Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Seeking Him Together - Can I Be Honest?

I have lived in the same house for 38 of my 39 years of life. I don't remember ever living anywhere else. Just before I got married (in all honesty) my parents moved out and my fiance moved in. We rented the house from them for 8 years and 10 years ago we bought it.

I remember when I was little, probably 10 or so, my parents brought a tree home in my dad's two-tone Datsun truck and planted it in the front yard. It was so skinny and weak, I remember when the Santa Ana winds came we thought it was going to break right in half. They had to tie a stake to it to keep it standing. It scarred up the tree pretty good. That little tree is now the biggest tree in the neighborhood.

This tree once so little and harmless, has become a force to be reckoned with. It has taken on a life of it's own never to have been fully anticipated when it was first planted.

If you walk up closely to it and look up high on the large trunk, you can still see the scar from the rope that once held it upright in the wind protecting it. I look at this tree and it makes me think of a lie. A lie? Yes, a lie. I think about how so often a "little white lie" is told with justification or excuse but before you know it, it takes on a life of its own.

If you walk around my property, you can see the damage on the surface being wrought by the deep roots of our tree. There are cracks on the surface, our foundation is being uprooted.

Just yesterday my husband had to remove a branch coming up between our patio and back door. (Yes, I said BACK door.) It was pretty big, and we had let it go so long it was starting to interfere with the sliding glass door. It begs the question, with the damage we can see on the surface, what sort of havoc are the roots wreaking underneath where we cannot see. Like a lie, or worse, a life lived without honesty, the real problem lies beneath the surface, doing unknown damage.

This is a lesson I have had to learn all too well in my life. When I came to the Lord, I came to Him out from under the cover of darkness and dishonesty. I kept a sin secret for so long it laid there prepared to destroy my marriage. It had driven me far from the knowledge of God and was a fault line in the foundation of my life.

Perhaps that's why I hold such a high regard for honesty and transparency. I not only require it of myself but those around me. It becomes quite a bone of contention between my oldest son and I, who at 15 is still learning the importance of living a transparent and honest life, total honesty. The fact of the matter is, if there is such a thing as too honest, I may be guilty of it. I have thought on more than one occasion that this blog should have been perhaps titled "Naked Diana" rather than "My Walk of Faith."

Now, please don't misunderstand me. I am by no means perfect in this area, but I do know I tend to be extremely open about my struggles with sin. I also tend to be honest about the struggles and sin of my family as well, which is probably in part at least where I cross the line, but I have experienced the total lack of peace that comes from living a life with hidden sin, and refuse to live that kind of life again.

Now on to our questions from this week's hostess.

~What part of this study or what Scripture has been most helpful to you thus far in understanding what revival means in your life? Why?

For me the most profound nugget of wisdom from this study came from a quote in the first week's study. Del Fehsenfeld Jr. said, "Revival awakens in our hearts an increased awareness of the presence of God, a new love for God, a new hatred for sin and a new hunger for His word." I see this quote almost as a progress scale, by recognizing the status of each point, I can gage whether or not there are signs of revival in my life. In all honesty, I am sad to say I noticed the strongest activity in my heart in the first week, but I consider it like heart exercise. When you are building muscles, your first efforts are most strongly felt, then you reach a plateau and the effects of the exertion are less felt. It's then that you know you must raise the bar to find the effect of exertion felt again. I suspect it is time to again raise the bar for the effort that needs to be made to revive my heart towards the Lord.

~What can we do to create greater freedom in the Body of Christ to be honest with each other?

I think the key to fostering honesty in the Body of Christ is to fight hard to overcome the sense of judgment that is so prevalent. We have forgotten the sentiment, "There but for the grace of God go I." I think we look around and think we have our demons and struggles beat and judge others who struggle in areas we no longer feel we do. But the fact of the matter is that it is that very prideful attitude that setds us up to fall again into that sin, and the sin of pride on top of it. We need to remember we are all works in process, each battling to overcome our own struggles. Your sin issues make you no worse than me, we are all human fighting to overcome our sinful nature. Likewise, my sin issues make me no worse than you, just a soul in need of a Savior because apart from Christ, I can do nothing.


His Girl said...

Fabulous post, DianA... such a great illustration, too (that's my favorite way to learn)

Brook said...

What a wonderful post! The tree illustration is such a vivid one. In the few weeks since I "met" you, I have enjoyed reading your blog and the transparency you show.

I too struggle with being "too honest". Do you feel that because you are so honest and transparent with others it makes it easier for them to be honest with you about their struggles?

Even though one of my best friends who's a high school language arts teacher disagrees with this statement, I am not a good writer. I have a difficult time putting my thoughts into words. So I love expressing myself by using certain scriptures or quotes. I also really enjoy reading blogs like yours who do such a good job of sharing their heart honestly and eloquently.