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I love to write, I really do.

But those that really know me well, know that just as much as I love to write, I love to share my heart. I love deep conversations about what’s really going on inside.

I’m not very good at staying on the surface long. So when I write, the two usually end up intertwining together.

And so when I write I can’t even tell count the times I sit down to write something simply light, fun and entertaining; and almost every time instead what ends up happening is my heart spills over into words.

But sometimes, I wonder if I share too much.

With everything in me I believe God wants me to share what He has taught me to others interested in hearing. But, I’ve had circumstances mount in my life that have made me reconsider.

Maybe I should hold back.

Maybe I should keep everything private.

Recently, a dear friend of mine who knew of a situation in my life said to me, “Rachel tell me your heart….in your own words. Don’t water it down and give some sort of sugar coated version you think I want to hear.”  Her words were monumentality precious to me because I knew she knew my heart.

She freed me to be authentically who I am.

But people don’t always want us to really be who we are because sometimes it’s messy and uncomfortable and we don’t fit into their neatly constructed mold.

And so I struggle with who I am as an open person, particularly because the culture I’ve always lived within (the church) is sometimes better at looking good on the outside than sharing pain on the inside. When I share my struggles, I shake up those who would rather keep theirs hidden. I ruffle the feathers of hiders.

Yes, I see now that moderation in sharing things is important. Every word I write and speak must be filtered through the hands of God. Sometimes I share too much. Other times I share too little. But I can’t help but think that authenticity and truth is helpful to the church. At least it is for me. Personally, I am thankful when a leader shares his struggles. I am refreshed when I have the opportunity to pray for others dealing with issues. I am honored when someone trusts me enough to reveal pain or struggles because, in my opinion, authenticity builds community.

Jesus said the truth will make us free. We, oddly, believe that hiding behind a mask will keep us healthy. We believe that hiding the truth will keep us happy. No, the truth is what frees.

Even Paul faced criticism for his realism (and please don’t think I’m comparing myself to him…yikes!). Folks said he uttered strong words on papyrus, but in appearance he was weak. Many of us don’t think of weakness when we think of the great apostle, but he was. And he shared his weakness freely, in order that the power of Jesus would be seen more keenly. (See 2 Corinthians 4:7 and 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10).

“For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raised the dead” (2 Corinthians 1: 8-9). Paul told it like it was. He despaired. He was burdened beyond what he could handle. And yet . . . And YET, God met him there, teaching him the amazing lesson that God shows up in our weakness.

So, here I am.

I am weak. 

Sometimes I fail.

And I love Jesus with everything in me.

Perhaps I share it too frequently. Perhaps my frailty makes others uncomfortable. But I hope and pray that at the end of the day, I communicate not merely my struggles and worries, but that I point to the One who gives me strength.

Jesus is freeing me to be myself, warts and all. He has freed me to speak His strength. Although I struggle with the how-when-why to communicate, I would rather fall on the side of authenticity.

That’s just me.