DARE TO BE AUTHENTIC

WHY IS COFFEE SO GOOD?

This is a question I seem to ask myself every time I think of quitting my little addiction which is currently at three cups maximum per day!

While researching the different kinds of coffees (Yes, I did that), I realised just how many different kinds of blends are available. Some bottled coffees in South Africa even contain Chicory, diluting the coffee strength of the true coffee bean to give it a different taste (I don’t like these). Some of your more expensive freeze-dried coffees contain milk solids with glucose syrup and other ingredients to preserve them. Whereas bean coffee is made with the bean being grounded by the machine, and you have the option to add whatever you want to the cup to improve the taste. Below is a description of soluble coffee powder:

“The caffeine content of instant coffee is generally less than that of brewed coffee. One study comparing various home-prepared samples came to the result that regular instant coffee (not decaffeinated) has a median caffeine content of 66 mg per cup (range 29–117 mg per cup), with a median cup size of 225 ml (range 170-285 ml) and a caffeine concentration of 328 µg/ml (range 102-559 µg/ml). In comparison, drip or filter coffee was estimated to have a median caffeine content of 112 mg, with a median concentration of 621 µg/ml for the same cup size.”

Regarding antioxidants, the polyphenol content of a 180 ml cup of instant coffee has been estimated to be approximately 320 mg, compared to approximately 400 mg in a cup of brewed coffee of the same size.

Now I don’t know about you, but I like the taste of true coffee. I like the richness and the aroma of freshly-made bean coffee. I just find the instant coffees lack that real, authentic coffee taste. Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with the instant coffees. I happen to have many friends who LOVE it, but over the years, I have learnt to grow in my taste of true coffee. The real thing is just so much better.

GOOD, AUTHENTIC, TRUE COFFEE… So where am I going with this you’re asking? Well, how about this… DARE TO BE AUTHENTIC !

James 5:16

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

What does it mean to be authentic? As I search the scriptures for something that awakens my heart, I am reminded of how real the disciples were. How honest about their feelings and their thoughts they were even though they were sometimes doubtful about what was happening. For example, when they were in the boat with JESUS and still doubted and feared for their safety? Yet, Jesus still called them to preach His Gospel releasing His Holy Spirit into the world.

How I have forgotten that…

Jesus did not call the good and the perfect, in actual fact, the disciples who were called were not well-trained and previously counseled. They were not perfectly behaved and always in right standing with their thoughts. They were human beings willing to follow, even though they were in more ways than one imperfect for the job. They did not walk around saying things they thought the other disciples wanted to hear in fear of them losing their place within the group, the church or at work. No, they were real! They sometimes said things that could offend or hurt because they were still learning and they did not know any better. But Jesus loved them because He saw the greatness in them. He knew what He was a part of and what God created and had planned for each of them. He knew. But they still had to find out.

Why are we so afraid of being real with our feelings? Is it that we are afraid of being judged and seen as imperfect or unworthy of the crowds we find ourselves in and of what they might judge us on? When someone does something wrong and it affects us at work or in our day to day life, do we keep quiet? Do we just lay down and hope it goes away? Do we not stand up for what is right? Do we allow a wrong to carry on? Do we dilute who we are?

In my business, I have a very strict value to only work with companies who give me good service. I feel that I cannot work with suppliers who give me less than their best as this directly affects the service that I am, in turn, able to give my clients. When I want something done, I make sure it is done straight away. I can’t wait or be patient for someone to decide if they will bring in the product that I need for a customer. I will lose that customer in the process of waiting! But it’s a little different when it comes to a church or ministry setting. A church has to run on prayer and supplication. They need to seek God’s face for the answers and the right way forward. You can’t always make a decision on the whim. You need to trust God for the right time.

In my years of running my own business, I have learnt a lot about customer service. What makes people happy and what people don’t like. How sensitive women can be, and how truth and authenticity can help people to relate and open up. I am strong in my job and I love to make people smile. I am confident because of the years of training I have gone through and because I know that it is something I am good at. God gave me a heart for people, especially women, and a passion to help them feel good about themselves.

