Why is honesty hard? Why do we have a difficult time sharing how we are truly doing? In our culture and society, comparison is rampant. Social media makes it easy to see the “perfect” lives of our friends and acquaintances. On any given day, I can open Facebook to see my feed filled with posts about babies being born, engagement announcements, graduations, and career achievements. These are all wonderful things, but I can’t help but wonder, what else is going on in the lives of these individuals? In a subconscious effort to “keep up with the Joneses” it is all too easy to say “we’re busy, but doing well!” when asked how we are doing.
I do think there are times and places where it is more appropriate to share the details of our lives, and those where it is not. But, if I had to guess, most of us keep ourselves too busy to really assess how we are doing, and leave even less time to find genuine friends with whom we can share our struggles and joys.
Stephanie McKeever recently wrote a blog titled One of the Hard Days…. Her post reminded me of the importance of being honest. When we are honest, we can build authentic relationships. When we are honest, we can receive needed encouragement and can also encourage others. When we are honest, we can honor Christ exactly where we are.
Are you in a place where life is difficult and you are tired? Are you in a place where your life is filled with wonderful blessings? I have found that regardless of life circumstances, Romans 12:12 is a verse that I cling to, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (ESV). Whether I am in the midst of a storm or in a state of perfect bliss, this verse gives me three practical reminders. It reminds me where my hope is (i.e. Christ), how I ought to approach my difficult days, and who to turn to with both my sorrow and my joy.
I have also discovered that I need people in my life. Not just people I can catch up with over dinner, but people who will intentionally ask me how I’m doing and ask about the details of my life. It is easy to allow busyness to keep our conversations light. Genuine relationships take time and can be messy. But the rich blessing that comes from authentic community is more than worth the effort.
What about you? It is difficult for you to be honest? Do you have authentic community? I encourage you to seek friends with whom you can be honest. If you have difficulty finding them, seek to be the kind of friend that asks for honest answers, and trust the Lord to take your friendships deeper.
Ali Howard is the Volunteer Coordinator for Joni and Friends. Click to read Ali’s full bio.