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I went to bed thinking about the class I signed up for this Friday.

Apparently, my mind was problem-solving while I was sleeping, trying to determine a moment in time when I was authentic, genuine. And for the most part there has been no drum roll, no defining moment where I went “Aha! I’ve discovered me!” For me it has been more of a process, a deliberate, daily stance of wanting to present, in the moment.

If I had to choose an event, it would be the day I rewrote my personal statement of faith. When I was in Bible college our theology professor assigned us the task of writing a personal statement of faith based on the model churches use. However, he also gave us a list of things that must be included. I dutifully completed the assignment, minus one “must have” that I didn’t know where I stood because I felt the information I had was biased. Of course I got docked for not including all the “must haves.” I gladly accepted the B, because I felt I was being genuine in that moment.

Fast Forward about 25+ years, my pastor preached a series on Simple and simplifying our lives by letting go of the unimportant. As I was recovering from a divorce after 20 years of marriage I was in the place of “finding myself.” This sermon on simplicity begged me to look at my personal statement of faith again and consider rewriting it. After much thought and searching inward to determine what I really do believe I decided that I only really believe those statements that I live by. These statements were more than beliefs they were convictions, what I know to be true and was willing to take a firm stand on.  In other words, I was only going to choose the beliefs that i lived out on a daily basis.

My personal statement of faith went from a “must have” list of 15-20 beliefs, down to a solid 3 point statement of “This I Believe.”

There was an immense weight that fell off of me, a sense of freedom, a pure joy that I could be me, without religious restraints, without having to wear all the fake masks of religiosity. This was a defining moment in my life as I exchanged my religious beliefs for spirituality. And thus began my journey as a spiritual being having a physical experience. This experience opened the door for me to recognize my spirituality in place of my religiosity. It opened the door for me to live freely and genuinely. It has allowed me to “be” and to “become” instead of always trying to meet the Christian standard and feeling like a failure. Living by my convictions has opened me up to listen intently to others without judgment or condemnation, I stand secure in my beliefs, there is no need to defend them. They are personal, they are mine. They are the culmination of my personal life journey. There is no need to judge myself or judge others. And I am always free to re-examine my beliefs to see if they still hold true. There is no penalty, no guilt, no shame, no blame. There is only love and acceptance.

It was through this process over the years that I have able to say I love who I am, I love who I am becoming.

The process continues.

It is an every day experience of choosing to love myself as I am, today, right now, in this moment, while also loving myself for the awareness and ability to change and grow and to become. I love the inner freedom, the inner authenticity that allows me to be more genuine, more authentic, more open and understanding, that gives me room to breathe and be more accepting. 

For me, authenticity is a journey, it is a choice that I get to choose every moment of every day. I like to think that I choose a little more authenticity every day. I set myself up to be successful every day by choosing to be authentic. I love who I am. I love who I am becoming.

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