I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy! Life in my little corner of the world has been a little crazy the past few weeks but it has been oh so blessed. The blessings come when I’m least expecting them but there have been those definitive moments where I simply smile and look up to heaven and say ‘Thank you. I really needed that today.’ We have such a good God. How lucky are we!?
Ian’s parents came to visit in MY HOMETOWN!!! It was such a whirlwind weekend but it was my favorite. I loved having them here to show them around my neck of the woods. I got to share with them my favorite places and my favorite people. My heart was filled to the brim and I was so sad when they had to leave. I’m so blessed they were willing to make the 7-hour trip out to my home to come see me and meet my family. EEEkkk! To say I am gaining the BEST. FAMILY. EVER. is an understatement.
At one point over the weekend Ian’s dad was giving me a hard time. He likes to do this…apparently, I’m an easy target. As he has gotten to know me, he has persistently tried to discover what my limits are as to how much teasing I can take. Normally, I’m pretty good about taking it and giving it right back. However, if you catch me on an off day, I might be a little sensitive and I will close up like a clam and be real quiet indicating it’s probably time to back off a little. He has seen both sides. I’m not very good at hiding things so usually it is quite obvious.
When he was in my hometown, we had a conversation about this. He was asking me if he should stop teasing me because he never wants to offend me. I love how concerned he is. I don’t think he knows how much I love him and how I will love him no matter what so he really doesn’t have anything to worry about, but, I told him absolutely not! I said if he stopped it wouldn’t be authentic anymore, it would be inorganic and not genuine. He is a jokester and likes to tease and he makes me laugh. He makes me happy and he makes me feel at home when I am in his presence. It is part of what makes our relationship the way it is and I would never want that to change.
Authenticity. I reflected on this little gem of a word a lot over the weekend and over this past week.
Authentic: true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character; not false or imitation; real; actual
I noticed this not just once, but a few times over the weekend while Ian’s parents were here. I truly appreciated authenticity because I was able to see it and recognize it. The very fact that his parents and my parents were the same despite being with new people they had never met before spoke volumes to my heart. I’ve been told this thing happens as we age where we grow into ourselves and become comfortable with who we are, and maybe even more than comfortable, maybe we learn to accept ourselves and love who we are. I’m not at that stage quite yet, but, I’ve been told it’s a thing. I’m still in the learning and creating stage of my identity but pretty sure that’s normal for the stage of life I’m in. But I recognized it in our parents. I saw it pour forth through interactions and conversations. I witnessed it. I admired it. I made a mental bookmark of the moment in my mind so I wouldn’t forget this beautiful example from them.
I think there is something so beautiful about an encounter with true authenticity. When you experience it, you know it. It is so beautiful because it is a moment where two souls meet. There isn’t a barrier, a wall, a guard, or a door. It is simply an invitation from one soul to another to be open, to be free, to just be and let the personality, which is the soul, shine forth. When one lives authentically, they give another permission to follow suit. They give the other individuals an unspoken gift of freedom and acceptance which results in confidence to just be you. One of my favorite quotes speaks of this, “How different our ideas of beauty would be if one saw souls instead of just faces.” Authenticity is beautiful ya’ll. True beauty is discovered in true authenticity. It doesn’t have a size or shape or color. It doesn’t fit into a mold. It isn’t a one size fits all. No, beauty is something so much deeper than the surface and it is first discovered in the authentic, in the true, the real, and actual creation.
God created us all good and He also created us all different. It is what keeps it interesting. Every person is like another note to a grand symphony. We need each piece, each instrument, each note to make it beautiful. God dreamed us up. He literally sat and dreamed about what the world needed and then He created you. Sometimes I sit in that. I sit in the fact that I am God’s dream come true. There isn’t any part of me He wants to change because He chose me to be me and He smiles at me and is happy with what He created. I am the one who criticizes. I am the one who finds flaws. But who am I to tell the artist they made a mistake? I had an art teacher in grade school who taught me that there was no such thing as a mistake in art because the things that artists first thought of as mistakes were the very things that made their artwork the famous pieces they are today. This thought makes me smile because it solidifies the fact that God didn’t make any mistakes when He created me, when He created you.
God infused dreams into our hearts. These are the very things that cause our faces to light up and excitement to pour forth from our hearts for the world to see. Living authentically means not being afraid to chase after those very things God planted in our hearts with reckless abandon. The world needs you to do the very things that makes you come alive. The world needs a slew of on fire people chasing goodness. What a difference it would make.
This is something that made my heart smile this week. One of the things I love most about this blog is the conversations, the connections, and the closeness I get to experience with people that reach out to me. My heart bubbles up with joy and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the people God put in my life. It truly is an honor for me when someone shares their heart with me. It is a blessing for me to be able to share the words, “me too” with another. This week as I was reflecting on this, I had the realization that I was living my dream. My heart swelled with emotion at this thought, at the thought that something I spent a long time dreaming about came to fruition and I was living it…it is happening. I never knew how this was going to look but yet, I jumped and God took my efforts and is helping me fly. This truly is a passion of mine. Thank you to all who take time to read what I have to say and for reaching out to me and engaging with me. It truly means the world to me. I hope the words I write may somehow inspire you to chase after a dream that has been lying dormant in your heart for quite some time and I hope they may inspire you to embrace your own uniqueness and let it shine for everyone to see. I hope my words are comforting and relatable. I hope they help some souls breathe a little easier.
Over the years, I have allowed writing to be an outlet of discovery for me. It now has become an outlet for me to share my heart, to allow the real me to be heard, seen, and known. It is an outlet for me to live authentically. I came across an exercise I did a year or so ago. There were so many things at that time I didn’t know. I find this humorous, especially saying that today, because there remains to be so many unknowns in my life. I guess that is just a part of life. We don’t ever have it all figured out. We never can see the future before it is the present. We are called to walk through life by faith with trust. But anyways, the exercise that was suggested to me in the midst of so many unknowns was to make a list of everything I DO know. At the time I made a list and was told I should laminate it and read it every single day. Well….I didn’t do that. BUT I did happen to come upon it as I was writing this and thought I would close with the list. I’m still discovering myself. I’m still learning and creating and growing. But, WHAT DO I KNOW?
I am loved
I am a gift
I am valuable
I am uniquely designed
I am perfectly imperfect
I am NOT forgotten
God has a plan for me
I am NOT alone
I am known
I am good
I am chosen
I have faith, I believe
Jesus wants me
I am needed-not for what I do but because of who I am. My presence is needed
I am strong
I am enough
I am a delight; therefore, I can have confidence
I am an influencer
I am Michelle
So, ladies and gentlemen, there you have it. My short little list of knowns. It is a good list to revisit. To rest in these truths, to believe these simple truths, and to live these truths with a spirit of humility. I’m going to be praying this week for an increase in the virtue of authenticity. I hope you will join me! Have a good one! God Bless!