Jesus said: Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27c)
A Word of Hope
When I think of people whom I have most respected and happily befriended it has been those who were most authentic. Perhaps I long to see in others that which I struggle to achieve for myself. It can be challenging to live our lives with authenticity, openness, and a commitment to reality and truth.
Authenticity is about vulnerability with healthy boundaries. Understanding the distinction between being real and really oversharing. After all, people who want to know your viewpoints don’t necessarily care to know your toiletry habits.
Authenticity and healthy boundaries can be elusive. I’ve experienced people with better authenticity and interpersonal boundaries at a nude beach than in some Sunday School Classes I’ve been invited to teach. I recall sitting in a sauna in New Mexico and hearing the wisdom of a much older Native American gentleman who was also naked on a wooden bench nearby. At my prompting, he was offering his views and his culture’s perspective on aging as we sat sweating and with no way to hide our sagging waistlines or flabby bodies. It was a powerful moment that found its way into “Growing Older Without Fear.”
Fear is what stops us. “What will others think?” “Will others still like me?” “Do I have the courage to love, respect and accept myself, without the need for everyone else’s approval?”
Take the step of faith after the teachings and living example of Jesus. Being real in a healthy way equips you to be a better listener of others, teaches you to use appropriate filters to contain and protect yourself, and also comes with another wonderful gift. It is liberating!
Thank you, Holy One, for giving us the opportunity to live as real, vulnerable, available human beings. May we live more like the Jesus we seek to follow. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Gary Kindley, LPC
Pastoral Psychotherapist (and fellow struggler)