How Authentic Do I have to Be?

In recent years God has challenged me to live a life of authenticity acknowledging his power and presence in every area of my life. Growing in this area has been a slow but steady process as God has peeled back layer after layer of pride and clothed me in the beautiful grace of Christ.  It is such a peaceful, free place to be, acknowledging who I am in Christ, and living from that place, instead of pretending to be something I’m not.

Seriously though, this process cuts deep and often I am overwhelmed by the burning ache as each layer exposes yet another area of deeply-anchored  pride. But along the way, God is gracious and His patience never failing. Sometimes it’s downright funny how He chooses to expose my ego, and challenge me to walk in truth.

A few weeks ago when I was in Florida for an English Writing workshop I was running through the McDonald’s drive thru quickly to pick up burgers for Roman and my nephew, who I was picking up at Martial Arts class next. I got to the class and couldn’t find the McDonald’s bag. After a quick perusal of the car Marshall (who was with me) and I concluded that while I had paid for the food at the first window, I had been in too much of a hurry and had left without actually picking up the food at the second window! Who does that? Now I have to admit I felt really stupid and in that moment of embarrassment, I began to spin all kinds of possible tales to tell the clerk at the drive-thru window. As I rehearsed these “spins” on Marshall, it suddenly dawned on me that my ego was riding away too high! I looked at Marshall and I said, “You know what, I’m just going to tell them the truth. What’s the point of lying just to make myself feel better!” He gave me one of his “duh” looks but was kind enough not to verbalize a reproof.

As I pulled up to the second window in the drive-thru, before I could say anything, the clerk said, “Did you forget your food?” I laughed and admitted that I certainly had. No point in trying to spin this one. Just acknowledge my own error and accept that the whole staff is probably getting a good laugh over my wacky mistake.

It was a funny yet sobering experience as God showed me how quick I am to try to “spin” my own errors and make myself look good when making Him look good should be the ultimate goal, the singular aspiration of my life. Living in truth means accepting my own shortcomings. Authenticity even with McDonald’s staff that I will likely never see again is an absolute necessity in this process, one that God graciously exposed in such a way that brought humor as well as a healthy dose of humility.


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