“What’s wrong?”, she asked.
“Nothing.”, he responded flatly.
“You’re lying. You have been a little grumpy all morning. Something is the matter.”, she pressed.
“There is nothing the matter! Why do you always think something is wrong just because I am quiet?”, he said as his emotional meter rose.
“Because I know you.”, she quickly answered.
“You always get mad at me when I say nothing is wrong!”, he said, now with greater volume.
She interjected passionately, “It’s because I just want you to be honest with me! If you know you are grumpy but don’t know why, then just say, ‘I don’t know why I’m grumpy’, but don’t tell me nothing is wrong…it’s something, and it hurts my feelings when you won’t just be honest with me…and yourself!”
I know this sounds familiar. We have all been there before with a close friend, a family member, a child, or a spouse. Everyone wants honesty…even if the answer is, “Yes, I agree I am grumpy but I don’t know why.” Honesty builds intimacy. Honesty builds trust. Honesty breaks down walls. Honesty makes us vulnerable. Honesty causes us to face something we might otherwise prefer to avoid. Honesty is a quality that we assume will follow any close relationship, and when it does not, it causes a deep wound. In What on Earth am I Here For, Rick Warren states, “Genuine friendship is built on disclosure.” We all want authenticity…and so does God.
If we want to build a relationship with God, a friendship with Him, then we must choose to be honest with Him when we talk to Him. He desires our honesty just like we desire it in our earthly relationships. Warren says, “In the Bible, the friends of God were honest about their feelings, often complaining, second-guessing, accusing, and arguing with their Creator. God, however, didn’t seem to be bothered by this frankness; in fact, he encouraged it.” He goes on to give multiple examples of this, like Abraham challenging Him about the destruction of Sodom, or David accusing God of betrayal, abandonment, or unfairness, or Job venting about his ordeal, or Moses speaking candidly about their time of wandering in the desert. He goes on to say, “To instruct us in candid honesty, God gave us the book of Psalms – a worship manual, full of ranting, raving, doubts, fears, resentments, and deep passions combined with thanksgiving, praise, and statements of faith…. You can pray like David, ‘I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles for I am overwhelmed.’” All too often, we sugar coat our prayers and act like nothing is wrong… as if He does not know the real story! Why do we do this? He knows us and he simply wants us to be honest.
One of the reasons we choose not to be honest in our relationship with God ,and with others, is that we forget the following scripture, and then we lose the balance between believing God for a better situation and admitting, sharing, expressing, or even complaining like David did about the reality of the situation. “Share your burdens with one another, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2…it is assumed here that we all have burdens and we are commanded to share them, not deny they exist. We are all guilty of walking around saying, “I’m fine! I’m good!”, when that is far from the truth. We don’t want to complain, or listen to complaining, all of the time, but at the same time, we don’t want to hear sugar coated answers all of time concerning situations when your heart is bursting with the need to pour itself out at His feet or someone else’s. Be real with God and be real with one another. It will refresh us and lift the weight…. this is why its called a burden!
After being reminded how God’s friends in the Bible did not hold back anything from Him and shared their doubts, fears, and heartaches, I realized that I am guilty of not being completely honest in my conversations with God. When I choose not to be honest with God, I am, at the same time, choosing not to be honest with myself. This is what my conversation with God could look like if I were to lay it all out there….
“Lord! I am so tired! I am tired of this road you have me traveling! When will things be all good again? When? Why can’t things happen faster? I don’t know how much more of this I can handle? You must see something in me that I don’t see in myself. Who am I to have to walk this road? God why the long wait? It may not be long to you but it feels like an eternity to me. I obeyed you and moved my family to someplace where I didn’t’ know anyone…. can you move a little faster? “
In my blog post from March 2011, entitled “And Yet,” I showed how David was able to lay it all out there to God, and yet still speak of his trust and faith in God. The winning combination…be honest and yet acknowledge that He is able.
Psalm 6:6-9 reads, "I am weary with my groaning; All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with tears. My eye wastes away because of grief; It grows old because of all my enemies. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity." (Here comes another 'and yet' or 'but God'.) " For the Lord(and yet He) has heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication." David says it again in Psalm 22:14 & 15, 19, "I am poured out like water and all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd. And my tongue clings to my jaws; You have brought me to the dust of death.... But you, O lord, do not be far from me; O my strength, hasten to help me!" David feels all of these emotions but he knows he can look to God and say,"Here I am Lord... dried up, a wreck, lost, miserable, and feeling so heavy my bones can barely carry me. But I turn to You, because I know You are able, and in spite how I may be feeling, You are still there."
This is all acceptable. It’s honesty. It’s what God wants from us. If we are keeping our eyes straight ahead and our eyelids right before us, we must be honest with what we see…”The road is pitch black, Lord, and I’m cold, tired, and I feel all alone. All I can see is my feet and it really frightens me and yet I trust You. I know you will keep me under your wings of protection.”