Heart Choices: Being Authentic and Real -->

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Being Authentic and Real

Last week I wrote a post entitled "Are You Authentic?". If you missed it, you can link there to read it first.

At the end of the post I asked questions to stimulate a discussion on this topic. I was thrilled to read so many different comments. I always enjoy a good discussion and don't mind reading viewpoints that may be different from my own ...as long as they are respectful.

I recently came across a blog called Imparting Grace. Richella's "Defining Moment" was definitely written from her heart.

The topic of authenticity and being real has been brewing inside of me for a long time. My prayer partner Helen and I have discussed this much over the years.

But I think Richella's blog post was the catalyst ....that got me writing about this now.

(Photo credit: Richella's husband)

I'm sure you'll agree that Richella is a beautiful woman. Her husband took this photo of her on Kiawah Island, where they honeymooned and have since returned with their children. It's one of their favorite places to visit.

But Richella shared that this photo is very selective, showing only the parts of her that she likes. She continued as she explained that she has a large birthmark that covers most of the right side of her body.

Read Richella's own words:

"And over the years I have lied about my birthmark. Many times, people have asked me, "Does it hurt?" Invariably, I say, "No; it doesn't hurt."

That's not true. It does hurt. It doesn't hurt much physically; it's a little uncomfortable sometimes. But emotionally it does hurt. It hurts to look funny; it hurts to have people stare at you; it hurts to have people exclaim, "Oh my gosh! What happened to you?"

But the fact is that I've let it define me. In spite of having a husband who loves me and who thinks I'm beautiful, I've thought of myself as someone who could look okay but could never be beautiful."

As I read her words, my heart was touched. This beautiful sensitive Christian woman didn't feel beautiful because of her birthmark. As I read the comments at the end of her post, they only contained words of love and encouragement. I believe that as Richella was open and vulnerable, we grew to love her even more.

After all, how many of us have our own birthmarks? They may not all be physical. But maybe you've defined yourself by:
  • Past hurts in your life
  • Childhood abuse from someone you thought you could trust
  • A sin you committed and thought God could never forgive you
  • Overwhelming shyness
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Intimacy issues

You see, not all of our issues can be seen from the outside. But remember that God not only sees our outside; He sees into our hearts and knows the cause of those issues. He sees the motives and understands.

I left a comment on Richella's post expressing my opinion and asking her permission to link to her story. She graciously agreed and emailed me this beautiful response:

"You know, protecting privacy is a good thing. But I think maybe we can all protect our families' privacy and be authentic about the way we present ourselves. It's so easy to fall into the trap of editing everything we say about ourselves, admitting only the part that we think will be pleasing to our audiences. It's kind of funny that we would do this online, just like we sometimes do in "real" life! Maybe we should all try to be authentic in our writing and kind and gracious in our reading and commenting. I say bravo to you for promoting this idea."

That's the kind of person Richella is; beautiful on the outside but more importantly ...beautiful on the inside.

As you can see, I can really get into this topic so I think I'll continue next Monday.

I encourage you to visit Richella and read her first hand account on her "Defining Moment" post. And tell her how you came to find her. Let's share our love with others.

Can you identify with Richella? Are there areas in your life that you've allowed to define you and hold you back?
Debbie Petras
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  1. This is a beautiful post and a topic that I am drawn to as well. Cannot wait to read Richalla's post. Thank you for sharing her story.
    Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,

  2. Beautiful once again Debbie!

    God is doing a beautiful work in you as you open up each week to the truths He has for you!

    I'm blessed by watching you bloom where you are!

    I love you!

  3. God bless her. You're right Debbie, many of our hidden things might not be "seen" with the natural eyes.

    Maybe I am too much of an open book! I tend to lay it all out there.

    Mercy, my weight loss pictures are enough to keep me humble. Scream.

    Thank you for sharing your heart Debbie. You truly are beautiful inside and out!

  4. Always a blessing when I can get over and read your words. oozing with encouragement for all of us. Thank you dear one, for the gentle reminder to be real in my life, in my writing, with my Lord.

    I'm learning alongside of you,
    Sarah Dawn

  5. Self-disclosure is a sensitive topic even outside of the blogging world. Some preaching teachers say a preacher should not engage in self-disclosure - it threatens to center the sermon on self instead of Christ.

    My thought is that self-disclosure done properly can shed light on how the mercy of Christ has made a difference in our lives. Without concrete examples, lessons about God's grace and mercy can be mere theory. Personal testimony puts a face to God's continuing work.

    Good thoughts in these posts.


  6. Hi Debbie, What a great inspirational post and thank you for linking it to Richalla's post.
    This is so true for many of us, especially if you didn't grow up feeling a sense of self. I love reading your posts and insights.
    Have a blessed day!

  7. Beautiful post that had so much truth in it that it hurts! Thanks for this and thank your friend for her ability to just be real.

  8. Oh Debbie,

    I am going to try to try and get over there today and read her post. What a beautiful post! I can't tell you how many times my husband will say "You look so beautiful Peach" and my instant reaction is "No, I don't"....sigh!

    Love you, my friend.

  9. Debbie--I so "get this"....I've thought some of this.
    I will go and read her post...I enjoyed your post on Lisa's blog! She talked about you this weekend and how much she LOVES you! How your hearts are so alike!

    I hope to one day get to hug your neck!!!

  10. So important that we're real with one another as sisters in Christ. LOVE this series!



I love to read your comments! I know you have something to share so join in the conversation. And thank you for taking the time.

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