Christian Living · Healing · Hope · Uncategorized

Honesty in a World of Illusion

A common thing I hear from others is how my honesty is refreshing. I’ve even been called, wait for it, normal! There really is a first time for everything. I could have dismissed the feedback- except it was a repeating theme. When one person gives you a compliment, it’s easy to write it off as their kindness, but when you hear something again and again, you must stop and evaluate.  And so it was for my “normal” honesty remarks.

When I was in my first {and only} year at bible college, someone complimented me for being “painfully honest.” Because I’m not the quickest gal, it was much later that week when I began dissecting that phrase. My common association with pain was, well, bad! Because I didn’t want to be affiliated with painful behavior, I began to look for opportunities to throw copious amounts of compliments out to anyone within earshot. Painfully honest felt like a badge of shame—even though that’s not what my friend intended. Painfully honest was something she admired, I just didn’t understand that. I assumed it meant I said things no one else would say. The image of the friend or family member that just popped in your brain, the one that will say things without a filter…the one that speaks with an abrasive, tell it like it is tone…that’s not painfully honest, that’s rude. There is a difference in being willing to share honestly about your own life and exposing someone else.  Painfully honest can be synonymous with taking off masks, being you, and abandoning pretense.

We are living in times where honesty isn’t much celebrated. Watch a little TV and you’ll learn all the latest diets, plastic surgery options, best divorce attorneys, affair hotlines, etc. Don’t be yourself. You deserve to be happy. Post this picture with a great filter. Show off your vacation on your newsfeed. Give the impression of success by driving a vehicle you can’t afford and enduring the unnecessary stress of making ends meet. Pretend, pretend, pretend.

An illusion is something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality. Use that definition to examine some previously mentioned vices. Facebook, check. Debt, check. Lonely, check. You get the idea. Illusion is rooted in deception. Deception wrecks marriages, separates mother and child, and isolates hearts. It should come as no surprise that it can be traced to a very real spiritual enemy.  Jesus, speaking of the devil says, He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Let that ruminate for a while.  It’s no wonder we are pulled toward illusion.

We are all allured by the temptation to appear our very best before the world.  What I discovered was that people everywhere were, and are, weary from trying to live a highlight reel {your top moments all the time}. Life is straight up hard. Kids don’t make the decisions we’d hope. Relationships struggle and finances strain. That’s the truth. So what’s keeping us from living as honest, authentic individuals?

Discomfort. I think that’s what keeps many of us in bondage to illusions. We are afraid of how others will receive our honesty. Will they try and fix my problems if I share my struggle? Will they change the way they treat me if they find out we are in a financial crisis? These are real questions. They have real implications for relationships. On the opposite side of the honesty, as receivers we don’t always know how to respond to someone’s vulnerability. We keep conversations on the surface so they don’t “dump” on us and expect us to help with the rescue cleanup.

When did we stop seeing lives in front of us and start seeing inconveniences?  One of my life missions is to see people. I haven’t wrestled with feeling overlooked my. whole. life. for nothing! As I pursued healing, by the grace of God, I began to understand that other people were feeling just like me. Then, empowered by the Holy Spirit I courageously began sharing my story. The very real, painfully honest truth of where I have walked and the obstacles I’ve encountered; my normal.  And it seems every time I’ve finished sharing, someone comes up to me with tears in their eyes and says, “me, too.”

The lives around you and me are hungry for those moments of honesty. When we level the playing field by revealing a little bit of our journey. When we take the highlight reel down and share the non-Christmas card moments.  When we lay down our mask and reveal our true selves.

Someone is desperate to share a “me, too” moment with you and me. May you and I be found as ones that see the lives before us, poke holes in the darkness of illusion, and offer an honest moment of normal.

Someone is desperate to share a “me, too” moment with you and me. May you and I be found as ones that see the lives before us, poke holes in the darkness of illusion, and offer an honest moment of normal. (2)

6 thoughts on “Honesty in a World of Illusion

  1. Amen Alyssa. Why add to others already heavy burden with a facade of hyped up success? There is such healing when things are revealed in His light. Refreshing, weightless, wind swept honesty. I pray for boldness to be transparent.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Letting people in is an act of generosity like no other. Letting people see your mess so they don’t feel alone. This is a challenge for me as I learned how to shut the world out so effectively. But a challenge I’m up for because I am learning to love others for who they are, not what I can get from them.

    Liked by 1 person

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