"Can I be honest with you?"
"No!" I face plant into my pillow to shield myself from the pending blow of uninvited truth, "I don't want to hear it!" we both laugh because it's too honest to be taken seriously.
Most of the time we don't want to hear the truth-- whatever it is. Like, it's programmed into our very human systems to abort action when we hear the facts. When it's painful, we reject it; when it's lovely, we doubt it's true.
"How will you ever grow as a person, as wife, as a writer if you can't take criticism or truth?" C asks me. I internally debate the pros and cons of staying mediocre. "And how are you going to respond when someone, somewhere inevitably doesn't like you or what you do? Because it's going to happen."
I start scheming ways to win over the hypothetical hateful mob...
But the reality is if we want to grow as humans, spouses, friends, professionals, Christians, we need to learn to invite raw, honest, truth into our lives. We need to dig up and tenderize the soil of our hearts so truth can nestle its way in, take root and flourish there.
Honesty is scary. It's too raw. And honestly, most of the time I'd rather keep comfortably moseying along making minor self-improvements as I see fit.
But beautiful change, life-restoring change, the kind of change that builds character and climbs mountains always starts at the slimy root of our hidden ugly corners. The places we avoid and pretend don't exist.
Even the Gospel starts and ends with unacceptable and squeamish truth-- "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (I'm not that bad!), "and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith" (it can't be that good!)
But beautiful change, life-restoring change, the kind of change that builds character and climbs mountains always starts at the slimy root of our hidden ugly corners of who we are.
We're insecure. We want to be affirmed and reaffirmed that we are good enough the way we are, all the while secretly doubting this to be true. Because it takes work, change, effort and vulnerability to be the person you want to be, the person you were created to be.
We live in a culture that constantly tells we don't have to change, that we're good enough-- and honestly I believe this is a candy-coated lie that stunts the potential of our souls. All great artists revise, edit, refine, practice and curate their work because they know the value of a piece invested in. Even a beginning writer knows never to submit their first draft.
But I find the idea that the current version of who I am is the best version terrifying. This is why the Gospel is freeing: it allows us to face all the things we hate about ourselves without fear of rejection or condemnation. And the gift of knowing this isn't end of the road!
The Gospel is freeing: it allows us to face all the things we hate about ourselves without fear of rejection or condemnation
When Jesus died on the cross, he freed us to look in the mirror and not be afraid by accepting us as we are. In doing so, he unleashed the wild potential for us to flourish in ways only he could imagine.
He makes our trembling hearts brave enough to grow.