Maybe not rooftops. And probably not shouting. Probably just in living rooms in normal tone of voice.
For one thing, being honest allows you to know that you aren’t alone. For a really long time it was difficult for me to admit that I struggled with what modern Christianity looks like. I felt isolated & was swallowed by shame and self-hatred for not being a perfect evangelical small group leader. Or, even worse, that I didn’t think that I wanted to grow up to be a Conservative!
But when I started admitting these things out loud, I quickly found that there were other people who felt and believed similarly to me. In fact, I learned that some Christians are actually Liberals! And Feminists! Community grew out of that honesty, and still grows as I continue to be honest about what it looks like to follow Jesus. It seems silly that shame kept me away from community for so long.
And then there’s knowing something, and at the same time not knowing it. I always talk about how ones worth isn’t in what they do, or how you should feel completely comfortable in your own skin, or how darkness and depression won’t win in the end. I say these things, and I read them, and I write the words over and over. I know them, but do I actually know them? Because the reality is that sometimes I struggle with my worth, with accepting unconditional love, with loving my body, and fighting darkness. My head knows all of these things, but my heart hasn’t really caught on yet.
A few nights ago I was feeling exceptionally insecure. As I voiced how I was feeling to a few close friends and explained the gap between what my mind knows and my heart feels, I found another powerful reason to keep being honest. In a moment where my heart didn’t want to feel the things I know in my head to be true, my friends reaffirmed these truths. In so many gracious words, I was given permission to love myself– even if I did just emotioally eat all of the icecream.
I know that for a lot of people self-acceptance is hard. This year has been a year of constantly having to remind myself of my worth and extend to myself the same grace that Jesus extends to me. I’m not so good at it yet, but the space between my head and my heart shrinks a little bit each day. Sometimes I have days where that space seems like a chasm that will never close, but on those days I thank God for the people He has placed around me to speak into the darkness and bridge the gap.
I hope that we all learn to be honest, & to say what we’re feeling even if we think our feelings are dumb. I hope you know that you are well loved, that your life means something, that your body is beautiful, that your voice is heard, and that light and love always win.
Here’s to entering into a new season with both confidence and honesty, to loving people more fully, to going outside of my comfort zone, & to my heart one day knowing the fullness of Christ.
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
With love and hope,