Authenticity: Less about What I’m Doing, More about Who I Am in Christ

authenticity explanation

OK, blog readers. It’s confession time.

In a season when I find myself living in one country but longing for the comfort of the one I call home, I have to admit that being authentic in my relationships is hard.

So when I was asked to write a blog post about that exact topic, well . . . you see the dilemma.

In the country I live in, I don’t tell everyone that I’m a cross-cultural worker because, for my safety, not everyone needs to know. Several friends do know more about what I’m doing here and why, but I struggle to share the details of what my life is like even with those friends.

As a result, I tend to open up more to my American friends who understand life here and less to my South Asian friends.

The longer I’ve lived here though, the more I’ve learned about how to be authentic with my South Asian friends who are believers. I bring them into what I’m doing, share my heart about my work, and encourage them to share with their lost friends. I’ve learned that my authenticity is less about what I’m doing and more about who I am in Jesus Christ.

Authenticity is important because it allows us to go deeper in our relationships and share with those close to us more about how Jesus has changed our lives.

When we’re not our true selves with others, it causes friction and distrust in our relationships. Imagine if Jesus never told His 12 disciples that He was the Son of God. What if He had told them He was just a carpenter?

That would make verses like Luke 9:23, where Jesus calls His disciples and us to deny ourselves and take up our crosses daily, a lot harder to follow. Jesus as just a carpenter isn’t worth following, but Jesus as the Son of God is.

This verse also gives us a picture of authenticity. Denying ourselves and taking up our crosses is not an easy thing, but when we do that, our relationship with God becomes the core of how we define our authentic selves.

When I define my authenticity as Jesus defined His, it’s easier to share with people—no matter the culture—how God picked a girl from the Bible Belt of America to travel thousands of miles away to a place that needs to hear about the authentic Jesus.

Emily Todd* is a cross-cultural worker serving among the people of South Asia.

*Name changed.

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