“The more we understand that our identity in Christ is continually secure and that no misstep, rejection or judgment could ever change that, the more liberated we become from the opinions of others. As the gap increases between God’s opinions and others’ opinions, we are able to live more freely and are more consumed with the idea that heaven is our home and earth is the place to make him known.” (Susie Larson, The Uncommon Woman)

I first read these words by Susie Larson several years ago. As someone who was bound by a fear of failure and insecurity regarding others’ opinions of me, they were profound.

All my life I’ve hid my mistakes, ran from failure. Too embarrassed to share with others what I was truly like, I put up a front that everything was fine, desiring so much for others to see me as successful and not as the failure I felt like inside.

Susie’s words were some of the first I read that were truly honest.

I found myself in awe of her openness and her vulnerability to share things that had happened in her life. But instead of assuming she was weak or judging her, all I could think was, “Wow, she’s really brave.”

I admired her frankness.

And as God began to use her words and others to break down my own barriers, I found him calling me to share my story. To name my weaknesses. To tell others of my fears and failures.

And as I did, I found something amazing happened. I wasn’t alone. Others began to share their stories too. I could relate to people in a way I never had before, and they to me.

I’ve realized we all want to be understood, known by another. There is comfort in that. There is a closeness gained only through disclosure. We begin to see others’ humanity just a little bit more. Our hearts soften and our compassion for people increases.

Our willingness to love multiplies.

And in doing so, we may not always appear so successful, put together, or perfect.

We turn out to be something even better: We become real. Authentic. Genuine.