Fresh starts have so many wonderful elements and for anyone who has long endured a situation they’ve been praying would change, a brand new circumstance seems like – angels singing – THE ANSWER! Until you are in that brand new situation and it feels like….
Who do I eat lunch with? Is my skirt too short? I thought that was funny, did you?
And the real question is how honest am I going to be? This time. With these people, is it safe to be myself? When isn’t it?
Truthfulness has been dogging me lately, sort of the way mercy was this summer. It has become a common boundary in professional and spiritual areas of my life, and I’ve crossed my arms and furrowed my brow at it a fair amount. I never thought I had a problem with truthfulness. But today proved me wrong. Today I toyed with lying.
Shauna Niequist’s words today in her newest book, Savor, helped me to show some self-compassion because living honestly with everyone, those new in my life and those I’ve long loved, is hard sometimes. When someone else admits it, it helps. When are we not honest, good people that we are? Lets look at this another way. Have you ever had someone point out the spinach between your teeth because they would want you to do the same? There is honesty that is an agreement. It is like saying, “I agree to be as honest as you are, and therefore, we are both dependent on each other’s truthfulness or we are betrayed by it. But we are equally at risk.” We make this agreement all the time with good intentions. And then we still only reveal what our hearts tell us we can.
I love the scripture Shauna references above from Psalm 15 about who the Lord counts as worthy to stand in his holy tent. “The one who speaks truth from the heart.” The whole chapter is a beautiful testimony to the honor that God calls out of us with his love. Today I had to put those words to work. I was in a meeting where how I really feel about an issue was asked of me. With only a little warning, I was put on the spot. Rewind to every single time I’ve ever faked my answer. Fast forward to figuring out how to be honest now because I get a fresh start.
Honestly, in the moment when my heart had to decide, will I answer the question posed with truthfulness, or will I hide and pretend about who I am, I’ve learned that I can also be praying. I tried that today, and was infused with strength. “God,” I asked, “give me words to say.” and the peace to be honest arrived. The fact that it was a struggle was what proved to me that the struggle is real.
Sometimes paying lip service vs. showing up as me has landed me in a fake world with fake love and fake friends. So not worth it. Being the most truthful me that I can be in the world might be the hardest thing ever. Like Brene Brown says, it sometimes ends in a vulnerability hangover. But speaking truth from the heart honors God. Those are the folks he lets in close to his heart. Probably because it’s in those moments that we are most the ones he made us to be.