In Part 1 of this blog series, I talked about my humble beginnings and how it gave me an understanding of what country living is all about. If you would like to read Part 1, you can check it out here.
In Part 2 of this blog series, we talked about how Jesus gave life-giving encounters to those He interacted with. We also talked about using Jesus as a model for how we should treat others in our own lives. If you would like to read Part 2, you can check it out here.
In about whatever we decide to do in life, there will always be people telling us who we should be and what we should be doing in order to be successful. As much as I love life and all the great things this world can offer me, I know that the things of this world do not define me as a man or as a husband. We are defined by the world by earthly things, but we are defined by God by the heavenly things we focus on during our time on earth.
One of the hallmarks of a true country person is their ability to be genuine, down-to-earth, grounded, and authentic. As crazy as it sounds, I’ve met people who have worked hard to fake being genuine. In other words, they tried to come across as country, but only as long as it allowed them to get what they wanted.
These people were just putting on an act, and no matter what act any of us is putting on, if we are not living a life of integrity and being who we really are, then we are just missing out. We are missing out on the greatness we have inside of us. We are living a lie and depriving those around us from what we genuinely could give them if we weren’t so busy trying to be someone else. I know there have been great portions of my life where I was only living an act and I lived a life that was less than what I was capable of. Maybe some of you have done this very same thing. Maybe some of you are living this kind of life right now. Even if you are in a low place right now, it is not too late.
The book of Hebrews gives us a great reminder that Jesus never waivered in who He was, what He stood for, or what He was doing. He stayed true to Himself and His mission even when great adversity came His way. He lived a life of integrity even though He could have had more earthly gain if He had compromised His and God’s values. He could have avoided His death if He had decided to put on an act, but if He had, we all would have been in big trouble. Because He did not choose to be fake, He sits in the place of honor in heaven and all believers are saved. Putting on an act may not have such dire consequences as it did with Jesus, but we still need to understand that not being true to ourselves causes pain and destruction. It can destroy our relationships with others. We need to use Jesus as our example of how we can live a life that we can be proud of.
The Message (MSG)
12 1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
All of us face opportunities and temptations to be someone other than who we really are. We need to ask ourselves this question:
What would my family, friends, and co-workers say that I value the most?
Would their responses match yours? Does the life you live reflect what you value the most? If you are living true to yourself, your values will be easy to see. If people have troubles seeing what values are most important to you, it might be a sign that you are living an act and not being true to yourself. If you want to be an actor, then go be an actor, but don’t try to play an alternate character other than yourself in your real life.
There is only one you in the entire world so focus your efforts on making the real you shine. Don’t settle for being someone else or a different version of yourself. Remember, when you are who you really are, it’s easier to know where you are going. You will not live a perfect life, but don’t compound the issue by not living your life. Be true to yourself and let everything else sort itself out.