tremendous influence in my life. How is it possible that after all these years she still has influence with me? I can think of one word that sums it up... AUTHENTICITY. According to the Merriam- Webster dictionary authenticity is defined as "worthy of acceptance or based on fact, true to one's own personality, spirit, or character." Authenticity is brave. Authenticity is honest. Authenticity is appropriately vulnerable. Authenticity allows us to form relationships based on the truth of who someone is. My friend still has influence with me because I know that I can trust what she says. I believe her because she lives her life " true to her own personality, spirit, and character."