Authenticity can be a frightening prospect. The very act of baring honest struggles and removing a mask for other to witness can be terrifying. Because we’re programmed to paint over our imperfections, even as moms … especially as moms.
It’s often easier to paint on a smile and feign perfect contentment. You and I could do that with our friends, our family, our church, our children, but perfection doesn’t foster intimacy; instead it builds walls. And I don’t know about you, but I’m more interested in tearing down walls. I long for transparency, for rich relationships, for the deeply rooted friendships built on the experience of sharing real struggles and shouldering burdens.
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is always what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill
So I tell stories. I share the gritty and the glorious moments of my days. I take the risk, and I tap out the words because I think we all thirst for authenticity. And I think you should too. I think you should take the risk and tell YOUR story. Because there are women longing to hear your perspective; there are women who need the hope only your experiences can provide; there are women who need to see you made it through the messy and the mundane … and they will too!
So tell your motherhood story, your longing-for-motherhood story, your marriage-is-hard-work-but-it’s-worth-it story. Tell your faith story. Tell where you’ve been and where you’re going. How you have found God, and how you are still looking for him. Show authenticity. Take off the mask. Break down the walls.
People are hungry for truth and honesty, and they long to connect with authenticity. They want to know they’re not alone in their struggles and the pressures of their daily challenges. People need to grieve in your sadness and celebrate in your triumphs. Because when the forest is too thick or the light too dim, it may just be your truth-telling that pulls them through.
If it’s too hard to tell the whole story, tell part of it … just part of it. Tell it on a blog, in a Brave Collective, through a song, to a friend over coffee … however best suits your mode of expression. And if you don’t get the response you’d hoped for, keep trying. Swallow your fear, embrace bravery and tell your story again.
Because it matters.
Your story matters.
Your struggles assure others they’re not alone in their battles, your victories buoy hearts, and your faith walk testifies to the truth that so desperately needs to be heard.
Yes, it’s risky. Removing the mask and being authentic always carries some risk. But the risk? The risk is worth it. Because your storytelling might just be the impetus someone else needs to remove their own mask and embrace authenticity.
So tell your story. Tell of the peaks and the valleys, the gritty and the glorious, the mundane and the majestic. Be a truth-teller: testify to grace, hope and redemption. And then after you’ve spoken … after you’ve said yes to bravery and tasted of transparency … listen. And it’s then you just may hear others finding the courage to do the same.
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