We aren't the best at this. We meaning you. We meaning me, too. Christians. Non-Christians. Young people. Older people. Males. Females.
We often fail to be h o n e s t.
Recently, I had a friend approach me to ask me for help. She stumbled through her words, paused frequently, tears filled her eyes and she sighed at how difficult it was to get the words out. She added, "I don't normally open up to people". Though I had no idea what this pertained to, I waited patiently. I shared a comforting smile and voiced repeatedly "...it's okay ...take your time ...I'm right here".
Honesty is hard for us. Honesty makes the one opening up vulnerable and the one listening sometimes feel uncomfortable.
I don’t mean honesty as in not lying about your age, or whether or not you ate the last cookie in the cookie jar. I mean the honesty where we share everything about our past. The honesty where we share how things aren't perfect. The honesty of sharing things like:
I feel lost.
I need help.
I'm having marriage problems.
I'm struggling to make ends meet.
I loathe ________.
I lust for _______.
I'm envious of ________.
I'm completely empty.
I'm struggling with sin.
Face to face, relational authenticity will continue to be scarce if we keep pretending we have it all together and/or hide behind closed doors, phone screens and computer screens. Anyone ever confront someone, come clean about something or shared meaningful words with another via text or email instead of in person? *raises hand* Guilty.
Avenues like Facebook or Instagram, where we get to pick and choose to share parts of our lives with others, are used more as highlight reels where we only share the pretty, the glamorous, the happy, the success and the good - since that’s what will get us the most likes, retweets or comments, right? We can quickly exchange healthy and meaningful relationships based on honesty for online profiles of photos only showing our 'good side'. This leaves the parts of us that need to surface within a safe community for the sake of healing (James 5:16), encouragement, support, and freedom in the dark, behind closed doors and unspoken. We hide behind the small talk that keeps us from answering something other than "fine" when asked how we're doing. We hide behind the facade of everything in life being peachy when actually inside we are longing for help and genuine friendship. What we really need to do is open up and bring to light our brokenness, whether present or past. Because the reality is we all have brokenness and we all need help.
So what should we share? And how? When?
Start with sharing your story with others. Ask God to lead you. And do it now. If we keep things inside - our pain, our struggles, our doubts, our fears, our sin - it will eat us up inside. Don’t go your whole life pretending you’ve got it all together, in fear that the truth will be exposed. Instead, be honest.
Be honest because others may be encouraged to share by your example. Be honest because God has called us to authentic community and to help one another. We can't help each other if we keep our struggles quiet from one another.
Another reason it is powerful to be honest in sharing your story, trials and triumphs is that for the believer, it’s a way to testify of God’s goodness. We overcome by testifying.
Some of you, I’ve never met. Others have known me for years. Still some I’ve yet to really connect with face to face and exchange life stories.
So I leave you with this: my story*
Now, join me. Open up. Testify. Be real. Be honest. Don’t hide. Don’t cover it up. I tried that. It doesn't work. Live in freedom.
Thanks for reading!
*Video was filmed two years ago.
**Earlier today I told my husband I decided to share this video though I'd never shared it online before. He noticed the tone in my voice...
"What are you nervous about?" - Calvin
"I don't know. Nothing, I guess. That's what this blog post is all about." - Me