Aiming for Authenticity, Part 3: Adjusting My View

adjusting my view

One of the biggest challenges I faced when I made aiming for authenticity a priority in my life was adjusting my view of the way things were “supposed” to be.

When my marriage ended, my sense of identity came crashing down around me. Without knowing who I was or where I belonged, learning to live authentically seemed like a stormy sea I wasn’t equipped to cross.

If you’ve experienced a life-altering change, you know what I mean when I say that I didn’t know up from down for a while. Everything I thought I knew about my life and myself shifted. And it felt like the ground beneath my feet was shifting, too.

Add to this the difficult truth that I pretended everything was fine – perfect even – for so long that my real self was buried under layers and layers of thoughts, ideas, hopes and beliefs I clung to in order to make my life work.

I had to begin by adjusting my view.

Like many who experience a loss – of a relationship, a loved one, a dream or way of life – it felt like the truth was an ending to the identity I had worked so hard to keep. A depressing reality that I was forced to accept. A settling for less than what I had spent my life hoping for.

I wanted to trust that God could lift me up and set me on my feet again. But He and I had a long way to go before I believed that the truth about my situation would set me free.

At first, I was tempted to listen to the shouts coming from the world.

Find yourself! Re-discover who you are! Then hold on tight and be YOU no matter who or what outside influences try to change you! If people don’t like it, too bad! Say what you think! Do what you feel!

But I quickly grew uncomfortable with this view of authenticity. To me it seemed so limiting. Once you decide who you are, you’re finished. Stuck with yourself, you might say. Standing your ground. Fighting for your right to be you. Believing that anyone who doesn’t understand you, agree with you, or approve of all your “you-ness” either doesn’t love you or isn’t worth your time.  This felt like a dead-end kind of authenticity. In fact, it’s hard for me to think of this as authenticity at all. Even if it’s what the world is shouting.

Then I had to face the hard truth that aiming for authenticity isn’t easy.

I get tired. I get lazy. Others don’t always cooperate with the process. Sometimes old patterns of coping feel easier, more natural even. A voice whispers inside tempting me to give up. It tells me that I’m stuck – that I will never change. But I know these excuses are a trap. A trap that feels more comfortable and appealing the longer I hide there.

When I turned to God for help, I began to understand truth and authenticity from a new perspective.

He quieted the shouts from the world and the whispers from inside. He showed me that the truth about me and the loss of my marriage was not the end. It was only the beginning. The beginning of a better understanding of myself and who I was created to be. A deeper relationship with Him. A confidence I had never before experienced.

The kind of authenticity desired by God looks different from what the world calls “getting real.” It requires a clear and honest look at what happens in my life when I chase my dreams on my own. It takes the humility to say, I need help. To accept that I don’t have all the answers and to acknowledge that I don’t want to get stuck “just being me” for the rest of my life. I want to become the person God wants me to be.

When I lean in to the truth with God, He unlocks a vision of the future He wants for me.

A future filled with hope that with His guidance, I can overcome unhealthy habits. I can learn to handle things differently than I have in the past. And experience a new healthy way of living. The abundant life He promises.

So every day I return again to the target and take aim at authenticity. Each time, God is there to help. He opens my eyes to the truthful things about me that get in the way of the abundant life He wants for me. And He takes my hands, adjusts my view, and we begin again.

Philippians 1:6God asks us to aim for authenticity because He wants us to understand the power of this truth: He loves us as we are and way too much to leave us there. Peeling back the layers, He reveals our true identity. With His guidance, we can continue to discover who He created us to be. And His love for us spurs us on to who we are becoming.

What vision of the future is God revealing to you? Do you need to adjust your view of authenticity to get there with Him?

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  1. This post came at a very good time and thank you!
    Just lost my very best friend on the 25th. 43 years of sharing and she was the president of my fan club!!! Now what I’ve been asking?
    On top of this, my second husband died and even though I’d long ago divorced him and gone on with my life and remarried to a wonderful man…why the pain???
    Your article helped me understand…thank you!

    1. Hi Margie,

      A life long friend is such a rare and precious gift, and I’m so sorry for your loss. I pray that as the days go by, you would feel God near to you. And that someday soon, when the sadness has become more bearable, you surprise yourself by smiling over a certain moment or special time you shared during 43 years of friendship – there must be so many stories to tell! I hope they all add up and help your heart be filled again with the joy your friend brought you.

      Our hearts are such a mystery to us, aren’t they? Especially when it comes to losing people we have loved. Even the ones from our past. Taking the time we need to honor those memories can help us better understand our pain, and walking through it with God can help us experience Him in a closely personal way. I would love to hear how you He blesses you as you walk through this time with Him.

      Thank you for reading and thank you for sharing!

  2. Beautifully written Jody. I know through this journey that Dave and I have been on and still on that looking to our heavenily father for answers for the why’s and how comes is often difficult. The path that we thought we were on is altered dramatically. But each day he gives us answers to push on!

    1. Thank you Eileen! Your courage and strength continue to inspire all who have watched you climb the mountains placed in front of you! And the joy and peace that spills out of you as you go is unmistakeable! You are a light, my friend! Thank you for sharing it with us!

  3. Christy Taylor says:

    That was awesome Jody. I look forward to reading each of your emails.

  4. Barb Smith says:

    Amazing read! Thank you for sharing your story.

    1. Thanks Barb! And thank you for being such an important part of my story!

  5. Carol Kaufman says:

    I have known you for 30+ years and, to me, you have always been this sweet, positive spirit, a great friend to anyone around you. I have never known you to be more at peace with yourself than you are now, so, truly, God is revealing his plan for you. Wrong relationships, as I so well know, force us to change ourselves, to “go against our grain”. I am grateful, I got out of mine early on, grateful for a second chance and for the family I never thought I would have. Even still, I pray everyday to be the person God would want me to be in every role in my life. Thank you for writing this. Xo

    1. I’m so thankful for our friendship, Carol and that together we are still figuring out how to become the women God has created us to be. I love that He is the God of second chances (and as many chances that we need!) and that we can continue to learn and grow as our roles change throughout our lives. And I love that He puts people in our path that will bless us as you bless me! I can’t wait to see where our adventure takes us over the next 30 years!

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