Awkward questions. We hate answering them, but even more we hate asking them. After all, who really wants to be the douche bag who questions the emperor’s clothes, or points out a discrepancy.
What if we’re embarrassed? What if we’re misunderstood?
I love the story of Jesus and the woman at the well, and saw something in that story today that made me think.
Here was Jesus, again running contrary to convention, messing with people’s religious assumptions, talking to a married woman of questionable reputation by a well in the searing heat of the day.
The disciples arrive and are inwardly offended by the sight. This is not ordinary, and certainly not kosher. Dude, what are you doing?
They thought it, but said nothing.
“Just then His disciples came and they wondered (were surprised, astonished) to find Him talking with a woman [a married woman]. However, not one of them asked Him, What are You inquiring about? or What do You want? or, Why do You speak with her?” (John 4:27 AMP)
Why are so many of our honest questions silenced?
It is human nature to want to put forward a front face, but what really lies underneath? What is happening in the heart, because it from here that the issues of life flow?
Nathaniel was recognised by Jesus as a man with no guile, no deceit, no ulterior motive. No internal conflict or underlying negative or competitive ambitions.
What a testimony!
Despite the difficulty and quite frankly the unpopularity of an honest life, is there really any other way to live? Are we not made of stronger mettle than the endless need for affirmation and closeted commentary from the world telling us that all is well in our world?
David in the Psalms had it right when he cried:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24KJV)
That is a bold prayer.
Instead of negative self-talk, or covert communications in the shadows, the conversations would be out on the table for everyone to tackle.
Why am opening this gnarly can of worms?
Because I myself crave this kind of honesty.
Because I myself am aware that my vision is not 360.
I have blind spots.
Hooks and splinters exist in my emotions that the devil can still tug or enflame in times of peril to his kingdom.
And how is this darkness overcome?
“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it.” (John 1:5 WEYMTH)
When lies come to the light their power is extinguished. The hidden shame attached to darkness dissipates in the warm light of confession and contrition, and a new and bright possibility opens up.
No more hiding. No more skulking in corners, displaying only the shiny exterior to perpetuate the illusion of togetherness.
Life is tough on the soul, and bruises and scars can dull the senses.
Let us express ourselves more fully, and without fear of repercussion. Let us learn the difficult art of guileless honesty with our family and friends.
A community of friends who’ll bear with the worst to get to the best of you.
Let anger, and remorse, and confusion, and questions, and hurts, and disappointments, no longer be stored in the weighty bags of shame that hang around our overburdened necks.
Come to the river, come all you weary. It’s time to let these things go. Time to spill them in the ocean of God’s grace.
Time to drink in His forgiveness and feed on His mercy.
But showing up in an authentic way doesn’t just mean hanging out your dirty laundry every day for the world to ogle. There’s another side to this coin, another essential factor in the equation.
Your dreams, your hopes, your calling and craving for God’s will to be done and His Kingdom to come in and through your life.
The most vulnerable and naked thing you will ever share is not your shame, it’s your deepest most resilient dreams. It’s your inner sense of who you are and why you are here on the planet.
God does not play favourites. He did not shove you to back of the queue when it comes to satisfaction. He has a plan for your life perfectly fitted for your personality and giftings.
It will differ, and the scope of our stewardship may vary, but in that place of favour you’ll find fulfilment. Inside you know who you are, and what you have been
Being bold enough to lay your heart’s desires out in the open is scary.
It leaves you open to riddle and rejection.
The shadows can feel cooler, safer, less exposed.
But it’s here when we begin to accept who we are and discover our awesome, that the real journey of honesty begins.