Guest Post: Amy Speck is the Dean of Women at the Word of Life Bible Institute Canada. She in she is passionate about discipleship and seeing women of all ages fall in love with God and His Word. She will also be speaking at our Mother Daughter retreat April 15-17.
To learn more or register, visit http://camps.wol.org/motherdaughter/
Sometimes, it feels like we live in a picture perfect world. Advertising shows us beautiful models, luxury goods and must-have products. Annual Christmas cards portray happy, perfectly groomed families with their list of accomplishments. We Instagram our delicious meals, our cutest outfits, our best hair days, and the days we have our quiet time with that delicious latte at that hip coffee shop.
But what about the other 325 days where our lives and our relationships aren’t “post-worthy”? Those days that we struggle in our relationship with God, those days we wrestle with our worth and value, those days we are tempted to compare ourselves and our lives with others.
We all long for authenticity, or “real-ness”, in our relationships, but we live in a world that portrays anything but authenticity in our daily lives, where we only portray what we want others to see and believe about us. And while this illusion can be great for getting “likes” and “shares”, it leaves our relationships lacking. Lacking connection and lacking the depth that comes from being truly known. Even in families, among the people that love us the most, cheer us on and allow us to be ourselves, sometimes we hesitate. We hold back. We allow fear of judgement, loss of approval, or fear of creating conflict keep us from being truly authentic with each other.[easy-tweet tweet=”We all long for authenticity but we live in a world that portrays anything but authenticity” user=”wordoflife” usehashtags=”no” url=”http://tiny.cc/5qw49x”]
As we do the daily grind of life, how do we apply the truths of God’s word to those messy, scary, oh so, REAL days? And how do we become courageous enough to show our real selves to the world and pursue authentic relationships?
In the Bible, I am not sure there was a person who was more real about his relationship with Christ, his love for his fellow Christians and his own personal struggles and failures than the Apostle Paul. In the book of Philippians, he is in prison, writing to his fellow believers in Philippi. And in Philippians 4:4-9, he gives us some verses that I like to call ‘verses for life’. Encapsulated in five small verses, we find four keys to being real with each other and being real in our relationship with Jesus:
- Rejoice. Paul tells us to rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS – not just when things are going perfectly. The hidden secret? In the Lord. When we find joy in the Lord despite our circumstances, it reduces the temptation to hide our reality.
- Don’t worry, pray! So often, we allow our anxious thoughts to distract us and hold us captive. Learning to take our worries, anxieties and fears to the Lord, and responding with gratitude helps us to literally build a garrison of protection around our minds, rest in God’s unexplained peace, and live wholeheartedly, courageously and authentically.
- Hold that thought. Paul gives us a detailed list of the things we should think about…things that are true, honorable, just and pure to name a few. As we go through life, are our thoughts about ourselves and others truth or lies? When we discover that we are not thinking on things that are true, we need to replace those lies with the truth of God’s Word. What would it look like if we filtered what we dwell on through the truth of God’s Word? How much more authentic would we be?
- Live for something bigger. Is our goal to have others admire us, like us or envy us– or is it for our lives to point to God? Paul talks about being an example, not of the perfect cook, mom or model, but of Christ. What if we took the focus off of ourselves and what people thought of us, and instead focused on how we portrayed Him?
When you face fear or struggle to live authentically, I challenge you to ask yourself: if Jesus is with me, how should that change how I view my circumstances and relationships? True authenticity begins with the assurance that we’re fully known, loved and accepted in Christ. When we know we have nothing to prove to the world and we find freedom to show our real, imperfect, beautifully messy selves, we will find that real, beautiful and authentic connections with others go hand in hand.[easy-tweet tweet=”The greatest enemy of authenticity is the temptations to look or act a certain way by society” user=”wordoflife” usehashtags=”no” url=”http://tiny.cc/5qw49x”]
The mother/daughter relationship is one of the most special bonds there is – but as women, we face enormous temptation to look a certain way, act a certain way and be everything to everyone. This struggle with authenticity can hinder even our deepest relationships, including those with our mothers and our daughters. I am so excited to be speaking on the topic of #authenticrelationships at Word of Life’s Mother/Daughter Retreat, April 15-17. I hope you can join me as we dig deeper into Philippians and what the truth of God’s Word says about our relationships – plus, plenty of laughter, time to grow closer together and enjoy being daughters of the King!