When I hear, “It’s easy, just be yourself” I have to laugh. It’s costly to be yourself. To be real in this world demands a grace that is beyond us. You were created to reflect the character of God into your world every day. But like the rest of us you need help. Before we go on, you need to be reminded that you have been “fearfully and wonderfully made”.
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Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I had always been part of a church family. That also meant that I had to endure the pressures of religion and especially misguided religious people who put my dad and our family on a pedestal. As a result I learned very young to pretend and present the right image at the right time to keep the crowd happy. Hiding became a lifestyle for me.
By the time I was eighteen I was torn and imprisoned by the lie that I could manage my life by myself. I couldn’t. In the Fall of 1980 I finally surrendered to Jesus with this prayer; “Jesus, Whether you are happy about this or not, you are stuck with me. Because I am not going to let go of you.” What I didn’t see was that He had never let go of me. Thus a journey began. It has been a tough journey of surrender. But, I have always been sure of His presence with me.
Maybe you get my struggle. You know what it is like to feel that you can’t be yourself and follow Jesus. There is hope!
How can you discover “The Real”?
When you embrace faith in Jesus Christ, you receive something the Bible calls “eternal life”. Another way to think of it is life the way God designed it. You become part of the culture of heaven. You still live your ordinary life but your eyes open to a brand new dynamic in the world that Jesus called the “kingdom of heaven”.
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Tucked into the package of eternal life is a promise. As you trust God’s agenda in your life you will grow into who you really are. The real you will actually break through the surface and shine for God’s glory.
I want to share a couple of scriptures and personal habits that have helped me break through to more authenticity.
A few life hacks on Realness:
1. Focus on the One you can trust
In Colossians 3, the Apostle Paul wrote: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Jesus Christ entered into our world as God in the flesh. If you study his life you will find that he won the war against all that is fake, toxic and dark in this world. He even faced death and came back to life in order to free you and me from the prison of counterfeit, dead existence.
In this letter to the Colossians Paul reminds his friends that their true identity is secure and hidden with Christ. He is with us and we are with Him as we face every day. If you will trust in Him you will know it for yourself.
But don’t miss what Paul said next. You can be confident that when Christ appears for everyone to see, you won’t be revealed as an imposter. Instead, because you have learned to surrender by God’s grace, the “real” you will be known and appreciated because you will shine with His glory.
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Remind yourself every day that no matter how things seem, if you put your trust, faith and dependence in Jesus, He is bringing the real amazing you out into the open for all of us to appreciate. In the end the real you will be a testimony to God’s glory.
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2. Encourage yourself that the best is always yet to come
In 1 John 3, while in exile, John wrote: See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
The second tip is… don’t dig around in the past to try and find the real you. Following Jesus today means always believing that the best is yet to come.
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John wrote to his friends and followers that who we really are is not fully known yet. But something miraculous and powerful will happen when Jesus appears to all of creation.
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