A truth I already believed was reinforced at my speaking event this weekend.
Authenticity is powerful.
In the middle of one of my points, I felt God’s gentle nudge to share a personal story about a painful event in my family. Even as I told it, I felt a familiar inner resistance. It’s the part of me that wants to hide and protect. It wasn’t until after the event I knew for sure that I had actually been following God.
Three women approached me to talk. One woman has a painful story of her own, but she hasn’t told it yet. Just like I have, however, she has experienced healing and the power of God in such a way to compel her to share. I was able to encourage her to seek God about His timing and perfect opportunities to share.
Another woman wanted to thank me for being “real”. She said often she’s reluctant to even come to women’s events, because she just can’t connect to speakers who appear to have it all together. The thing that struck me as we talked is how many other women probably consider her as someone who wouldn’t struggle with comparison. She herself is lovely on the outside, involved in ministry and connected in the church. It reminded me of how we ALL have places of insecurity and comparison
The third woman is currently going through the same issue I told the story about. I was able to share and encourage her that there is something good coming from this distressing experience. I told her the follow-up on my family’s journey and how God was able to further strengthen us through the hard season.
These interactions are pictures of why I believe vulnerability and authenticity are so powerful.
1. Authenticity shatters the foundation of negative comparisons. As my friend Renee Swope says, “When we compare, we compare our insides to others’ outsides.” We break down wall-generating comparisons when we’re willing to turn ourselves inside-out. When we share our own insecurities, hurts and failures, we then get to paint God as the ultimate hero He is. (Click here to tweet this.) It puts all of us humans in a place of awe on the level ground of the cross.
2. Telling our stories is part of the redemption of those very stories. Do you have a place in your past that you’ve hidden? When a secret is exposed, it gives the story the chance to be part of someone else’s healing. Amazingly, offering your vulnerability for someone else’s gain becomes part of our own healing. What a beautiful cycle! Full redemption comes when the pain of telling our story becomes less than the joy received from seeing others’ freed by it. (Click here to tweet this.)
Have you seen examples of the power of authenticity in your own writing and speaking? We’d love to hear your stories!