Inspiration, Encouragement & Instructions
". . . let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
Truth or dare?
Do you remember playing this game?
I had pretty much forgotten about it until the other day I overheard a couple of middle schoolers firing off the "truth or dare" question to one another.
What did you choose: Answer the question truthfully, or take on the risk of having to perform some crazy act like maybe eating orange peels or saying, "hello," to the next stranger who came in the building.
What is it about telling the truth that seems just as risky as the potential of making yourself look like a fool?
I wonder if it is because as we grow up we begin to realize that to be honest and authentic is to also be vulnerable and open to judgement. Somehow we get sent the message that others won't like us if we tell the truth. And sometimes, we even believe we won't like ourselves if we tell the truth.
And yet, this is completely opposite of what we know about the truth. Truth brings peace, hope, healing and intimacy. Truth diminishes darkness and sets us free from lies and shame.
Maybe you are like me and know in your head the truth about truth. And yet, you'd still choose the "dare" option every time because the fear of having to tell the actual truth to any question asked is much scarier than the alternative.
And, maybe like me, it isn't that you'd rather be dishonest nor that you have anything to hide, it is just that you are uncertain as to whether you'll be able to handle the response others have to your truthful answer--or you don't quite know if you can handle your own response.
Safer to keep quiet and press on.
Who can relate to this motto?
Can I tell you how this motto has held me back? How it has hindered my ability to ask for help, receive prayer and even limited my ability to move toward healthy self-actualization?
Well, I could but then I'd have to write another book and I am not quite ready for that.
How about I just start with one story of how telling the truth was an important step in moving out of darkness and one step closer to the light.
As a result of circumstances happening around me, heaviness gripped me once again. For seemingly the 100th time, strategic plans that looked like they were going forward as envisioned, fell-through due to decisions and resources beyond my control and capacity.
I reached out to a few close friends and family asking for prayers because doubt and discouragement were taking over and I could not shake my disappointment, and if I am really honest, I was really, really angry. Not at a person but at the circumstances.
I was actually pretty proud of myself for reaching out and for being truthfully-specific in my prayer request. This wasn't something I had been good at in years past.
And then a couple days later a friend checked in to see how I was doing. All I wanted to do was reply with, “I am doing better. Thanks for checking.” But I wasn’t. I just didn’t want to muster up the energy to put actual words to what was causing my chest to feel like it was going to explode each night before sleeping and each morning before getting out of bed. I didn't want to sound like a fool who couldn't get my act together and cheer up already.
So after some thought, prayer and courage I was able to reply with the truth:
Fear has a grip on me.
If I can’t _____, then ____ .
If ______ doesn't happen, then _____.
If ______ continues, then I fear there will come a day when I run out of strength and end up in a puddle on the floor, unable to teach, lead or love.
I had never labeled that brick in my chest fear. And I probably wouldn’t have had I not written back to my friend. I had a choice, tell the truth or not. Be honest with myself and my friend or not. Slink up away from the invitation to name what was holding me back, or “Play it safe. Keep quiet and carry on.”
I can’t say that the wrestling match with doubt and discouragement has completely gone away since telling the truth, but I can see that the heaviness has lifted some. I can also see that I am beginning to view some things slightly differently because by naming my emotion (fear) I have also seen how many thoughts I have let fear taint, sending me down the “If. . .then” trail--a trail that never leads to anywhere good.
Friend, I don’t know what you need to get honest about in your life right now. But can I dare you to ask the Holy Spirit to show you?
We serve a God who is truth, who abides with us in truth and who calls out to us to live in the truth-filled grace He offers. Just like Adam and Eve, we are prone to think we can sometimes choose to hide rather than face truth. And just like He did in the Garden of Eden, God comes looking for us (quite possibly through the text of a friend), inviting us to tell Him the truth when he asks, “Where are you?”
Her family and friends know her as, Jaci. She is the wife of a pastor, a mom of four, writing and communications education instructor, a visionary and an avid runner. As a firm believer in the power and effectiveness of the body of Christ united together to live out the Great Commission, she holds fast to this verse, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). Of equal importance to her are these words, "...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1).
Posts in the Run for Your Life, series: