Since my birthday last week, I’ve been thinking about how I would prefer to live in the days and months ahead. I’m sharing a poetic prayer about learning to love our authentic selves: warts, wrinkles and all, and the life we have been given, plus some thoughts on how best to achieve it.
Help me to love the real me,
not the carefully curated
and cultivated persona
I might want the world
to see and believe.
Let me accept my weaknesses,
anxieties and fears,
and help me release them
all into your loving hands.
As I come to closely abide
with you, may I become
strengthened on the inside,
made right by your mercy
and grace, held, loved, kept safe.
May I appreciate your deep
generosity in giving
the same to those who labour
faithfully for you for years
or who say your Name
only on their death-bed.
When I peer into the long,
darkened corridor of my soul,
may I see your light shining
brightly as it flares in my heart
and ever beckons me Home.
In seeking to be authentic, it requires a degree of inner awareness and vigilance for us to not slip into grumbling and complaining about our circumstances, especially when we live with chronic illness and pain on a daily basis.
But if we can choose to acknowledge life’s many difficulties, while we marvel at the grace we see, and seek to magnify it more than the grittiness we’re experiencing, then I believe we can learn to become more content while remaining authentic.
“Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” — Psalm 16:5-6 NIV
Can we echo these words and say that the boundary lines have fallen for us in pleasant places, like the psalmist did? Perhaps, if we think they really have and base our assessment on what we see, the supposedly tangible signs of blessing from God.
And maybe a slower yes if we deliberately look for the good in everything, whether intrinsically good or bad in itself. If we seek God’s hand at work within the challenges of life and let eyes of faith lead us, instead of feelings of fear or lack of trust.
Because we can experience physical limitation, sickness, disease, weakness and pain in our bodies, but our spirit doesn’t have to be (or feel) confined or constrained. It’s potentially the most youthful and freest part of us.
Through Jesus Christ we have instant access to heaven’s throne room, the most spacious place of all, and the vastness of our heavenly Father’s infinite, unconditional love, His unlimited mercy and forgiveness, and His authentic, grace-filled presence with us.
“You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.” — Psalm 31:8 NIV
Nothing else quite steals our joy like ingratitude, comparison and complaining. It might hurt to lead an authentic, God-honouring life, because self-interest will have to be set aside.
It might be uncomfortable to be real with ourselves and others, but oh the relief when we discover how similar we really are! Fear, envy, comparison and FOMO will gradually slip away if we don’t feed them a diet of unrelenting social media.
And if we accept who we actually are before God, namely His precious and esteemed children who play a vital part in His Kingdom plans. Because each one of us has our own small, vital, and lovingly designated place in the scheme of things.
Our deepest reality is when we’re rooted deeply in Christ, drawing our daily sustenance and strength from Him. We will become our best, most authentic selves as we seek Holy Spirit’s help to grow in greater Christ-likeness through our dependence and faith in Him. And that’s a really freeing thing! 🙂 ❤