Do you ever find yourself feeling a bit embarrassed after a heart-to-heart conversation?
Maybe you found yourself over-analyzing your words after a conversation like that.
“Was I too honest?”
“Should I really have been that real with them?”
“What was I thinking?”
“And what are they thinking?”
Maybe you didn’t even get as far as to actually have that honest conversation, but you wanted to. You reached out to someone, wanting to say something real and honest about yourself, but instead shrunk back because you weren’t sure what they would think about you.
It’s really easy to want to appear perfect. To look like you never struggle or second guess yourself.
On the other hand it’s not easy to sometimes appear messy or broken.
We’ve become a slave to other people’s perceptions of us.
Maybe you’ve felt like that Frozen song:
“Don’t let them in. Don’t let them see. Be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal. Don’t feel. Put on a show. Make one wrong move and everyone will know.”
In her book Cold Tangerines, Shauna Nequist wrote about how our basements are the perfect metephor for the parts of ourselves we try to hide from sight.
They’re messy and make us embarrassed at the thought of having them exposed to others.
One day through accidental circumstances she ended up in her perfect friend’s basement, only to find out that it looked exactly like hers. Yet, it didn’t even put a dent in how much she loved and admired that friend.
If you’ve got a close friend that makes you feel both safe and understood, I want to encourage you to show them your basement. I know that’s scary.
But there is so much freedom in honesty.
A long time ago, I was in a worship service and I was feeling a lot of emotions. The Holy Spirit gets me like that. A friend of mine came up to me and whispered some words I’ll never forget: “You know, it’s okay to be broken.”
It’s okay not to be okay all the time. Just don’t struggle in that alone.
At the root of every insecurity, there’s a lie.
Maybe you’re worried that people would distance themselves from you, if they really knew you, if you really dared to live authentically.
But the truth is, genuine openness and courage is contagious.
Chances are, people won’t pull away. They’ll be pulled closer.
Because when you choose to be authentic and honest, not only will people be drawn to you, but you also give them permission to be authentic themselves. Your decision to be vulnerable could be the catalyst for others to do the same.
The enemy wants to blind you to that. So he uses your vulnerability as a weapon against you. He wants you to pull back. But please don’t. Let down your walls.
Sometimes Satan will try to keep you silent about the things that you do struggle with. Because he wants to keep you in bondage.
Authenticity leads to freedom.
Fear and isolation only lead to bondage.
Authenticity is so much better than perfection.
If you keep that “perfect” label intact, people may admire you from afar, wishing they could measure up. But if you choose to be authentic in the way that you live your life, people will be drawn to you. And they’ll give you permission to see beneath their shiny exterior, so you can speak life into the places that are darkened by shame and fear.
I do want to note that I’m not encouraging anyone to use “honesty” as an excuse to be unloving or rude. This is a call for transparency in sharing what God is doing in your heart, even if it’s messy and vulnerable.
Edit: a few readers mentioned that I was missing something in this post. I wanted to add that discretion is an important balancing element in honesty. Not everyone deserves to know your deepest struggles. Pray for discernment and make sure it’s a trustworthy person. The Holy Spirit can also play an important part in giving you a peace or a lack of it about a person. I also know of people who have felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to share their story with a group of people they might not have known very well. If that’s the case, and God is telling you to do that, you should definitely follow His leading.
I hope you know that God isn’t afraid of your mess. You never have to hide your brokenness from Him. Maybe you don’t have a close friend. Remember you can always come to Him.
I’ll say it again. There’s freedom in honesty.
Freedom gives you strength because you don’t have to hide anymore.
That’s my encouragement to you today. No more hiding. If any of this has resonated with you, take the next few minutes and listen to this amazing song.
Live loved friends!