What does it mean to be authentic?  A restaurant may claim to have authentic Mexican cuisine.  Jewelry may come with a certificate of authenticity.  Believe it or not, there is a thing called the Authentic Brand Index which is used to measure a global brand’s authenticity by seven core characteristics.  Websites are devoted to help you be an authentic leader, authentic politician (what??), authentic teacher, or just authentically YOU.  We all have some idea as to what authentic means – genuine, real, true, not fake.

When I started this blog, I made a commitment to myself to be authentic and to represent myself as honestly as possible.  Of course, I reserve the right to hold back some of my more extreme blemishes.  Not everything should be open to the public.  In short, I commit to be authentic with reservations. 

One of the things I decided to do on my 2019 Quest for Authenticity is to let my hair go gray.  You know, wear my natural, authentic color.  Not that there’s anything wrong with coloring your hair, I’ve done it for years now.  I just got tired of the hassle.  It took me several weeks to decide whether or not I was going to get out that box of ash brown color.  I finally decided and now I’m about one inch into my natural color.  Oh my.

I’m still not quite sure I’m ready for all this silver going on in my hair.  I check myself out numerous times a day, every day wondering if I’m ready for this.  You know, am I ready to be old.  The truth is I don’t want to be old.  I joke with my kids about being an old lady, but I really, really don’t want to be an old lady.  Of course, my body has much more say so about that than my head and it tells me I’m pushing on the door of oldness. 

The thought of being old puts me into a kind of internal panic.  I started early on in life to prevent wrinkles.  In fact, my 19 year old friends made fun of me for using eye cream, but, hey, look who’s not having laugh lines now!  (I digress.)  I also fear being boring and there is a boredom factor to oldness – you know, old and boring.  However, the real thing that terrorizes me about being old is losing my mind.  Both my mother and grandmother had Alzheimer’s Disease and I’ve been taking multiple kinds of supplements for years now in order to prevent Alzheimer’s.  Even the slightest slip up in memory looms over me like a dark cloud.

Recently, as I mulled over the gray hair situation, I told myself that this is part of my quest for authenticity.  I soon began to realize, however, that there was more to this authenticity thing than just the way I look.  Whether I still had my beautiful auburn brown hair or I’m gray as a goose what I’ve been struggling with is my inward authenticity.  Do I really care if I have gray hair?  Not so much.  What really bothers me is that in my mind gray hair is a sign of oldness, and oldness is boring, and it ultimately leads to Alzheimer’s.  (For my gray headed friends, this doesn’t apply to you.  I don’t look you that way.) 

If you know me well, you would know that I’m a natural researcher.  My smart phone is the best invention I’ve ever owned.  Google is one of my best friends.  If I wonder something — and I’ve always wondered something — I can find out the answer in seconds.  I’ve always had a stack of books to tell me how to do something.  I’m always thinking and planning.  But when I allow myself to think about my old age, I ask myself certain questions:  How does a person who thrives on knowledge about anything and everything survive without reasoning capabilities?  Will I be aware that my brain isn’t functioning anymore?  Do I have enough time left to do all the things I want to do?  Did I waste the time I had?  Will I die having made a difference to somebody?

The truth is, I can’t live there and God doesn’t want me to.  Even more importantly, I don’t know what will happen in my future.  God may have other plans.

Philippians 4:4-9:  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

What is Paul telling me?  Rejoice.  Don’t be anxious.  Pray.  Ask God.  Be thankful.  Think positive thoughts.  Renew my mind.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6:  For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

More so, Paul tells us to take all of our thoughts captive.  In other words, we need to train our minds to think Godly thoughts.  God doesn’t send us these destructive thoughts, the Evil One does.  Our battle is a spiritual one and we have, don’t miss this, divine power to destroy these strongholds.  As Christians, with the Holy Spirit residing in his temple (our body, 1 Cor 6:19), we have the power of the one, true, holy and living God within us.  If God is with us, who or what can stand against us?  (Rom 8:31)

I remind myself to focus on my life as it is right now and that I choose to rest in the confidence of a loving Savior who won’t forsake me (Heb 13:5) no matter how it all turns out.

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