Upon completing a chapter of a book a friend of mine and I are reading together, I came to the realization that I do not express many emotions outside of joy. The other wide range of emotions? Stuff 'em, leave 'em, ignore 'em, anything but admit and face them. Strange isn't it? I do not know at what point in my life I started choosing to go along my merry way, even if the way was anything but. I do not know the point that set it all off, but I do know this has been a perpetual cycle of insanity for me.
I am pondering this more today and trying to determine the balance between honesty in where I truly am and the hope I have in Christ. It is a tricky line for me to walk. But I cannot tell you why.
While I want to be authentic and honest in my own struggles, solely in order to help those around me, I do not want to voice negativity and pollute the lives around me. I want to give strength to the positive, the vibrant, the living, and do not want to hand any power to the negative forces in life. I want to be honest, yet I want others to know that even on my worst days, God is still at his best. I do not want to disappoint, let down, or have others feel like they cannot turn to me.
And if I appeared weak, then what? What would happen if the trainer admitted she is still struggling with her own image issues and has days she does not practice self control? What would happen if I admitted my frustrations in our business? What would happen if I threw my hands up in resignation in any given moment, if only for a moment? What would happen then?
Would everyone laugh? Turn away? Flee from me and my voice of discontent? More than likely, nothing would happen. At least, I do not believe these things would be the great stumbling block others would never recover from. But I, I might be released from my own stringent standards, I might be freed from burdens that are not mine, and from chains that do not belong around my feet. Though this honesty may have no affect on anyone else, maybe it would affect me, and maybe that is the lesson I need.
Rob Bell says this about hope:
"Ultimately our gift to the world around us is hope. Not blind hope that pretends everything is fine...but the kind of hope that comes from staring suffering right in the eyes and refusing to believe that this is all there is. It is what we all need -hope that comes not from going around suffering but from going through it. "
I am beginning to think the problem is not in balancing truth of where I am, but in being honest about any given struggle while infusing my words with hope. How do I say that my day is not going where I desire and I am worn, and tired, and at the end of my proverbial rope while holding tightly to the promises of Christ? Because,
So where, and how, do we do it? How do we manage to say "this is where I am at, and it's not pretty" while believing "this place is not where I will stay"? And even more, how to we encourage that in one another? If I utter the phrase, "How are you?" I want to know the honest truth, as I share with you the honest truth.
And when we are finished hacking away at the upheaval in our lives, I want the hope and peace of Christ to be clearly seen and sought after.
As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.