Real is a Four Letter Word


Transparent. Authentic. Raw.

Everyone of us have found ourselves face to face with the cultural relevency bandwagon of “real”.  We’ve talked about dropping the masks.  We’ve whined about keeping up with the times.  We’ve applauded our attempts to be organic: intellectually, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

But what does it really mean to be truly real?  What does it look like to be transparent and vulnerable and raw?

In our relationships with others, real can be seen as an overarching sincerity and purity of personal presentation.

In faith communities, it is often assumed that real describes a group of believers stripped of all pretense and traditional expectations.

In seekers of authentic experience, real is the idea of being open and honest with the realities of life and struggle and relationships and faith.

But how is this realness lived out?

True authenticity is far more than speaking the truth in a hip, edgy, and culturally attractive way.

It is the hunger for such clarity of relationship with others that our desire to connect in a pure way is greater than our fear of what may be uncovered in the process.

When our hunger for transparency goes beyond our willingness to speak the truth and becomes a deep humility to hear the truth, then we become real.

It’s hard. It’s scary. It lays us wide open for healing and hurt. But, that is when authenticity is attained.  That is when transformation begins.

When we finally get to the place where we trust enough to be completely open with who we are and who we are coming to be, we wished we had the courage to have gone there years before. The release and hope in that place is so liberating that we never want to live another way.

So, why do we hold back?  What does it take to be in that place of honesty with others, ourselves, and God?  How do you see this lived out in your life?


  1. JoAnn says

    I think the hardest part is the first step. I’m always so used to trying to be what I think I should be, that is hard to be who I really am. I’m afraid it won’t be okay. So, yeah… the first step is the hardest for me.

  2. Cara says

    What holds me back? I’m worried that who I am isnt enough or that it will disappoint others. But I know its not true. I just think about that.

  3. John says

    I want to always be real and honest and whole. It took along time to get to the point where I could do it. But it’s the only way I know how to be now. I just wish others would do the same. Sometimes it feels like I’m standing by honest, and just waiting for someone else to join me.

  4. Bren McIver says

    I miss you and your wonderful family. Your writing punctures my heart and reminds me that I can’t live in the shadow of others’ fears. Thank you. <3

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