Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. – Ephesians 4:25
#AuthenticLife. It’s one of the hashtags I complained about a few days ago in this mini-rant about blogging. It has frustrated me lately that that hashtag is used so frequently and yet there are seemingly so few people out there actually sharing an authentic life. It’s all so staged, so prepared, so strategized, and so not authentic.
I’ve been feeling sick of trying to force myself in to a niche and feeling like I was failing as a blogger because I hadn’t “niched down” enough to find a target audience. It was just sucking the soul right out of everything I used to love about the blogosphere. Then, my husband made a pretty huge statement about the book of Revelations last night, a light bulb went off inside my head, and suddenly…the world made sense to me again.
“I really want to do another study of the book of Revelations. In that book it talks about facing judgement for all of our actions. It’s always been implied that we would stand before God and have to account for every moment of our lives as though He was going to have some highlight reel playing asking us, ‘Now what about this? Ok, now this? Uh-huh, and what were you thinking when you did that?’ But…what if that’s not what it is at all? What if it’s about facing the constant judgement and scrutiny of our current times? Think about how we live online; how we live on social media. We put every aspect of our lives out there for constant judgement. We, as Christians, participate just as heavily in social media as non-believers yet every part of our lives are judged according to a higher standard because of our faith. Living the way we live is putting ourselves out there to face judgement for all of our actions.
I just sat back like, “Whoa.” Not only did I love what he had said but I had this sudden pressing on my heart like, “Ashley…that’s IT!” That’s the answer to the struggle you’ve been facing. That’s the nicheless blogging niche you’ve been seeking – the ministry of #authenticlife.
It’s about showing the world the imperfections of the Christian believer and the perfectness of Christ.
It’s about acknowledging that yep…I’m a major screw-up. I’ve drank too much. I’ve done drugs. I’ve made big money mistakes. I lived with my husband before marriage (and, yep, had premarital sex). I’ve said horrible things out of anger (like when I called my husband an asshole and told him to go to hell). I’ve done things I’m terribly ashamed of at parties I should have never attended during a time in my life that I’d rather forget (and all while I was indeed a believer in Christ).
It’s about admitting that my life isn’t perfect. I don’t look totally put together all the time (I’m in a sweater and yoga pants right now with not a pinch of makeup on). I don’t always cook amazing meals; sometimes my food sucks and sometimes I’m so lazy we go out instead. Going out doesn’t always mean a 5-star glamorous restaurant either, sometimes it’s a local pizza joint or tofu burritos. My house isn’t perfectly decorated. My dogs aren’t always well-behaved. If I’m being honest, there are times I don’t even like my dogs.
I’ve screwed up…a lot.
But wow that God still loves, and died for, me. What a powerful testimony for us, as Christians, to share. To share our raw imperfect #authenticlife. To expose the darkness within ourselves, to invite judgement, and to proudly state, “But for all my imperfectness I have found redemption and forgiveness in the grace of God.”
That’s the “niche” that is lifestyle blogging, especially faith-based lifestyle blogging. It’s about sharing the imperfections of our lives and the perfectness we find through our salvation in God.
That is where find our calling. That is how we identify our “target audience.” That is how we respond to the Lord when He asks us to share our testimony and share the gospel with others.
We do it by taking off the Instagram filters and by removing the perception of a Pinterest-perfect life. We do it by admitting that a Christian life isn’t all sunshine and roses, but we believe because we know that our faith is real and that God is waiting for us with open arms on the day we find ourselves called to Him.
If you’re already a newsletter subscriber of mine then you likely already know one of the powerful stories of my testimony. I shared it in last week’s message. Despite being believers my husband and I have faced trials in our marriage and our lives. We both have periods of years that we’d rather not discuss openly because we are ashamed of our behavior. We lived together, for 8 months, before we became engaged and were married. We are both terrible sinners and do/say things we regret and which we know are not Christ-like. We have had huge fights and we’ve struggled to have a child. We’ve prayed a lot of prayers and had God respond with a very simple, “No.” We try to take it all in stride because we know that Romans 8:28 is true.
Friends, there is nothing more powerful than the ministry of an authentic life (darkness and all).
- How authentic is the sharing of your authentic life? Do you share the darkness as well as the light?
- Do you put yourself out there to face judgement as a testimony to God’s redeeming grace?