In grade school, she helped me shave Barbie’s hair because we needed Ken doll. She loved me through my mullet phase. She cried with me when my grandma passed away. She stood by me on my wedding day. And three years ago, when I needed her more than ever, she told me, “You are the strongest woman I have ever known.”
But I was still scared when I called her last week and told her, “I really screwed up! I made a really poor choice and I feel awful!” I was afraid of being vulnerable because I was afraid of being judged.
But her response reminded me of why she is my best friend. She told me, “I know how that feels. And I love you.”
For the past 2 weeks we’ve been looking at self-care disciplines that Jesus implemented daily to provide strength for His ministry.
First we discovered that self-care begins with a consistent connection to God. Then we discovered that using our God-entrusted gifts doesn’t drain the life out of us, but actually rejuvenates our soul.
This week we will look at three reasons why being authentic in relationships contributes to great self-care.
As you read the gospels you see Jesus investing in people in different ways. He spoke to the masses, fed the thousands, healed individuals, and He invested in His twelve disciples.
I’m sure there were many people who wanted to be called His disciple, and yet, only twelve are named in the Bible. And of those twelve, we see that He has a special relationship with three of them…men He was vulnerable with.
Last week, I shared a time that I needed my inner circle BIG TIME! And even though I know these ladies love me unconditionally, reaching out it isn’t always easy. Saying, “I need help!” can be the most difficult words to say.
Being authentic and vulnerable is scary! Why? Because you are reaching out to humans who mess up and disappoint you. When you let people in, you open the door to the possibility of pain. But that isn’t the only door you open.
Let's look at three reasons why being authentic or vulnerable helps you take care of you!
1. Being authentic helps you understand your own needs, feelings and desires.
If you long to have authentic relationships, you must first be authentic with yourself.
We don't talk much about this at church, but your needs, feelings and desires are important. You might currently be ignoring these aspects of yourself. If you are…you are not alone. Maybe you've learned over time that knowing what you need and not getting that need met hurts, so in order to avoid that pain, you stop asking yourself what you need. This makes sense. No one enjoys being hurt time and time again.
But if your goal is to live like Jesus, then it is important to recognize that Jesus took time to understand His needs. He knew when to preach, and when to get in a boat and go to the middle the lake to avoid the crowd. He could not be the man God called Him to be in this life without understanding His needs.
The same is true for you. If you long to live an abundant life, which is the kind of life Jesus died to give you, then understanding your needs is important.
2. Authenticity opens the door to being seen, heard and valued.
There is something magical that happens when someone sees you, hears you and values you. Having a safe space to be honest about your feelings, encouraged by validation, and inspired to pursue what is true and right is life-giving.
But when you begin to share our thoughts, feelings and needs with others, you allow them to speak words of encouragement, validation and truth. This is an important part of self-care if your own words to yourself are not encouraging or truthful. You might even learn to be kinder to yourself as you begin to honest with others and see that they are kind to you.
This is what I experienced when I called my best friend. I confessed that I messed up…I had been beating myself up over this one thing for an entire day. And when I confessed it to her, she was kind. This helped me be kinder to myself.
3. Being authentic allows you to experience true love.
Being strong and independent doesn’t protect you from pain; it leaves you feeling lonely and unloved. Vulnerability and authenticity are scary. Rather than admit you need help, you feel safer putting up walls. But when you do, two things happen:
- You rob others of opportunity to love you.
- You rob yourself of truly loving yourself.
When I put up walls I feel invincible, but I also feel invisible.
Have you ever felt that way? It feels crappy to feel invisible!
When you begin to voice your needs to others, you are giving them an opportunity to truly love the real you. Not the you that you think you should be or the you that you think others want you to be. But you begin to find the true you God created you to be. And that is an amazing gift that will free you and breath life into your heart.
Jesus wanted relationship with you so much that He literally stretched out His arms and died to bridge the gap of sin and allow you to have a relationship with your Heavenly Father.
Authenticity begins with Jesus. His is the one and only relationship that will never fail you. So begin being honest with Him and with yourself. And as you accept love from your Heavenly Father and yourself, be brave, through the strength of Jesus, and begin to be vulnerable with others who have earned the right to know the true you.
In the comments, I would love to hear:
Have you ever risked being truly authentic with trusted friends? What happened?
What would happen if you let them see the true you? Or if you didn’t try to earn their love, but instead accepted their love just as you are?
Will you be brave and begin to take small steps of authenticity in your relationships?
You are worth being seen, heard and valued!
Feeling overwhelmed? Or not sure where to begin with all of this? I hear ya! That's why this week's freebie is a downloadable that gives you the first steps to authenticity. To grab it click here: Baby Steps to Authenticity