Thursday, June 5, 2008



Webster: 1) Authoritative; reliable - 2) genuine; real


Webster: 1) That can be wounded or injured -

2) open to, or liable to be hurt by, criticism or attack.

The Lord has these two words running through my thoughts and heart this morning.

I was surprised when I looked up the official definition on authentic to see the first usage to be authoritative and reliable. I've always thought of, and used it, in the second definition of genuine or real.

So we must ask ourselves: Just how authentic am I? Am I authoritative? Am I reliable? Am I genuine? Am I real? Four very distinct questions and although similar, yet different. I could be very real and not be at all reliable. I could be very reliable. What I tell you I will do you can count on. But I might not be real about my motives. I could be very authoritative and not be genuine. I could be very open and genuine but not authoritative at all and not voice my true opinion or thought.

In thinking about being authentic I believe the main reason so many people aren't, both in real flesh and blood life and blogland, is the fear of the second word....being vulnerable. It's very true, if you are truly genuine and real, no false fronts, no phoniness, you will make yourself vulnerable. You could be wounded or injured and you most certainly will be open to, and quite liable to be hurt because you could be criticised and even attacked.

So what are the prices we pay for not being authentic, genuine and real?

I have my opinions, and as you know I don't hesitate to voice them. But before I do, and I will in a later post, I would love to hear what all of you have to say on this subject.

Here is a real chance to be AUTHENTIC and VULNERABLE

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Jenileigh said...

How true this is. And of course comes at such a time that I've been wrestling with some things. Things you really don't want to say out loud or share with others because of fear of what they would think or say. Things I wish had a clearer understanding of.

I think its easier to be real when you are really sure where you stand on a matter but when you are learning or in the process of trying to accept new revelation, or just trying to come to terms with a thing, or knowing you are pretty much standing alone with a belief, its hard to be authentic (in terms of the definition you gave) and for me its never easy to make self vulnerable. I'm so tender.


RealEstateGirl said...

So good to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by! I don't have much time to visit, but just know I miss you and all your wisdom!

The Olson's: said...

Wow! Great food for thought!

I, too, usually think of authentic as being genuine/real. You made some great points - you can be genuine but not be reliable, etc. And vulnerability does seem to really connect with being authentic. I am constantly being surprised at how many people are not vulnerable; don't open up & share their thoughts/feelings.

Thank you for sharing the things God has prompted & put on your heart.
~ Leanne

Mountain Mama said...

This is a very interesting and thought provoking post.
As I read I thought of the many people who have suffered from rejection. Some as children and some as adults. I believe the fear of rejection can cause people to try and present themselves differently than they are. I know this to be true in at least some cases.
The sad thing is that it's usually the one doing the rejecting who needs to make changes.
When I see someone who is not presenting themselves honestly I feel compassion and pray for them, because they have been hurt so badly that they aren't able to see that the person God created in them is good and acceptable.

Dawn said...

Very interesting thoughts. Some things I'd like to say here in blogland, but I can't take the risk of someone reading it who should not. Does that make sense?

Dawn said...

I totally agree with your comment to my comment. I believe that, on my site, "what you see is what you get!"

retha said...

To not be authentic is to live a lie. In the end my relationship with the LORD will be affected.


To be quiet honest, and that is what I try to always be, On my blog I say things just the way that I think and feel them. I don't know how to be another way. I have to answer to God for the things that I say. I do try to say things in a way so as not to hurt others but I have to be real about what I believe and how I believe.

I don't really have much respect for someone who dances around what they believe. I like to know where a person stands. The I can know if I want to have a realtionship with that person or no. They have the same right about me. I love people and always try to find something that I can respect and stay there but I can not be something that I am not. I can be hurt very easily by what people say to me that seems like rejection but I do try to understand that none of us see things exactly the same way and then I look at what they are saying. If it is something that I need to hear, I try to apply it but if not, I discard it.

I am not sure if this is what you are looking for or not but it is how I feel. I try to be reliable because I want people to be realiable where I am concerned. Thank you, Susan. connie from Texas

Jenileigh said...

I wanted to come back to say that I hope that my comment didn't come across as me saying that I'm not real. What I meant is that there are many things I don't share, start topics on ect...because of the vulnerability. Fear of starting debates. I care too much sometimes.

Saija said...

food for thought ...

blessings on ya ...

Sharon said...

I feel that if you are truly yourself, you don't have to worry about the rest. I want to be authoritive and reliable as a Christian and as a friend and also very genunine and real. I feel that I am week in th eauthoritive department, but I know I am reliable, genunine and real.

God bless you Susan!

Hugs, Sharon

Nadine said...

Being real is risky, but it's better than the alternative. When you risk you leave yourself open to help someone else who may be going through the same thing and have felt all alone and now they no longer do. You never know who you touch when you are just being you.

