Pursuing Authenticity

Lately I’ve had some realizations when it comes to this blog and my writing in general. The last couple months I’ve been thinking a lot about authenticity. I’ve been thinking about how Christians often aren’t completely genuine because they feel like they have to talk a certain way or present themselves a certain way in order to be considered “spiritual.”

I myself have felt a tremendous amount of pressure to write in a way that suggests I have a lot of things figured out and that reveals my supposed spiritual wisdom. I’ve often unintentionally adopted a sort of preachy, Christianese tone because I felt like I needed to share my spiritual revelations with the world.

While I do think you should often share the things God shows you, I think this attitude can end up being a really negative thing. I also think it can eventually lead to a lot of hypocrisy.

Feeling like you always need to present yourself in a super spiritual light can be really damaging, especially when you’re going through rough patches and just don’t feel very spiritual.

Without realizing it, I learnt a lot of damaging attitudes and behaviors from Charismatic Christian leaders during the first couple years after I became a Christian. As I didn’t know what was helpful or trustworthy, I ended up getting into the typical trendy, inspirational, Charismatic Christianity. You know, the people who think they need to act creepily happy and enthusiastic in a borderline psychotic way and feel that they need to use Christianese language and brag about their spiritual experiences in order to feel and look more spiritual. The whole culture is very damaging, but it took me years to realize that.

(I would really like to write another post on why I distanced myself from Charismatic Christian culture, so that might be a thing in the future.)

So now I’m at this weird point in my life where I’m pulling back from all this irritating Christian culture and am trying not to completely abandon God in the process. I’m trying to separate Christ from all this weird culture that has been created in His name.

Lately I’ve just begun to see that a lot of the people who claim to be so spiritual and are so blatant about being Christians are often massive hypocrites. So much of it is about their egos, and in the worst scenarios even about their brands or businesses. Let’s be honest, a lot of churches and ministries are pretty much just big businesses.

I don’t want to be one of those people who uses God as a way to become successful. I don’t want to choose God as some topic to write about on my blog but not have an authentic relationship with Him.

Now I’ve gotten to this place in my life where I just can’t be bothered to act how other Christians think I should act. I’m tired of feeling like I have to prove things to people. I want to be one of those Christians who has nothing to prove.

A lot of Christians are massive show-offs. We’re so good at talking before we listen. We can often be so ignorant yet so arrogant. We’ll get into theological arguments and try to explain the truth to everyone, yet we don’t even live the truth out ourselves.

It’s kind of comical when I think of how many times I’ve gotten angry about people’s bad theology yet have been blind to the fact that I don’t even live out my own theology. If being a Christian is all about theoretical beliefs, what even is the point?

I want to be able to admit that I’m confused and that I’m in a really bad place spiritually. I want to be able to admit that I’m struggling to obey God and that I’m going through a rough patch.

How silly it is to go around thinking that everyone else’s salvation depends on you looking like a perfect, super spiritual Christian. So many Christians often think that if we don’t look like we have our shit together 99.9% of the time then everyone will think that the gospel isn’t really true and loads of people will go to hell because of us. We’re arrogant enough to think that we’re actually that important. When in reality non-Christians are more put off by superficiality and hypocrisy.

In this age of self-idolatry, we think we’re much more important than we really are. We think everything we have to say is so profound and that we have to share it with the whole world. A lot of the stuff I see Christians writing online is a bunch of nonsense. Yet we’d rather hear our own irrelevant babble than look to the simple and timeless truths of scripture.

I’ve been learning that Christians don’t value silence and humility nearly enough. There’s so much in the Bible about being humble and about being slow to speak, yet so many of us are horribly arrogant and think that what we have to say is extraordinarily important. It’s basically become a competition of who can speak the loudest and who can self-promote the most. That’s a competition I don’t want any part of.

If we would only be still for a moment and realize the infinite amount of knowledge and wisdom we don’t have. If we would only realize how much we don’t know and that in reality we’re blind about a lot of stuff. That’s the fear of God.

Also, as Christians, why do we often feel like we need to act so weird? Like why can’t we just act normal? Why do we feel the need to use strange language that people can’t relate to or to like certain music or aesthetics? Why can’t we just be normal, humble, free-thinking people who love Jesus and live differently and boldly?

So much Christianity is basically a bunch of peer pressure. You have to do this, you have to look like this, you have to listen to this, you have to talk like this. You can’t do this, you can’t do that. It just gets exhausting.

I’m just trying to find my place amongst Christians. To be quite honest I struggle to know who to trust. I’ve dealt with so much hypocrisy and so much weirdness. I’ve seen so many crazy and bizarre Christians, or so many immoral and selfish and mean ones who don’t look like Christ at all and make me wonder if the whole gospel is just a lie.

Honestly, I don’t fit in with any of the typical Christian groups. The conservative evangelical Christians have a totally unbiblical political agenda that I simply cannot go along with, the Charismatics are often into some New Agey spirituality based on feelings, the cessationists seem to just want religion without the real Holy Spirit, the liberal Christians believe in some other gospel based on preferences and delusion, the Calvinists base their theology on some arrogant guy who thought it was okay to burn people on the stake, the trendy mainstream Christians care more about happiness than truth, and the list goes on.

The thing is, Jesus can’t be categorized. I don’t think He ever meant for the Church to create these weird factions and denominations and categories. None of them have all the truth. We were supposed to be free. We weren’t supposed to box ourselves in, and we definitely were never supposed to put God in a box. And I hope that we continue to see Christians break out of categories and stop relying on certain leaders or churches or certain theological views or anything else apart from Christ.

So I know this was a very rambly post. I just want to be more honest. I want to stop feeling like I need to talk a certain way or that I need to act like I have spiritual stuff all figured out. Because I don’t. I want to be authentic, and that’s not going to be pretty all the time.

For a long time I haven’t been honest with myself and I haven’t been honest with God. I’ve also tried to put up this front that looks all put together. I’ve found myself feeling like I need to look like a “good Christian girl.” But I’m a bad actress and a bad liar so I just want to be real.

Honestly, for a long time I’ve tried to deny my own humanity without realizing it. But I don’t think God ever asks us to do that. So let’s be honest about our humanity. Let’s be open about the fact that we don’t know what the heck we’re doing half the time.

I’m kind of confused at the moment and I feel pretty lost. But I do think that the gospel is the truth. I do believe that Jesus is the Messiah and that He is God and that He died and rose again. I think that’s the most important thing. But that doesn’t mean that I have my shit together. Because I really don’t. And I’m using a swear word in my post to illustrate that point.

I just want to be authentic. Honestly I think I just need to take a step back from all this Christian culture stuff and just go back to the simple gospel. Read the Bible and not care too much about some old white guy’s interpretation of it. Try to be as objective as possible. Try to care more about obeying Jesus than being a “good” person. Try to die to myself and not worry how other Christians perceive me. Try to care more about God’s opinion of me than anyone else’s. Try to actually do what He says instead of just talking about what He says.

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One thought on “Pursuing Authenticity

  1. I agree with you Bethany, we try to “ACT” like Christians. Thanks for the true words. I’m 56 years old and still forget and get caught up in these things.

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