Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Disingenuous Kind Of Authenticity


I used to be on a swim team, but I was only an average swimmer. My kicks were weak. My hips sank too much. I wandered side to side in my lane. But that's who I was. I practiced some, but not too much. I did not want to be something I was not. I wanted to be authentic. No one likes a poser. Instead, I used to brag about how average I was and how you would never catch me trying to be better- trying to be something I'm not. 

I used to play on the golf team, but I never got to compete in a tournament. I enjoyed playing, but not practicing. I felt like practice was trying to be a better golfer than I really was. I never moved from the white to the pro tees, because I did not want to be inauthentic. No one likes a wanna be. I needed to be true to who I was. So I would brag about how mediocre I was and how you would never catch me trying to be better- trying to be something I'm not. 

I am a father and husband. I have a lot of faults. Occasionally I go to the park and play with my kids, but mostly I watch ESPN in my recliner. I take my wife to dinner on her birthday and on Valentine's Day, but that's about all the attention I am willing to give. I know I should aspire to more, but it would be hypocrisy to pretend to be something I am not. No one likes a hypocrite. Instead, I enjoy talking about about how flawed, yet authentic I am and how you will never catch me trying to be better- trying to be something I'm not. 

I am a Christian. I am not all that holy. In fact, I am more than a little rough around the edges. But I like that. I freely admit to using profanity, getting a little drunk, mocking other Christians who aspire to more, and placing myself in the seat of judgment over the church, but I'm just being authentic. Trying to develop a pure heart and mind is just useless and all about ego. What I do like to do is brag about how authentic I am and how you would never catch me trying to be more - trying to be holy - trying to be something I'm not. 

[Back to reality]

The sad thing is, all of the above attitudes and related actions have been in me at one time or another. And I am still capable of going there again, although the profanity and drunkenness things are now uninteresting to me. But I dare not get cocky. Grace is needed every day. Give me this day, my daily bread. 

May your authenticity be accompanied by the courage to strive, in humility, for more. May you find the wisdom to pursue holiness and the kind of life-giving authenticity that comes with it. May your life be a grace-empowered movement away from the banality of perpetual mediocrity, into an authentic adventure in growth leading to joy. May you dive deep, below the surface where you can only float and drift, into the living waters where you can flow with the current of God's grace to a new kind of life-giving authenticity.

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