Great post. Thank you for making me think.

diana said...

great post, susan. i love when you write something that gets me thinking to the point where i have to formulate my thoughts into words. in doing so, my thoughts needed to become my own post (hope you don't mind).

something i didn't mention in my post, though, is the whole aspect of being authentic and vulnerable here in blogland. i think we can only obtain a certain level of authenticity shearly due to the meduim of blogs. it's not the same as a physical person to person relationship.

i look forward to the rest of your thoughts on this subject.

Anonymous said...

I think it's very hard for me to be totally vulnerable in life. I have been hurt many times and there is a wall up of protection. My fear of rejection keeps that wall pretty high at times.

I find that once a trust is gained with someone the wall begins to crumble and the trust over powers my fears.

Although I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, I must admit that my flesh holds me back more than I care to admit. That shows you that I am a work in progress...the good part is I AM making progress.

Great post Susan!

Larissa said...

Wow...that was a great post. Very thought provoking. I've never thought of authentic as being authoritative.

I like Jenileigh's comments. I desire to be very authentic, but being that way also means you can and will be critized at times for what you think, feel or do.

I don't like being vulnerable, but sometimes we are and should be. I think the important thing is learning to become wise to the things that we should and should not be vulnerable to. That is sooo hard! For myself, I have a very hard time seeing bad things in people. I want to see the good and have an approach that gets me in trouble, because I want to believe the best about everyone and I open myself up sometimes to things that I shouldn't because of this.

I wish more people would be open to their feelings, that does give a sense of being authentic...not to be confused with perfect...just authentic.

Kansas Bob said...

IMHO, both of these words are ones that can only be lived from the heart.

groovyoldlady said...

My husband is the master of "authentic". He's so open and honest that he occasionally uses it as an excuse for sin. ie. "I feel hurt or angry or hopeless or sad and, by golly, everyone is going to know it."

I'm on the other end of the spectrum. As one with a natural flare for drama, I am used to acting; to pretending to be other than I am. I can be one of those smiling "Church faces" that's dying inside.

He and I are both growing and maturing and, since we're opposites, helping each other find balance. God is teaching us both how to be real and honest without being jerks about it. :-)

Alisun said...

It is not easy to open your heart when you know it will be judged by others who may now be as willing to share their faults it does make us feel vulnerable. Although in order to help other you have to willing to go first.

Desia said...

This is something one should think on often...In blogland, I think it's sometimes not so easy to choose to be authentic. You leave yourself open to criticism (being vulnerable) as some mentioned, but you may also hurt someone else, or come across as someone your'e not. There are many things I will not blog about, because I want to be authentic, but my blogging may hurt others who do not see or believe or understand as I see and believe and understand. I once deleted a post, although it was my honest (authentic) opinion of something, I noticed at rereading it, that it could come across as judgmental and hurtful to some.

Being vulnerable, no one likes that. But it's probably part and parcel of living authentically, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan. My opinion is that one needs to learn how to react properly to criticism without being hurt. For instance, if you get a negative, anonymous comment on your blog which bashes what you say- instead of deleting it, getting hurt, and calling the person "mean", you should make a separate post, quoting that person, and respectfully and firmly answering them. I did this with one on my blog.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you should have deleted that post. Your blog is your blog, and if someone is hurt by it, then that's their thing. They don't have to read it, and they can choose not to come back to your blog. You should be authentic on your blog, because it's all about your own path in life.

Scooterblu's Whimsy said...

Hi Susan, It's been a busy week, so I am just getting caught up on my blogging! I have had the unique experience, that blogging has helped me to become more authentic. ...and more vulnerable! For whatever reason, I'm not an open person in "real life." I don't know the reasons behind the overwhelming fear of being rejected because I do not fit in, so over the years, I felt I'd lost a part of me...or actually alot of my identity. Blogging has helped me realize, that I do like certain things, I do feel certain ways, and has helped me open up to my family! Unfortunately, my family loves to read my blog, and has seen a side of me they didn't really know existed! I say unfortunately, because I thought they KNEW how I felt about them, without me having to wear my heart on my sleeve and tell them. I thought that was being "too vulnerable." I thought my husband knew how much I appreciate the life that he has created for us, to which we give God all the Glory, His blessings! I have to admit, it hurts a little, when I read some blogs and they have so many comments left, and they seem so popular! ...and when I reach out to other bloggers that I think I have common interest with and am ignored or snubbed. But for the most part, blogging has helped me get back in touch with who I really am and am so thankful for the friends that I have made online! ...and more importantly, it has provided the "openess," my family so desperately hungered for, and I didn't even know we needed. I have a long way to go, and to be authentic, leaving myself vulnerable is a constant struggle! But praise God, it is a lot better than it was! ~Rhonda :)

Momma Roar said...

Great post. I think I let myself be pretty vulnerable and then I get upset at myself for sharing so much...I've found too many people who like to "dig" for information for their own reasons but come across as caring...and I trust them...only to be burned later.

I'm learning to be more cautious, but is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Going to read your 2nd post on this now!