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Why Loving Others is More Important Than Being Authentic

Lately, I have been embracing what I believe is God-given sassiness. I have a very specific sense of humor that I have only found in one other person- my sister. Something about my mom's laugh-at-herself goofiness and my dad's biting sarcasm combined to make a particular sass that my sister and I share. And I love that.

Well, perhaps this kind of sense of humor, (as well as all of my authentic traits) isn't always ideal. I went into the car shop the other day, and the guy at the car shop made a joke. I laughed politely (and pretty honestly. It was a good joke). I came back to get my car 4 hours later. He made the SAME joke. I think many people would have nodded and smiled, but not me. I said, "Well sir, that joke is only funny once" and then audibly giggled at my own comment, assuming he would think it was funny too. He seemed a little hurt.

Why I bring that story up now is because I think it was a good example of my authenticity NOT always lining up with loving others.

Being sassy and unashamedly honest are very true to my being. BUT I was convicted after- Did I really show love to that random man behind the counter? Was his day more beautiful because of me? Sure i was authentic, but I didn't feel loving. Actually, i concluded that I probably made that man's day worse.

And that is when my mom gave a final convicting jab:

"God didn't command to us "You must be authentic" but He did say (many times) "Love others.""

So does being a loving person mean that I cannot sass? For so long, I had tried to be the 'perfect' Christian in my disposition and speech. But the thing is- there isn't one way to 'talk Christian'. Sass and humor can definitely fit into loving dialect. Hiding my sassiness...and other characteristics... was not more or less Christian

but it was less 'myself.' God made everyone uniquely and that is one of the most wonderful things to me.

But, in opposition to my extreme self-sensoring of the past, I now forgot to sensor myself at all. I was left with a very authentic, yet not-always-loving version of myself. I forgot that loving others should be a higher priority than being authentic.

When my 'real' inkling is to say something that is not loving others, then I should shut my mouth.

When feeling 'myself' means ignoring someone that annoys me, then I should get over it.

And when ‘being authentic’ means laughing in someone's face, then I should really reconsider what my priorities are.

Because if love fails to be most important to me, my authenticity is going to come at a high price: hurting others.

What is SO wonderful : when we combine love and authenticity, I believe we have the most meaningful conversations with others and the most impact in/on the world. I know that my intense honesty and unique sense of humor can make people more comfortable and serve a loving purpose. I believe that God made people differently and wants us to use those differences to love. I want to embrace that by finding more and more of how God uniquely made me and then using that to engage with the world.

Though I am writing to concentrate on loving more than being real, I see myself as a true advocate for authenticity. ‘Realness’ has resulted in people knowing that my words are heartfelt, which I think is such a great tool in sharing my love and my thoughts. Also, authenticity has resulted in getting the help I need in life, as I am quick to state where I am failing and hurting.

Altogether, I’m authenticity’s #1 fan, but I want to remember that my TRUEST identity is not 'sassy person;' it is 'God's child.' I want to be authentic and loving at the same time, but if I ever have a situation where I have to CHOOSE one or the other, I will look to choose love. I will hug people when I don’t want to. I will try to smile at people’s jokes. And I will try to hold back sass when it is unloving. But when it is loving, it is coming your way.

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