Permission to be Honest

In case no one has granted you this freedom, or you have a hard time granting yourself this freedom, here it is:  You can be honest!

And to take it a step further, I will say this: The journey you are traveling in this life will not take you anywhere worth going until you are free to be honest with yourself, with God, and with the people around you.  You need to be honest.

Why does this need to be said so clearly?  Because too many of us have grown up in environments where honesty was not encouraged.  Where questioning the status quo was looked down upon.  Where ignoring our doubts and questions was the “right” thing to do if we wanted to remain in good standing.

The problem is, we are like builders who ignore gaping holes and cracks in our foundation and then continue to build the house.  It shouldn’t be a surprise when the walls start cracking!  In my case, eventually, the walls started to crumble.

Oh, I knew how to spackle the cracks and paint over the imperfections!  I knew which rooms to keep people out of when the cracks got too big.  I was an expert at hanging churchy art to cover the holes…  But there came a point when the walls simply started to crumble around me.  And in the middle of my mess I had an invitation to be honest.

So, what’s keeping us from honesty?  Why is it scary to come out from behind the clichés and traditions we are familiar with and reveal our doubts and questions and struggles?  If you are anything like me, maybe your entire identity is wrapped up in the church culture you are a part of.  Maybe you believe that your social circles are defined by your perceived spiritual maturity, and asking questions or showing a lack of faith poses a threat to your social standing.  Maybe you could recite all of the churchy answers to your questions, but those answers just aren’t enough…

Sometimes the only thing keeping us from being honest is that we can’t see a safe place to begin.  My invitation to a safe place actually came through a sermon my pastor preached.  It was all about how our well-being; spiritually, emotionally, and even physically, has a significant impact on the rest of the Body.  But the emphasis wasn’t on the mechanics of it, like all the parts of a machine working correctly together.  The emphasis was on the love of it.  The joy of seeing someone I love walk in truth, walk in fulfillment.  How heartbreaking it is to see them struggle.  And it isn’t heartbreaking because it makes my life harder.  It’s because I love them and have a deep desire for them to be whole and fulfilled and joyful – to know the goodness of God and to see life as a gift.

That Sunday morning my pastor told us that how we are doing matters to him, that he is deeply affected by it.  Something clicked in me.  I deliberately decided to believe that he meant what he was saying.  With a level of trust that was not normal for me, I felt compelled to be real and honest.

There comes a point when the pain of living with crumbling walls outweighs the risk of all that we fear.  If you haven’t found your safe place to start, I want to invite you to start here.  I would love to walk with you.  I’m still on this journey and definitely don’t have it all figured out or perfected, but I can share my journey with you and encourage you on yours!

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