Most people think they value honesty. And maybe some part of them really does appreciate the frankness of a close friend. Sincerity and truthfulness are taught and encouraged from a young age. But something happens from Arthur the aardvark teaching honesty to doing life with people that dims the quality of honesty.
Now, we’d never actually say that. We’re supposed to be honest and genuine. And most people probably want to be. But then, we put mascara on before leaving the front door. We threaten friends’ lives if they ever post that awful picture on Facebook. We make sure the house is clean before inviting someone over for dinner. We tell half-truths when people ask how work is going. We pray as though it’s the year 1611 and God is an englishman. And we compare our behind the scenes with someone else’s highlight reel.
We try to have it all together. We try to be spontaneous, adventurous, bold and courageous. We yearn for a gentle, quiet spirit, organized and peaceful. We want to climb mountains, cook amazing meals, craft, blog, read, exercise, play music, take photos, and dance…all at the same time. We act like chameleons, adapting and changing, trying to be everything for every situation and every person.
Or maybe, that’s just me.
I used to be scared to be honestly honest. And perhaps, I still am. But there’s this call, this tug on my heart to be real. I’ve been reading some rich, honest blogs and books from the most sincere women: Shauna Niequist, Anne Lamott, Luci Swindoll, and Tina Fey. These writers have opened my eyes to the myth that everyone is living photo worthy lives. These women, each in their own way and their own words know how to be absurdly honest. It’s so counter-cultural…opening your closet, showing someone your unorganized mess of a life. Vulnerability isn’t easy, it’s terrifying.
But yesterday, I sat in a dimmed room, listening to a woman sob about the lies she’s been believing…of being a bad mom, a bad cook, a bad wife, and the tears rolled down my face. Shame shackles. Deceit cinches. Myths muzzle. Fraud restricts. Distortion diminishes.
But honesty, that is freeing. Candid talk brings forth emancipation. Frankness is unabashed. Transparency is audacious.
So if I’m honestly honest, I have a hard time sticking to a budget. I don’t like initiating friendships and coffee dates. I read a lot so I can share with friends the author’s thoughts and feelings, rather than my own. I have really nice eyebrows because sister #3 shaped them when I was in junior high and I’ve never strayed from that shape.
If I’m honestly honest, I speak before thinking often. I like a recipe if the picture looks good. I’ve spent a lot of time forgiving myself for my previous profession. I like to talk about prayer more than I actually pray.
If I’m honestly honest, I am stronger than I realize. I always read the last paragraph in a book before starting from the beginning. I’ve never tanned or had a massage, and I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. My love languages are words and quality time.
If I’m honestly honest, I think leggings and flats should be worn everyday. I do a terrible job keeping in contact with old friends. I use white spray paint to cover up the rust on my car. And I don’t wash my face every night.
The thing I’m learning about this honesty thing is…when one person is honest, it frees up everyone else to be honest. Not only do I experience freedom, but the person who struggles with the same thing can whisper “me too”.
You’re not alone. We all have things we’d rather not admit about ourselves. But I nudge you today, own it. Give right to the reality of where you are today, and smile. In your honesty, you’re freeing someone else.