Many desire to live authentic lives but struggle to know what that actually means. A life of authenticity is one lived true to yourself, without pretense, and in perfect alignment with who you were created to be. Sounds simple, right? It should be, but I’m confident you’d agree that it is anything but easy. To tackle this problem, we must approach it from the inside out. Working from the outside in would only breed superficiality, which is in direct conflict with living an authentic life. It all begins within, and this is where we will start.
As a follower of Jesus, our core must be centered on Him. If Jesus isn’t foremost in our minds every second of every minute of every hour of every day, we will never find lasting peace and fulfillment. We will have our moments, to be sure, but they will be stitched together by experiences of depression, disdain, and disillusionment. Our identity is in Christ, and when we focus on anything other than Him, we are now wandering through life pretending to be someone we are not. God created us in His image, called us His sons and daughters, and placed His very Spirit within us. We are uniquely and wholly God’s creation. Our identity cannot be found outside of Him. If we get this part wrong, we can never live a truly authentic life.
Moving outward from our core we find our passions and abilities. These don’t have to be extraordinary and world changing, but they will be uniquely yours. I would also argue that while you may not see your gifts as life altering, they certainly are for you. There are few joys as sweet as indulging in your passions. Hours fly by as if they were merely minutes and the culmination of your work is a soul deep satisfaction that cannot be realized by any other means. Sadly, so many hide their gifts and keep their talents locked away and hidden from the world. Dare to dream again; dare to loose your gifts and put them on display for all to see. God has placed within you a unique combination of talents and passions which He fully intends for you to share with the world. He works through your gifts to bring glory to His name. Living authentically means sharing your uniqueness with others.
At the final level of authenticity are those elements with which we interact daily but may not be directly related to our passions. This might include our family and relationships, our job, or less than glamorous tasks like grocery shopping or cleaning the house. How we behave in the areas of life not directly related to our core or our gifts is the final test of authenticity. Is the person the store clerks see the same as the person we profess to be at our core? Do we put our passions on display for our friends and family, or do we keep those hidden away for ourselves? If we wear masks or put up walls of protection to shield us from those outside, we are not being true to who we are. Our authenticity is shattered.
Living an authentic life means being true to the person God created you to be. He must be the center and focus of everything you do. We manifest this by using the unique passions and gifts He has given us to further His mission on earth. Our interactions with those around us should be strengthened through the use of our gifts which will point them to Jesus Christ. As we devote ourselves to doing the work He has given us to do for His glory, we will draw others to Him and fulfill our purpose. This is what it means to live an authentic life.