1:19 How to Be Authentic
17:03 Being Authentic with Sarah Dubbeldam
41:10 Encouragement: God Did Not Create You to Berate You
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A couple of years ago, I was asked to write an article for a very professional publication. Their readers are intellectuals, academics, and probably more conservative and elite. So, you can imagine my surprise that they wanted me—someone who prefers to be more casual and down to earth—to write an article for them about starting a business.
I submitted the article and was a little surprised when they came back with feedback that the tone of my writing was “too chatty.” I was like, Really? You’re surprised by that? Have you not heard me speak, read my blogs, or listened to one of my podcasts? Because that tone is actually my entire brand!
I remember thinking, If you don't want chatty, then you probably don't want me.
I felt like this publication wanted me to be someone I wasn't. They wanted me to write like an academic with big fancy words, and that's just not how I write, talk or connect with people.
Thankfully, we ended up getting to a good place where they felt like the article met their standards and could be published while staying true to my voice. But it was really eye-opening for me to realize how important it is to not only be authentic, but to be confident in that authenticity, even when life and other people try to push you around or tell you to be someone you're not.
That's why today I want to walk you through how to be authentic in your daily life. This is going to help you not only be authentic, but also remain authentic no matter who tries to push you around. Let’s jump right in . . .
Let me go ahead and start by saying this is not my idea. Brené Brown introduced this idea of vulnerability years ago with her book Daring Greatly and her TED Talk “The Power of Vulnerability.” It's a brilliant concept that says, as we step out in vulnerability—as we open ourselves up, not just to pain but also to love—we’re able to have deeper connections and a deeper sense of confidence in who we really are.
As an Enneagram eight, vulnerability is really hard for me. So often I want to put up a tough exterior like I've got it all together. But the truth this: Authenticity is about trueness, and you can’t live your truest self without being vulnerable. If you’re always holding back a piece of yourself or hiding behind a tough exterior, how can you become who God created you to be?
That’s why vulnerability is so important when it comes to being authentic.
There are two extremes when it comes to telling the truth: There are those who never share the truth, and those who refuse to accept the truth.
Those who never want to share the truth lack the ability to be vulnerable. They want to act like everything is always great, so when someone asks how they’re doing—even if they’re going through a hard time or their kids are driving them crazy—their response is always, “Oh, I’m fine. I'm doing great.”
The other extreme are those who downplay or don’t acknowledge when things are going well in their lives. You know, this person: You give them a compliment about a beautiful meal, a flattering dress, or the way they lead the charge on a big project at work, and they dismiss it or downplay it. They say something like, “Oh, this old thing?” or “It was really a team effort. I didn’t do much.”
When you dismiss compliments, you're not only dismissing your own sense of confidence in that moment, but you're also dismissing the truth. So, instead of always rejecting the kind things people say about you, resist the urge to say anything other than thank you. To live a more authentic life, tell the truth—when things aren’t going well and when they are.
So often we identify with the roles we play, like wife, mom, sister, friend, leader, etc. And what's interesting is, if we're not careful, we’ll always operate from the surface level of our roles. We’ll fulfill tasks for the people in our lives while missing the deeper layer of what our mind and our heart truly desires and values.
We say things like: “I’d love to work out, but I don't have time to. I value playing with my kids outside, but by the time I get home from work, I don't have any energy left. I’d love to go on a vacation with my husband, but we haven't even been on a date in months.” How can you say you truly value those things when you don’t actually do them?
When you don't spend your life and your time on things that are important to you, you'll live your life stressed, anxious and exhausted because there's an inconsistency between what you value and what your life actually reflects. So, a key to being authentic is to close that gap—to identify what’s important to you, and then actually do those things.
It's amazing how we—women especially—will spend our entire day, from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep, beating ourselves up about how we look, how we dress, how we keep our house, how we parent our kids, how we fail at work, etc. It’s an all day, every day narrative in our head that is mean and exhausting.
But you know what? You can't offer something you don't have, and you can't lead others where you are not. So, if you want to love people in your life, sister, you better love yourself first.
I love how Brené Brown says, “Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.”
Here’s a really practical tip to help you do that: Go to your Bible! God has some amazing things to say about you. He says He delights over you with singing. That He knit you together in your mother's womb. That He would move heaven and earth for you. That he chose you and that he loves you. You are precious in his sight. Replace the lies in your head and heart with those truths.
If you’ll practice these four things, you’ll be on your way to living a much more authentic life—one that is true to you and that you’re proud of.
I'm so excited about my guest today, Sarah Dubbeldam! Sarah is the founder and creative director of Darling Media and Darling magazine, a publication that celebrates real women. I love this magazine so much. They have a beautiful quote on the back of their magazine that I believe illustrates what it means to live authentically. It says:
“Darling is the art of being a woman. Darling magazine holds the modern mold of women up to the fire to evoke a discussion on femininity and reshape an authentic design. Darling is a catalyst for positive change; leading women to discover beauty apart from vanity, influence apart from manipulation, style apart from materialism, sweetness apart from passivity, and womanhood without degradation. Darling leads women to practice the arts of virtue, wit, modesty and wisdom, all while creating beauty and embodying love. Darling says women are not only interesting but original, not only good enough, but exceptional, not just here but here for a purpose.”
On this episode, Sarah and I talk about:
A few months ago, I had an experience that absolutely rocked me to my core.
My husband, Matt, and I were hanging out at our friend’s house for a cookout. The weather was amazing so we—the adults and the kids—were hanging out in the backyard.
My husband watched the boys while I ate, and when I finished, I told him I’d take over watching the boys so he could go inside and get some food.
Well, I went to throw my plate of food away, and the next thing I know, I see my husband running out of the back door to the front of the house. And as soon as I saw him dart past me, I knew what had happened: Conley, my son, had run off.
I took off after my husband and saw Conley standing at the end of the driveway with his toes on the street as cars were flying by. Thank God we got him. Nothing happened. But him getting out of the backyard and near the street was my fault. I was supposed to be watching him.
I cried the rest of the day and kept thinking, How could I be so stupid? What must my husband think of me? What must my friends think? Those thoughts went on and on as I beat myself up about the mistake I’d made.
Now, I want to be clear: The mistake I made that day—taking my eyes off Conley—was not okay.
But you know what else was not okay? How I lived in that shame for the rest of the day.
As I was praying throughout the day—praying and crying and praying and crying—I felt God say to me, “Christy, we’re a team. Conley is my son too, and I'm going to help you when you fall short. I'm going to be there. There's grace for you in your mistakes.”
I was so incredibly thankful for that reminder. And today, I just want to remind you: When you have those kind of voices in your head—when you make a mistake or you slip up and you're just beating yourself up—I want you to stop and ask yourself a question: Is this what God says about me?
Because I guarantee you, those voices are not from God because God did not create you to berate you.
God will coach. He will correct. He will convict. He will help you grow, improve and mature. But He will not tear you down. He is a God who builds up. He is a God who gives grace. He is a God who shows up. And He is a God who loves His children.
God doesn't just love Conley. God loves me—even in my flaws, my failures and my setbacks.
I love how the Bible reminds us that God is love. First and foremost, God is loving. So, if the thoughts you're feeling or the words you're hearing in your mind aren’t loving, then they're not from God. At the end of the day, the most important identity you take on is that of a loved, chosen daughter of the King. Rest in that today.
I hope this not only encourages you to appreciate someone that might be wired differently than you, but also gives you some practical tips to work better with them.