The Art of Being Genuine

Last night, I got to attend a great time of study and fellowship with many of the ladies from my local church.

They probably had no clue how nervous I was to go there and how nervous I was to be there and how even more nervous I was to speak briefly to them of my own experiences. I’m not prone to much nervousness, but there is something about that wonderful group of ladies that always pushes me towards intimidation.

I’ve wondered, more than once, why is that? Why is it that I can walk into any Celebrate Recovery and be so completely comfortable with telling my story. With being real. Genuine. But, I get shy when it comes to the body of local believers with whom God has seen fit to make me a member. I always worry that they might not be ready for ALL OF THIS. 🙂

I’ve explained it to some of those who like to listen to my ramblings, that the art of being genuine is not subtle in Celebrate Recovery. No, when we walk into those doors of those rooms, we come to bare our very selves to others who do the same. We come to be as genuine and real as possible with the darkest and deepest corners of our hearts because without that delving and diving and divulging, we feel utterly alone.

In those rooms, I have gained confidence to be the me that I am and be bold about it.

In other places, I hold my boldness in check. I suppose some people would call that cowardice.

Yet, I want what so many of us want, I suppose. To be loved for who I am. The good, bad, and ugly, as I like to say. (Trust me, I’m a heavy mix of all three). I want to be able to be myself, exactly as I am today, and know that I am loved.

I know, however, that as sweet and kind and real as those ladies are (both the ones from my church and the ones from CR), they cannot love me the way I am needing to be loved. They can love me as good as they know how (and they know how pretty good), but they won’t ever know me like the One who made me.

I learned that in recovery. That I can do a great deal of doing and a great deal of saying and a great deal of wanting to be genuine, and I can do it pretty good. But I cannot ever truly know another person’s heart or mind the way that God knows them. Or they way He knows me.

I’m someone who wants to know, however. I value deeply the genuine outpourings of other people’s souls.

I’m actually frequently frustrated by anything short of genuine soul sharing. I may not show it, but I am occasionally put out when other people only give me their surface and not the whole messy underneath. Even if they are someone that I don’t know well. I recognize that I have been a bit spoiled by the reckless deepness of those recovery rooms. I’ve been spoiled by the ease with which I can let those people in and with which they let me in.

I’ve forgotten the art of learning to be genuine. Not the “in your face, take me as I am, and here is all of who I am” brand of being genuine. I’m actually a bit too good at that sometimes. But the “I am someone who has proven myself worth trusting with who you are” kind of genuine, that takes time.

It requires me to wait. To wait on access to other people’s lives while being fearless about giving access to my own. Jesus has done a mighty work in me, and He has graced me with the desire to be honest and transparent about my brokenness and His massive remodeling of my soul. For me to get to that place, however, other people around me had to be willing to be soul-baring honest with me FIRST.

Ah, there’s the key that I’ve been looking for as I perused down this aisle of Tiffany-thoughts.

If I want other people to be as deep with me as I want to be with them, I have to take the first step. Then I have to be willing to wait on their genuineness in return.

Jesus models this for me. He reached out to His disciples. He always put Himself out there to them first. He was real with them from the moment He met them. He didn’t hold back. And in the end, He won their hearts. They knew Him to be true, so they trusted Him with their souls.

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