What I appreciate about my friend is she isn't ashamed to be real with the people around her. She was terrified of riding this roller coaster but stood in line with fear on her face and she wasn't trying to hide it. She wasn't pretending, she isn't afraid to be honest. While I may not be afraid of roller coasters, being honest and real to the people around me is a real struggle. If I was afraid of roller coasters, I would have avoided it all together and argued that I just really love laser tag and that's why I spent all my time shooting dads and their ten year old children.
A couple months ago my roommate, Noah, and I had a conversation about honesty. We ended up with the conclusion that a life of integrity is the best life to live. In that moment, I thought I was living a life of integrity, as I saw myself as an honest person.
"What would life look like if people were honest, 100% of the time?" asked Noah.
Different. Life would look different but I wasn't exactly sure how. We hypothesized some ideas of what the world would look like but we soon grew tired of imagining and wanted to see it in reality.
That's when Noah challenged us both to being honest for 48 hours. Completely honest in every response, statement, comment. Everything.
Most of the time my actions that follow those two words end up with me doing something ridiculous. And to be honest, the ridiculous challenges are the ones that draw me in because of how I think I'll be perceived by others. I tried to impress people because I believed impressions win validation. It's like I have this life resume with all the "cool" stuff I've accomplished. I hand it out to people I want to be friends with hoping to win them over with my experiences as if gauging my ears with a hammer and nail is what people seek for in a friend. All home ear gauging has ever gotten me was an infection (my ear swelled up to the size of a half dollar) and free piercing at Claire's because my already-my-friend friend wanted me to keep my ears attached to my head.
It was a terrifying 48 hours but it was also a revealing two days. I knew I would find out where I lied often in my daily life but I didn't think the person I lied to the most would be myself. Being completely honest meant I had to be honest with myself and I learned a great deal about who I am.
I'm afraid of what people think of me.
I'm terrified of commitment.
I pretend I'm confident in who I am and that people's opinions of me don't matter. I tell myself and others that I like the noncommittal lifestyle I live so I don't have to tell them the idea of commitment is horrifying. But I realized being honest about where I fall short helps me find comfort where God doesn't. Without this honesty, I'm blinded to the truths God tells us.
He's confident in how He made us.
He seeks people despite what people think of Him.
He's committed to us even when we're not committed to Him.
These are promises I can't call upon unless I'm honest with myself. If I continue on ignoring my flaws, my insecurities, then I will never experience the love and grace God has to offer when it comes to me falling short.
I'll ride roller coasters and hammer nails into my lobes without thinking twice but when it comes to being completely honest, I'm terrified. But sometimes the greatest moments in life are right after we do something terrifying. After an honest day of living, I like to imagine I feel how my friend's smile looked after riding those rides at Belmont Park.
I want to encourage you to try it and see what you discover. Find a friend and do it together. I'm sure it'll be a challenge but I'm also positive you'll learn something new. I would love to hear your 48 hours of honesty stories if you would like to share them. I've created an email just for these stories 48HoursOfHonesty@gmail.com
in His grip,
Honestly (pun intended), it takes a lot of bravery to be honest for 48 hours. Heck, if we're including being honest with oneself in this, it's hard for me to be honest for a whole 10 minutes. That's why, as Josh told me about this challenge and then his idea to expand this idea of 48 Hours of Honesty, I sat there and didn't say a whole lot in the hopes that he wouldn't ask me to do it right away. Ha! And he didn't because Josh is a nice guy and doesn't want me to get kicked out of grad school upon completing this challenge...
But the more we talked about honesty, the more I realized it seamlessly fits in with our theme for this semester at Young Life College - the fruit of the Spirit. Now honesty isn't one of the nine "fruits," but if you rewind a bit in Galatians 5, Paul urges the church in Galatia to "walk by the Spirit" and proceeds to list what desires of the flesh look like in contrast to the desires (or fruits) of the Spirit.
I believe that honesty is intimately intertwined in any attempt to walk by the Spirit because just as Josh said, God constantly throws truth our way, allowing us to wrestle with it so that when we decide to believe truth, we might also more fully understand it.
[Honesty and truth are weirdly connected. I feel like I use them as synonyms sometimes, but I think it's more of a "one thing leads to another" relationships. I think honesty leads to truth. And I think God is always honest with us.]
So even if you don't attempt 48 Hours of Honesty, will you join us in at least taking an honest look this semester at what a life walking in the Spirit might look like? Let's look at the truth of what freedom in Christ means for our lives - lives marked by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.