Blogging Truths: When Authenticity Doesn't Come Easy

My phone went off earlier and I saw a friend's name pop up on my screen. Excited to chat with her, I eagerly opened the text and said, "Hi friend! How are you?" She quickly replied, "I'm okay, but how are you?" I almost looked over her cry for compassion and answered the question instead, but something made me hang around a little longer. 
"Just okay? That doesn't sound too good. What's up?" After a little coaxing, I finally got her to spill the beans and tell me what was going on in her life. Because we all know, a little "I'm okay, but how are you?" really means, "I'm having a terrible day and life sucks but I'd rather stay in denial about it, so let's talk about you." 

That's something I've noticed more and more lately, especially with us women--how quick we are to cover up what's really going on in our lives. I think we all want to open up but something holds us back. Why is it instinct for us to sweep it under the rug and act like all is okay when really, deep down we're hurting and are bogged down by life? We're terrified of vulnerability and it's stifling us. Stifling the joy inside of us and holding us back from our potential.

Our generation has a problem with authenticity. I'll just say it. We think by showing our true colors and laying it all out there, we're letting down our guard and become less of a woman by some nature. That our emotions or our faults or how we react define us and if we're numb to it all, it won't hurt as bad. We stay under the radar, praying to blend in and not draw any attention to ourselves or our problems. There's a mask that we all wear whether we want to or not; whether we realize it or not. Social media has only furthered our problem--it's unrealistic to live up to the hype of the perfect life portrayed by IG filters and perfectly styled pictures. Real life isn't perfect and that's okay.

What if I show my true self and someone doesn't like me? What if I post what my house looks like on a daily basis? The laundry I can't catch up on or the dishes that always need to be done. Or what about the things that really matter...struggles at work, with friends, or within ourselves? How I can't seem to get my weight under control? Am I supposed to show the hard times that the Lord brings just as much as the good? Of course I am...that's what this life is about.

What if I finally find the courage to be vulnerable about the things going on and it backfires? Every day that I come to this space on the internet, that thought crosses my mind. It take a lot of bravery to do what we as bloggers do. Am I being authentic? Am I showing the real me, brokenness and all? And if I am, am I ready for what might come next?

Being vulnerable is terrifying. It makes me shudder just thinking about it. Where is the line that we dare not cross? How do we balance being real enough to be relatable but vague enough that we're not transparent with our personal lives to the whole (Internet) world?The more "social" our generation gets, the more I long for something genuine. 

This world is a place where we cry out to be accepted, to be loved, to be needed. But I think there's a difference in being loved and being known. I try to have those friendships where I'm known and loved, even with my baggage and bruises and faults that I try so desperately to hide. Because that's where true love and friendship lies--the place where being known and being loved intersects. The Lord is right there in that spot, so why are we so afraid of it?

Why aren't we willing to be more authentic? I wish we lived in a world where it was okay to say, "Hey, you know what? I'm not okay, and I'm okay with that fact. I need a little extra love today and am begging for you to accept my faults and love me through it." I wish this blog world wasn't so superficial at times. It's easy to see who is being genuine and who isn't. It's taken me a while to realize that those who aren't being genuine aren't at all being fake, they're just covering up something--hurt or sadness or family issues or marriage trouble and so on. It makes me want to reach out and hug them, instead of talking about them behind their back, like we women are so quick to do. 

We've all been there; we've all struggled with being honest and open when we're hurting. We all need that friend who can see past that facade and break down our walls and love us through the struggle. Because with every little brick that comes down, we become more of our true self, the woman God created us to be. And that's what we're all striving to be at the end of the day...just me, uncovered and raw, genuine and stripped down to the core.

Authenticity is something I strive for daily. I want the fear of vulnerability to disappear because then and only then, that means I'm okay with me. All of me. Even those messy parts we try to hide. Even those cracks in our walls that we cover up. I think that I am so hesitant to be authentic and open because that leaves me open to judgment and criticism from friends and even worse, complete strangers. At what price do we try to be authentic? Just this week, a dear blog (turned IRL) friend of mine was bitten by being open and honest on her blog and it's killing me to see her hurt. Is it worth that risk?

It's a daily struggle. But in the end, I think authenticity pays off when we let someone in. When someone meets us in that place of openness and accepts us in spite of our faults, something happens within us--when someone knows us and loves us at the same time, it changes us. Maybe not a drastic, obvious change, but little by little, we become okay with ourselves and become a little more comfortable with honesty. We realize that it's okay to not have it all together. We connect over being broken. That connection is something that can't be described and can't be denied. 

Today, I'm challenging you to be one of those people. The friend who doesn't let the "I'm okay, but how are you?" slip by without calling a friend out about it. It's a cry for help, girls. We've all muttered those words, begging for someone to listen for a little longer. This week, I want us all to strive to be a little more vulnerable, to show a part of ourselves that makes us uncomfortable. Open up to a friend and let them know what's on your heart. Ask for prayer, ask for a hug. Just ask for love. Because then and only then do we open up the chance to grow, to learn, and to be healed. 

I want each of us to be seen, to be loved, and to be accepted in this place. I want us to love others wholeheartedly as Christ loved us even if there's no guarantee that we'll be loved back. Vulnerability doesn't have to be a scary thing if we welcome it with open arms--sometimes the most beautiful of blessings come out of brokenness.

Do you feel authenticity and vulnerability go hand in hand? Have you struggled with this in your life or in the blog world? How do you break down those walls? Let's talk today, sisters!

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