Being in school again and writing research papers every quarter leaves little time (or really energy) for posting as frequently on my blog, which I miss. But when my academic life coincides with my spiritual life, it warrants a post. I wrote a couple weeks ago about finding a balance between being authentic and adaptable in your life. I didn’t mean to imply that you shouldn’t always be authentic. Instead, I want to challenge the definition that we so often hear: that being authentic means you need to figure out who you are and stick to that.
Rather, authenticity is a process of discovering who you are. That’s where the adaptability part comes into play. We graduate from college and feel like we have to figure out what we do in order to tell people who we are. Yet our vocation is only one aspect of our identity. That’s why I like the word calling — it encompasses various aspects of who are you while holding onto this identity loosely, recognizing that we become more and more of who we are as we progress on our journey.
Authenticity is a posture of learning: learning who you are, what works and what doesn’t, and growing into more of who you were created to be.
I just gave you the academic side of what I’m studying about calling, but where does this intersect with where I am spiritually?
A couple weeks ago, I sat on the porch with my friend/mentor as I explained my word of “release” and breaking free from the cycle of striving. After listening to me, her response was unexpected. I anticipated wisdom of trusting God’s control, but what she offered spoke exactly into what I needed to hear. She affirmed that I was created to be a self-starter, who is achievement-oriented and independent. Because my independence is rooted in community, living an authentic Christian life doesn’t mean that I swing to the other side of the spectrum and abandon my motivation to make an impact — That would be living out of fear. Instead, I can confidently claim my identity and sense of self, knowing that I was created this way. I am freed to work hard, knowing that rather than trying to change or hide my identity, it’s instead about aligning it with the character of Christ.
We’re told to say, “This is who I am. I’m sorry. Deal with it.” (Sometimes the “sorry” part is left out.) Let’s break away from this mentality, and claim freedom. Authenticity is approaching your identity with adaptability. This is who I am currently, but I am learning to grow in character and live out who I am created to be.