Who Is the Real Authentic You?

By Marcy Barthelette

Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.

Mike Robbins, in the book by the same title

What do you see when you look into a mirror? In my case, it’s an ever-increasing network of wrinkles to go along with a very gray head of hair. Happily, I still have most of mine. That’s one of the beautiful parts of being a woman. And what’s with that, anyway. Women are supposed to be the worriers, yet they don’t lose hair as men do. But maybe worrying only causes the gray part. I’m not sure, but I do know that my face and my body certainly aren’t what they once were and, as much as I hate to admit it, sometimes that bothers me a lot. I know I shouldn’t let it, but I’m human and something in my brain constantly tells me that it surely would be nice to be young and wrinkle-free again. Somewhere in my faded past, I recall a young girl with firm and lovely skin, with a body that could run and play all day until I dropped into my bed at night only to prepare myself for another day of the same. I certainly didn’t waste time in front of a mirror concerned about how I appeared to others. I was the tomboy of my neighborhood, always trying to best the boys at every encounter.

Those days are long gone and though I sometimes wish for a return to more carefree times, I know I  can’t reverse the process of aging, at least not yet. Who knows what tomorrow’s medical miracles may reveal. But then I remember that I’m just where God intended me to be at my “tender” age and I know that all is well.

What all of us want are those few authentic relationships—and we’ll trade who we really are for who we think we need to be. Bob Goff

In today’s world, so much focus is on physical perfection. We think we need to be prettier or more handsome, smarter, or more successful. We choose to befriend the most influential people, work in the most sought-after jobs, climbing the social and financial ladders. And to do all that we think we must retain our youthful appearance. We tend to compare ourselves with those around us who seem more successful. Even more so, with those, we see on our screens, who always portray the best in their lives. We don’t often get a glimpse of the real person.

We seek perfection in so many ways, but we can’t escape the realities of aging forever. And why should we? Why are we so captivated with youth and beauty? Why would we want to change what God made in His own image with His own hands? In His eyes, we are all beautiful. Our society has one view of beauty, but God has another. We need to step away from our wants and let God show us His authentic view of us.

God never looked in your mirror & wished He saw someone else. Bob Goff

All this talk of searching for authenticity brings to mind a conversation from a few days ago with my daughter. She was telling me that her daughter had been invited to audition for a special choir at school. Rachel just entered sixth grade and was able to choose an elective course this year. She chose choir and she’s also starting in band. She’s always loved music, and started rocking to contemporary Christian when she was still in diapers. And since then she has developed a pretty good stage presence in school and at her church and is endowed with accurate pitch and nice tonal quality. So it came as no surprise that she received the invitation to do more. Now she’s nervous that she may not make the cut. She’s definitely a worrier. Her mom explained that the invitation carried a realistic expectation that she will be asked to sing with the group, but it may not look exactly as she sees it now.

You see, she’s always seen herself as a leader, but her ability to hold accurate pitch at an early age may make her a good candidate for harmony and in the music world, those who harmonize are not in the spotlight. Sometimes finding your authenticity means making significant changes. Her mom had to make a change in high school, from volleyball to chamber singers, a choice that helped prepare her for the role she now plays in their church praise band. Her beautiful alto voice and perfect pitch harmonize with all the other voices to bring wholeness to the arrangement and beautiful worship fills their sanctuary. Rachel may be called upon to make a similar choice. Maybe because of her ability to sense the intricacies of the composition, she can learn to harmonize with her counterparts to bring beauty to the whole. Perhaps she can learn to develop the authentic musical talent God intended her to share. Maybe she doesn’t need to lead the pack but instead,  be an integral part of it. Will she be willing to search for the authenticity endowed by her creator, wherever it may lie?

Authenticity has power because it is living as the original version of who God created you to be, and that will always be impossible to improve on. Bear Grylls, Soul Fuel

Each of us should embrace our authentic selves; be who we really are and do it today, for we never know what tomorrow may bring. Who we are can become who we were in an instant.

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