Our words matter. The words we say, the words we write and even the words we type across a snap to a friend. They all matter. They all can effect someone or something.
This past week I had the privilege to spend five days with 18 amazing teenagers in New Orleans. It was inspiring and eye-opening (and I have a whole other post about these kids and their awesomeness).
Early on, like maybe the first or second day, I found myself saying “honesty and authenticity” to one of the girls. It was originally in jest as I called out her tall-tale, but it effected her. Those words mattered to her and by golly, that girl got what those words meant.
The effect was long lasting as well (if you call about a week long lasting) because she used my own words to call me out last night, “Remember, Dana, Honesty and Authenticity.” She was even proud that she was able to spout out that mouth full of words with perfect pronunciation.
If I had one word of advice for that group of 18 kids ranging in age from 14 to 19 it would be Honesty and Authenticity.
Good ‘Ol Marriam Webster defines this words as
Honesty (Honest): good and truthful : not lying, stealing, or cheating
Authenticity (Authentic): real or genuine : not copied or false
I want them to know, I want that young girl to know that life is so much fuller when you embrace and live by these words, Honesty and Authenticity.
Life is so so short to live in a world of deceit, to create a world that is false. Truth should be your baseline, your foundation. Be honest with your friends, but remember to be a friendly version of honest. I think that starts inward - be honest with yourself. You will find there are people you meet that are so easy to be friends with - it seems they were made for you. And there are people who are oil while you are vinegar - you just won’t mix. While, God has called you to love, that does not mean that that girl has to come over and do your hair every week. You should be nice (or as I say “be sweet”) to your fellow classmates, but it doesn’t mean that you have to be best friends with everyone.
Oi Vey - where was I? Seems like I went on a tangent.
I think we all get honesty, it’s something we are taught as toddlers, but we still struggle with as adults. I do, too. My “refreshingly honest” side doesn’t always come easily for me - I fight to remain honest, but little white lies are so easy somedays.
Now, Authenticity, well, that is something that I could talk about for hours and hours. I was not authentic growing up - I chose to not be the person that God created me to be. I wanted nothing more than to change everything He had made.
As Tammy Faye Bakker said, “God doesn’t make junk.” You were perfectly made to be absolutely, positively, perfectly you. Your build was no mistake, your eye color was no mistake, you laugh was no mistake - he pieced you together with his own hands. You are not a copy - you are authentically you - so share that with the world, with your friends.
Can I tell you what has happened since I have become authentic with my friendships, with my life, with my love? Things are full, things are bright, relationships are rich! It’s not an on the surface kind of relationship. When you are authentic you let people see the core, what’s going on on the inside.
Life is hard, sometimes. Circumstances suck, sometimes. We all mess up, we all need a do-over now and again. All of these are easier to walk through when you come from a place of honesty and authenticity.