This above all:
To thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
- Hamlet, Shakespeare
Recently, I sat down with my son for breakfast on a Sunday Morning which is abnormal for us because I tend not to eat before service on Sundays. As we sat at the kitchen table eating, I was led to ask my son if he preferred it when people were authentic with him. He told me that he did and I instantly knew why my son struggled with certain people and certain surroundings. I also understood why my son and others in his generation (generation Z) struggled with fully accepting Christianity based on what they see. Let me explain.
There used to be a saying when I was growing up, “Real recognizes real.” I am not sure who first coined the phrase, but as I sat down with my son that Sunday morning it was suddenly crystal clear to me that in order to reach his generation we have to offer them the unadulterated, authentic truth and not just about Christ, but about us as well. While it was not a conversation I expected to have with my son on a Sunday morning, it was one that I needed to have. At times, our children can be our mirror – showing us who we are and how we can improve and that Sunday morning my son’s frustration with unauthentic people was clearly evident. And while he did not say as much, I could tell that for him (and others in his generation) authenticity is the key, but the moment you flip-flop it becomes hard them for to believe anything you say. My son’s generation wants authentic worship to God and not just worship in church, the expectation is that worship is a lifestyle not just something we do on Sunday. They want authentic praise, but not just on Sundays, the thought is that if God is God, we should commit to doing it His way all the time or not at all.
What I learned in that conversation is that my son was watching every move I made and he was also watching every move my friends made, his friends made, and even the moves of others who I had not thought of and based on that he received cues about the authenticity of their relationship with God. And from that, he made a decision to believe them or not and he did all of this with very little dialog. The truth is that this is the way the world looks at Christians – watching our every move to see if we really practice what we see, hear and say we believe – is the same way our children are looking to us each and every day. The funny thing about it is that we tell other believers to watch what they say or do because the world is watching, but sometimes those watching are as close as the next room in our home. Let me just note here that I am not referring to making mistakes; I believe my son (and those in his generation) know the difference between making a mistake and living an unauthentic lifestyle. This was not and is not about mistakes as much as it is being “real.” This conversation, even though it was brief, made me stop, take a good look at myself and ask the question “Am I consistently displaying the real me?” Now, while that may not seem like a question one should ask herself, I submit to you more of us should be evaluating if we are projecting an authentic version of ourselves to the world.
For some being authentic is easy, it’s just like riding a bike and for others, it is more challenging, but we must always be mindful that someone is watching everything we do and every move we make. If you have read any of my other posts you know that I am not perfect (and I will never profess to be perfect) so as I am writing this, I am also taking inventory of the areas – large or small – where I need to improve. One of the top of those areas of improvement is my impatience, and while I am getting better with being patient I am not always the most patient person (my son can attest to this). As I have said before, we are all WIP’s (Works in Progress) and none of us is perfect, even the bible tells us that so this is not a condemnation to anyone, but I hope that this is as much of a wake-up call for you as it was for me. If we are not serious about being authentic then we should be because people are watching to see the real you; our children are looking for the real you. Be sure you are your true self no matter where you go or who you are around because someone is watching you. I hope that you take that truth, let it sink in and change you, it has for me.
Be Great at Being YOU!
Liela Marie Fuller
Author, Mother, Friend, Believer in Jesus...Really Just Me.
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