Authentic Christianity or Fairy Tale Faith?
I LOVE going to church on Sundays! I wake up with this feeling of anticipation and excitement for the blessings that I will receive from the music and the words that are spoken. There is a feeling of family, tradition and spirituality that can only come from being with a group of other believers. I can be myself when I am at church. If I mess up a song (which, believe me has happened a LOT!) I don't feel embarrassed because I know that my church family loves me and accepts me for who I am and WHOSE I am! But, what about when the clock strikes 12noon and the doors open and it is time to leave this safe haven called church? I admit, I feel a little bit like Cinderella once I leave church on Sunday and the reality of my life and the world start to sink in. How can we carry the feelings of that connection with God with us once we leave the sanctuary? It has taken me many years and several glass slippers later to even begin to understand the authenticity of Christianity and more importantly of myself once I leave the church on Sunday morning. Now, I am not saying that I am always authentic in every situation that I am in, but I am definitely more aware of my authenticity when I am outside the doors of the church. I think that one of the biggest struggles that non-Christians face in dealing with Christians is that there is this persona of being a Christian is more like a fairy tale then a reality. What I mean by that is sometimes when you see someone at church on Sunday morning they are a totally different person than when you see them on Friday night. In other words, they are not being an authentic Christian. They may be a Christian when it suits them or a situation that they may be in, but are they being authentic? Authenticity is not perfection. The Miriam-Webster dictionary defines authentic as "not false or imitation:REAL, ACTUAL. How many authentic people do you know? How many of you are always "real and actual" in every aspect of your life? If I were being honest with myself and with God I would have to say that I sometimes am not an authentic person or an authentic Christian. Wait a minute-didn't Jesus eat with sinners and meet them where they were so he could teach them the word of God? Yes, he did. However, he did not conform to their ways of life-he stayed authentic to his faith and to his God. My pastor just preached a sermon on the "Struggles of Authenticity" and something that he said really stayed with me. He said, "A veil that covers your face will eventually cover your heart." In other words if you can't show the real you to everyone you meet then eventually your heart is going to conform to that same "veil" and not allow God to transform you into who He wants you to be. People that we encounter want to see the "real" you. The more flaws the better. The more heartache you have endured, the more empathy you can offer to someone in a similar situation. The more we allow our human side and our Christianity to become one and the same that is what can make us even more effective witnesses for Christ. I know that not everyone has the same story to tell, but the important thing is that you tell it! Taking those feelings of anticipation and excitement for worship with you once you leave the sanctuary on Sundays is something that can help carry you through to the next Sunday and also be a witness to others about the Glory of God-don't let it fade away! Just like in the story of Cinderella, once her true identity is revealed she is still loved and accepted by her Prince despite her outward appearance and circumstance. God sees us for who we really are. We can dress up and try to disguise ourselves to fit a certain persona, but in the end God loves us for our heart and our witness in furthering His kingdom. 2 Corinthians 3:16 "But when a person changes and follows the Lord, that covering is taken away." Blessings-Nicole