A Life of Authenticity

During my years of ministry at the crisis pregnancy center, my role included training new volunteers. Following one of these training sessions, the volunteer turned to our client and asked, Would you like some help carrying those baby items to your car? Upon hearing this, I felt very humbled. I had performed this volunteer function for two years and it had never occurred to me to offer this type of assistance. I immediately judged myself as being an inferior servant.

Later, the Still Small Voice reminded me of my spiritual gift survey. That my strength lies in what is known as the speaking gifts of prophecy, teaching and exhortation. I had found my mojo in a counseling role with our clients. I enjoyed formulating good questions to help them self-discover solutions to their problems. I loved praying with them. And I enjoyed training new counselors. My spiritual gifts of serving, giving and mercy that make up the serving gifts only reach to the moderate level. I thanked God for reminding me that I don’t have to strive to be the best at everything, only the best version of who he intended me to be.

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Surveys show that those of us who score higher on tests for authenticity are happier, have greater self-esteem, and are more satisfied with life. To live authentically, what we say and do must line up with our inner thought life. In order for that to happen, we have to know who we are and what we believe. Spending too much time living inauthentically damages us. We need to listen to our own voice, stand up for ourselves, and not be so easily influenced by others. We must listen for God’s voice directing us toward his intended purpose for our lives. If we find ourselves trapped in situations where we can’t be the person God intended us to be, we need to make a courageous effort to change our circumstances.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5

Before Jeremiah was born, God had a specific purpose in mind for his life. He sent other prophets to Israel and Judah, but Jeremiah’s territory extended more widely to the outlying Gentile nations. He was given the tough task of informing the people there that their sins had stirred up God’s wrath and they would suffer the consequences. God also chose Jeremiah to deliver the good news that their repentance would bring them a brighter future with a promise of their return from captivity. One day they would be freed by Divine grace. Jeremiah was called to play a special part, appointed for him, in his nation’s history. Even before he was conceived, Jeremiah and his mission were known to God.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:15-16

Here, David speaks of the formation of the first man, Adam, as a work of some kind of intricately detailed tapestry woven with diverse patterns and colors. He points to the mystery of the birth process that is repeated during each and every human conception. God approaches the formation of an embryo in the womb with intention. Adam’s life, David’s life, and each of our lives was planned out by God before we ever came into being.

Are you living a life of authenticity? If you’re not sure of your spiritual gifts, there are many online tools to assist you with this and some of them are free. Most importantly, developing your relationship with God will keep you on track and moving in the direction he planned for your life.

What Are You Devoted To?

Spirituality, regardless of its tradition, is a universal trait of humanity. We are instinctively worshipping creatures. We are going to worship someone or something. So, we must ask ourselves, Who or what are we devoted to?

As someone who gains a great amount of peace and grounding from my devotional time with our Lord, I can tell you that removing that special blessing from my life causes me a considerable amount of discord and imbalance. Still fresh in my mind is the way that my recent relocation caused me to experience this. I can attend church services, study the Bible, and place myself in the service of others, but these disciplines pale in comparison to standing in the presence of God. I long for this.

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Those who travelled to central Syria in the past have seen the large flocks of panting deer gather around the brooks of water. So subdued by their great desert thirst, one could approach quite near to them before they would flee. Deer need abundant water, and especially in hot climates during times of drought, they can be found panting and longing for it.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42:1-2

A devoted soul always thirsts for God. When a soul pants for God, some fate has caused spiritual communion to be withheld for a time. David no doubt experienced and voiced this while on the run from his enemies. His metaphorical thirst was not for knowledge or power, but simply for God himself.

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Isaiah 55:1

Water, wine, and milk are symbols of spiritual blessings. Silver or gold cannot buy the blessing offered by God. Self-surrender is the only thing required of the one who receives this blessing. Many people in Isaiah’s day were not ready for the blessings of the coming Messiah because they did not sufficiently value them. They were too caught up in their present worldly circumstances and this was a tender encouragement for those people to become more spiritually minded. Those who thirst for and desire the spiritual blessings God offers through Christ Jesus are invited to come and partake of the glorious life and future God has provided for them.

Are you devoted to God? Do you thirst for the spiritual blessings he offers to those willing to receive them? Is standing in the presence of God a priority for you? Sometimes, a season in life will cause us to lose our grounding, but the sooner we return to our devotion of God, the sooner we will experience his peace.

In February, the Becoming Well blog will go silent. The focus my efforts will be on Physical Wellness over on the Becoming Well Facebook page. Please join us as we prepare for the Lenten Cleansing Diet that begins on February 26. I’ll be back on the blog in March to share some insights about Occupational Wellness.