Oh boy. I have gone ’round and ’round in my head figuring out what words to use to crystallize this concept. There’s been a lot of dreaming going on here – in this space and over with Holley’s God-Sized Dream Team…. And there are two things that I keep coming back to. I want to be authentic. And I’m pretty insecure about that. I want what I say and what I do to be a representation of who I am and not some mask of who I think people want to see or read. Do you ever struggle with that? Feeling like you’re projecting this image that is inauthentic? Ugh. I do.
As this little space has grown I have had some folks writing me from around the country. Women I’ve never met, but who I so wish I could sit down with over a leisurely lunch and get to know better. They’ve written to me about how they identify with something I said or have been through. Someone said I love how it feels like you’re just writing about your life and not like you’re writing to some target audience. (I don’t have a “target audience” by the way – so you’re the perfect person to drop in.) Another woman wrote to me recently about her infertility struggle and how reading my story helped. Someone else shared how they battled with accepting forgiveness just like I did. In the book on leadership I’m writing, one of the most repeated themes from the successful women I interviewed was authenticity. The concept that you can not be a successful leader unless you are true to yourself. I think that’s true of dreams. Authenticity is critical to successfully launching your dream.
But here’s the flip side. I see all my authentic flaws. I get insecure about sharing my insecurity! For Pete’s sake! I’ve had years of projecting the person I thought I was supposed to be, and it’s comfortable. Well, maybe not comfortable, but that mask is like a good pair of Spanx - you know the kind that don’t roll down around your middle and actually exacerbate that 10 pounds you have hanging out? Spanx aren’t exactly comfortable, and they’re impossible to wear if you need to pee, but they do the trick. They slim that middle and smooth out those thigh dimples. If you’re looking quizzically at this post thinking, “what are Spanx?,” then you may NOT be my target audience :) But that mask that allows you to show the good stuff and hide the bad stuff also covers all the stuff that people can relate to. People can’t relate to perfection. People can’t relate to false pretense. I heard Beth Moore once say that if you hold yourself in when you’re sharing God with others, then why were YOU called? Anyone can memorize a message. It won’t be compelling, but it can be given. But if you are called to a dream, it is uniquely yours and can only be realized when you are authentic.
Next week I’m writing about dreaming and our fears, and the first fear for me is this authenticity piece. What if I am myself and it’s not good enough? What if I am just me and people say, no thanks? If you’ve ever felt that like I have, then can I just tell you that you are so totally good enough and people are going to love you all the more for being authentic. I’ll probably use this song by Britt Nicole next week too, but it’s too good not to end with – don’t you love this lyric:
So what are you waiting for? What do you have to lose?
Your insecurities, they try to hold to you
But you know you’re made for more, so don’t be afraid to move
Your faith is all it takes, and you can walk on the water, too