Monday, July 9, 2012

Honesty Blows

Are you honest with yourself?
Like... really honest?

I sometimes think I'm unwilling to admit how much I don't have it together... I sometimes think I'm unwilling to admit how much I doubt, how much I struggle, how much I'm jealous, how much I'm selfish, how much I'm lazy, how much I just don't care.

'Cause if I were to admit all those things, what kind of person would that make me?

And so I pretend. Don't we all?

As I sit here, typing at my desk, I hear a camper off in the distance screaming at the top of his lungs. It's real. It's angry. He's been abandoned by his father.

I can't remember the last time that I just let loose. The last time when I screamed at the top of my lungs, the last time when I wept uncontrollably, the last time when I've allowed myself to be.... imperfect.

I'm ticked at Christianity.
I'm ticked at society.
I'm ticked at myself.
I'm ticked at the expectations that have been placed on me and the expectations that I've placed on myself.

'No one must ever see you stumble' seems perpetually stamped on my heart. For as much as I can tell you that I struggle, seeing it becomes an entirely different issue.

Two nights ago I was pegged in the back of the head with a water balloon. A half hour later I was pegged square in the chest. Bad luck. I didn't know how to respond, either. It was that awkward moment where you feel dumb, but you simultaneously want to play it off like it's no big deal. People are staring... some are laughing, some are gawking, some just don't care. But I felt like everyone was watching.

Isn't that life, though?
Something happens... and we fumble through which mask to throw on as we speedily attempt to recover in the most gracious way possible. Sometimes we laugh at ourselves, sometimes we beat ourselves up, sometimes we try to ignore what just happened, sometimes we storm out angrily, sometimes we throw a temper tantrum.

I can't remember the last time I reacted to something without filtering through a thousand different scenarios of how people might view me if I just reacted the way I wanted to.

Because, when it comes down to it, I'm not very honest with myself because I'm still holding myself to the standard of how others view me.

What if I screamed at the top of my lungs...?
What if I wept uncontrollably...?

...what if I stopped trying to hold it all together and was?

Tonight's one of those nights.
One of those nights where I'm reminded that there is nothing good in me... and only through Christ have I been redeemed. It's one of those nights where if I'm really honest with myself, I see that in my weakness He is made strong... and that in His strength, He is more than enough for me.

So maybe if I can bring myself to not only admit that I'm imperfect... but then be willing to let go of this ridiculous standard that I'm trying to hold myself to...

Maybe then I just might be the type of person who is desperate for Jesus... instead of the type of person who is self-righteous and prideful, hiding the reality of who I am behind a mask of someone I can only wish to be.

Which would you rather be?

Honesty blows.
But it's always better.

So go scream.
Go cry.
Let loose.
And in your weakness, believe that you might just actually be at your very best.

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  1. I really, really like this Debbie. Also, I prayed for you a lot last night. One thing was that God would really work in your heart and help you grow. It's cool to see what He is doing, and I will keep praying. :) Love you.

    1. Oh yeah, and I struggle with this too. Especially when it comes to leadership, because I feel like it's okay to be real, until you're a leader, and then you must have it all together. You freaking direct a summer camp, so I can see how this would be hard. (But don't blame it on Christianity) Today I read the parable of the pharisee and the tax collector praying, and the first sentence stuck out at me: "To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:" It's crazy how many Christians this applies to when it's right there in the bible..

      "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up at heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."

      Try to live every day beating your breast (ha. jk.) saying the words, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner." To be honest with God, and have confidence in His honor makes any honor man gives pale in comparison. It is the humble and dependent that receive healing.

      I know you already know anything I could say, I know you know that it's better to be real with people, but here's an example anyway. I realized when I came to camp this summer I really didn't want to open up to anyone and I felt like I kept everything inside all the time. So I started pushing myself to let things out, over and over, even though it was uncomfortable. I feel like I finally hit that point about a week ago, where I was finally letting myself just be me. So when I came back to camp someone literally said, "you don't seem like you're in anguish anymore." And I realized anguish was a really good, perfect even, word to describe how I'd been.

      I've been thinking a lot about love this past week. I think it's so hard to just let things out because we don't believe real love exists. It's really, really hard to find. We suck at it. People's love always seems to end so quickly. And we all try SO stinkin' hard to be independent of each other. But I've been letting myself depend on people, letting people serve me, and serving others... and it is so good. I know that community, interdependence, relationships, and people just loving each other... is the most beautiful thing one can witness on this earth. We really try so hard to do the opposite of how God intended community to be. Soo... how bout this: Screw society, be the opposite of what it tells you to be, be brave,and be obedient to God.

      Oh yeah, and this week I felt like God was telling me to tell someone how much they really meant to me. I'd been keeping it in for so long because I thought it'd be weird to say. Ha, but I knew God was telling me to do it, so I did, and it was exhilarating. I'm so glad I finally actually said what I was thinking. :) I bet that person was too!

  2. Reminds me of an Eldredge quote: "Let the world feel the weight of who you are, and let them deal with it."

    Or something close to that, at least. It stuck with me because I, like you, usually filter my responses based on how I imagine they'll be perceived. There is something awesome about being unapologetically who we are. When we see this in others, it comes across as strength. Part of the Tebow allure is that he is genuinely himself (I think). Hate him or love him, you almost have to admire his courage.

    And I think that's exactly what it requires: courage. I'm pretty bad at courage.

    I sometimes feel as if there are competing voices in my own head, each arguing for a different reaction based on different factors. I suspect that one of those voices is Me, the unfiltered Me, but I have a hard time figuring out which one is genuine.

    And I blame other people when they don't seem to get me? Yikes.

    Maybe I can somehow quiet the imposters within. Maybe I should focus less on trying to hear the right voice, and more on trying to silence the wrong ones.

    "Be still....and know....that I am God." I still need to focus on the first part. And I am still for a little while, maybe I'll start to know things that are true about God, and about Me.

  3. One more quote, this time from Bonhoeffer's Life Together.

    "(The Christian) knows that God's Word in Jesus Christ pronounces him guilty, even when he does not feel his guilt, and God's Word in Jesus Christ pronounces him not guilty and righteous, even when he does not feel that he is righteous at all."

    I know you feel the first part, but I thought I'd remind you of the second - that you are righteous, even though you don't feel that way at all. You are already right before God, with no asterisks and no filters necessary.