But as I often say to my staff, my work is my safe place. The salon is a place where I know that what I do, is something I love and something I am good at. My day is planned for me, I know what time people will arrive, what they are coming in for and how to make them happy. I know that if I do my best in the things that I love, I am guaranteed to make a person walk out feeling wonderful. Because I have confidence in this area of my life, it is easy for me to love what I do. I am a pure brew of coffee!

But the world is a different place! The church and our salvation in Christ is a whole other story. Knowing what your purpose is in the Kingdom is sometimes a mystery and a very frustrating path of patience. As I started this blog, I thought of patience and complacency.  Coming from my line of work where I get things done immediately, I have felt quite a bit of frustration as I try to work through what God has planned. I am being real when I say it has not always been easy.  I did not have a 10 point plan handed to me, I did not have a manual to follow and I definitely did not always understand what the Bible was trying to say. Let’s face it! Sometimes we read a passage in the Bible just because it’s expected, but it has made NO sense to us!

I don’t always know how God speaks to us. Over the years, I have searched and read and watched as many teachings as I could to find the answers I feel all new Christians need to know. But that’s where I have fallen short. It is the relationship with Jesus, that has given me this desire to grow and learn more about Him. There is no real answer that I can put down. But what I can say, is that Jesus has given me a peace I cannot explain. He has given me a love for His people no matter how bad they treat each other. He has given me the discernment to know right from wrong, even though at times my creatively-driven, emotional mind wants to run away from me.  He has given me a sense of clarity through Him to see the full picture. He has gifted me with a drive to see things through and never give up on Him and He has gifted me with ability to write. These are only some of the amazing things I have been given since knowing who my Father is. He’s given me courage, boldness, freedom from insecurity, His ultimate love, and also patience (at times!).

But the truth is, I am not perfect – far from it. You are not perfect; none of us will ever be or ever achieve perfection. But what we will be able to achieve, is growth. By being authentic, we can relate to others and grow together. We can be hard working and when approaching God we can be real with our Father. I see how my husband relates to his girls, and as a dad, even a mom, our only real desire for our kids is to have them be truthful to us in everything so that we are able to help them achieve happiness. I see how Father God wants the same for us. He doesn’t want us to act perfect and excellent in everything. He wants us to cry out to Him and be real and authentic about our feelings and our questions. He doesn’t want perfect little robots and He doesn’t want us to treat each other with disregard if we are not perfect, little Christians. Because when we suppress how we really feel, it will consume every part of our being.

I believe it’s time the people of God become real with their feelings, open up and be honest and authentic with their thoughts in order to move on, learn and grow. Next time you feel or think something about someone, be real about how you feel. You might be surprised to find that whatever that person was doing that offended you, was actually never meant that way at all. And next time you feel abandoned or misunderstood, ask God to reveal to you why you are feeling this way. Be real with Him for a change. He wants to help you grow, but can’t if you’re not telling Him the truth.

I read a scripture about God wanting us to be authentic, that made me see how angry it made God in the Old Testament when people of Israel where not true to Him.

Amos 5:18-27

Woe to you who long

for the day of the Lord!

Why do you long for the day of the Lord?

That day will be darkness, not light

It will be as though a man fled from a lion

only to meet a bear,

as though he entered his house

and rested his hand on the wall

only to have a snake bite him.

Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light—

pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?

“I hate, I despise your religious festivals;

your assemblies are a stench to me.

Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,

I will not accept them.

Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,

I will have no regard for them.

Away with the noise of your songs!

I will not listen to the music of your harps.

But let justice roll on like a river,

righteousness like a never-failing stream!

“Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings

forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?

You have lifted up the shrine of your king,

the pedestal of your idols,

the star of your god[b]—

which you made for yourselves.

Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,”

says the Lord, whose name is God Almighty.

God wants us to be real with each other, but mostly with Him. Repent and pray to the Father – reveal the truth of your heart. Be real with the body of Christ and move on into the fullnes of God. Do not bring Him what you think He wants to hear. But bring Him the truth, then you will see the true Love of the Father’s Glory released upon your lives.

So I ask you… Who do you want to be in your walk with God?

Do you want to be a watered-down version of you?

A coffee trying to be perfect, but diluted for others to approve?

Or are you ready to dare and stand in the face of adversity for God by being real with Him?

He knows your heart and He knows your cries and fears, but He is asking you to be honest with Him so that He can finally be open with you.

Bless you in your path of finding God’s plan for your life.

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