Confession: When it comes to characters in the Bible that I admire I would have to say it’s David hands down. The passion for God, the ability to give bears, lions, and giants a good thrashin, and his amazing leadership are all something I want to emulate. But most of all it’s his authenticity with God and with people that makes him one of my favorites. That being said when I answer the question: who in the Bible am I most like? I would have to say Jacob. The liar. The manipulator. The deceiver. The supplanter. Now in my younger days it was boldfaced streaking in the park lies. Outright lies that were clearly black and white but later on I acquired a new skill. I learned how to manipulate people with my words, to give an appearance of truth. To avoid actual lying by nodding my head, using the right language, or by not saying anything at all. I learned how to be inauthentic. I learned to act like everything was ok when I was furiously raging inside (pastors are good at this). I learned to give the impression that I liked certain things just to get along and keep relationships peaceful (wives hate this). By doing all that I actually made things worse for myself and for others. Over the past few years I have been in the pursuit of living an authentic WYSIWYG life and it has been joyful and heart wrenching to reach for such a lofty goal.
The Ideal: When it comes to authenticity someone greater than David comes to mind-Jesus. Looking at the Gospels we get a close up glimpse of a life of integrity. Jesus pulled no punches whether he was addressing Pharisees, political figures, or prostitutes. He was always the same and those around him never had to guess what he was about or his feelings towards them. He truly lived a WYSIWYG life.
WYSIWYG is an acronym in the computer world for What You See Is What You Get. It describes a system in which the content you have been editing closely resembles the finished product. So instead of a lot of code you mostly get the content. That’s the way I want to live my life. How about you?
The Remedy: Like me, your life may closely resemble Jacob’s or his grandfather Abraham’s (the guy lied and said his wife was his sister just to save his own neck) and not the life of David or Jesus. The question then becomes How do I live an authentic WYSIWYG life? Here are a couple of suggestions:
Silence and solitude
Go off to the park or even the mountains. Get away to some secluded place and begin to sense who you are in God’s eyes. Most of our inauthenticity comes from an unhealthy attachment to people and detachment from God. Being in solitude and silence gives us time to be ourselves. You can’t get more authentic than that.
Root yourself in the love of God
Closely related to what was said above is rooting ourselves in the love of God. In the book of Ephesians Paul writes:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19 ESV)
Memorize and meditate on scripture that speaks of God’s love for you. Personalize it. Why? Most of our inauthenticity is motivated by an unhealthy hunger for the “love” of others. When we are rooted in God’s love we know the love of others is false and cannot be relied on and we can trust that our authentic self is forever loved by God.
Do something you have always wanted to do but fear has held you back. Each time that fear held you back your authentic self went into a corner to hide. It’s time to bring him or her out. Whatever that thing is stop making excuses and take action! Whether it’s learning to do martial arts or getting on stage and performing or asking that girl out face your fears and your authentic self will come shining through.
So there is my confession and hopefully some good tips for all of you fellow travelers on the journey to an authentic WYSIWYG life.
What about you, Do you have any other tips on how to become a truly authentic person?