Honesty is the Best Policy

The whispering in the hallway as you pass by. The overheard snickers in the room next door. The rumors of hurtful words and spoken lies. The rejection felt as you walk past, shameful, embarrassed, and lonely.
No. This is not a description of high school.
This is a picture of what you can find in the local church.

Sad isn’t it? But the truth is, as ladies of the church, we are in a bad way and something needs to be done.

There are few things that really rile me up, but when I see women exclude another or gossip and judge in a place that was founded on love…. well, the words, “Shame on you!” are not the first that come to mind. My words are, well, let’s say spicier and more forceful.
Listen, it’s so very hard to be a woman in 2016.
America has bred this unobtainable notion of a woman who is all things to all people.
She is wife, mother, worker. She is church greeter, nursery worker, Sunday school teacher. She is teacher, PTA board member, head of bake sale. She is beautiful, fit, sexy. She is all things and does it with a smile.

Honestly, it’s exhausting. And I know very well I am not the only woman who tries to keep up with this rat race.
How is it that we continue to lose our vision as women?
We continually judge ourselves, judge one another, and walk out of church feeling defeated when glimpsing around at all the “perfect women.”
I think what we lack is some good old fashion honesty.
Honesty is a hard thing to live out. This means we will be letting down our walls, showing some serious vulnerability, and (gasp), allowing others to see our big, old, hot mess of a self.
I’m going to take the first step.
I do not exercise. Let’s get that clear. Yes, I know. I am  like 50 lbs over weight, my body is a mess from multiple surgeries and could use some stretching and strength training. Running a mile has not be done since middle school and that was because it was forced. My family history is littered with heart disease and early deaths. So ya, I know I need to literally get my butt in gear. But before you start telling me to go to bed earlier so I can wake earlier and get in those thirty minutes of cardio, don’t bother. I know the statistics, tips, and I’ve seen every graph. It’s really applying it that is the issue.

I love my husband. I’ve never been shy about saying that. But if I was honest, I don’t love him nearly like I should. I’ve pretended to be asleep when he reaches over to “kiss me good night.” I’ve treated him like a child more times than I can count. And if I told you how many times I’ve snapped at him in front of the girls, well, it would be a very high number.
Speaking of girls, I will be absolutely shocked if they don’t need therapy because of me sometime in their life. I mean, I love them. But sometimes I don’t like them. (Can I even say that?) Personalities clash and this girl gets worn out. So I lash out. And nag. And roll my eyes. And snap. And basically every other bad behavior you see my girls do, I guarantee you they saw Mama do it first.
Just because I educate them at home doesn’t mean I find it to be the most thrilling job in the world. In fact, there are plenty of days that I gaze out the window and fantasize about going back to school to get my degree and then run far, far away from my school room to go talk to people taller than 4’3.
What I’m saying is, this is me.
When we start sharing our struggles with one another this beautiful thing happens. Those listening start to lose the tension in their shoulders, the tightness in their jaw, and wipe off that fake smile and put a real one on their face.
It’s simple. We all like to know that we are “normal”. We all like to know that we are really doing OK. We all like to get encouragement. Because like I have said so many times, this life is hard. No joke. But we have to remember that we are ALL living it. And we are all succeeding, all failing, all kind of getting it right, and all kind of getting it wrong.
If we aren’t honest with on another though, then how are we going to make changes and grow in the right direction?
Didn’t Paul tell us to pray for one another? Well, if you don’t tell me what to pray for, than I can’t help you.

“You know girl, I am really struggling today. This boss that I have is going to make me lose my mind. If he gives me one more project, I may just hurl my laptop at him and quit.”
“Sister, my days are so lonely. I feel surrounded by people, and yet have no one to talk to. I need a friend. Will you pray?”

“I ate 5 donuts yesterday. This dieting will either kill me or I’ll kill my husband. Jesus help me now.”

I challenge you today to find a friend, find an acquaintance, heck, find a stranger on your commute home on the bus, and share a little humanity. Perhaps you want to start simple and don’t scare them away, but I assure you, you will get a smile, you will hear a sigh of relief, and you will receive a blessing beyond words.
We are in this life together, folks. It only makes sense to lift one another up by encouraging them that they are not alone.
Because you are not alone.
Trust me. I am a Disasterville over here, but we are going to make it through.

Posted December 11, 2016

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