Have you ever got the feeling that you made the right choice, for the wrong reasons? Or conversely, that your intentions were sound, even in making the wrong choice? I want to just pause and reflect on the difference between those two things.
Often in life, it can feel like you have to choose between right and wrong, well built success or fast success, money or greater priorities. It can be equally hard to fail as to succeed when you are underprepared or unfairly advantaged, and it “success” can often seem like a dishonest middle finger, at least from my lenses.
If you get the outcomes you want 100 percent of the time, do you enjoy them? Let’s take a little scenario here, just for funsies.
In Scenario A, you want a specific job. You lie a little on your application materials, and are selected. You find out when you start working that actually, the experience you fudged was waaaay more important than all the stuff you’ve actually done. How do you get out of that? You just kind of wait.
Scenario B starts just about the same, but you confess what you’ve done right after you’ve realized you were wrong. You ask for forgiveness. You recognize what you did was wrong, and you’ve taken steps to actively correct for it. You realize that you can’t make up for your mistakes, but you are genuine in that you know you will not make the same mistake again. You go to God for forgiveness, and make things plain before him. At least you have closure.
For the sake of this example, that’s as far as we know. In either circumstance, you could be fired with bad references, or you could somehow be sent some mercy. In fact, you could be fired for being honest and given a wealth of encouragement and help for having lied without recourse. That much is irrelevant, but it happens.
The point is, what would you do? Is momentary safety worth making an already precarious situation worse? Better yet, do two wrongs make a right?
I’m not trying to quiz you like Sunday school, but I do want to point out the emotional/spiritual difference between contrition and avoiding taking responsibility for one’s sins. The reason contrition and honesty is important is that it’s nearly impossible to move on from sin if you don’t at some point directly confront it. Miracles happen, and being bravely honest is definitely one of those.
Past the point where the ball is in your court and you have control of your destiny, are you really at peace with who you are, and what you’ve been given? To me, it feels like a continuous process. It’s so weird that there are always more layers, but only in growing past them can we find the strength to firmly stand.
Keep in mind, you don’t lose your layers. This isnt a hair cut, and they’ll be with you always, if only in the past. You don’t want to sacrifice them, because that’s like carving a sweet potato into the size of a pearl. Better just to appreciate even your past for what it is.
Coming to terms with the past makes moving forward easier. You don’t have to compete as much, because competition already came when you decided to move on, and you’re over it. We often imagine success to be a race to the top, but it’s more like finding peace wherever you find that destination. You don’t have to grow up. Sometimes to grow up right, you have to be made low.
Holding on to spiritual weight is stressful and distracting from legitimate blessings. Could you be enough just as you are, today? You don’t have to be the one to carry those burdens.
Being honest and clear about the past helps you understand the present and plan for the future, allowing you to set your priorities in order. If God bought your freedom so you could come to him exactly as you are, why do we hide? If he already knows, what good does that do? It just postpones relief.
You have to be honest with yourself if you want to really cash in grace in freedom. Even if you fail, at least you will know what you have to give, and know God loves you anyways. It will help others love you more, because they trust you, and don’t expect you to punish them for being who they are. If you stop exacting an honesty tax from yourself, often you stop that nonsense for others. Paradoxically, one of the best blessings you can provide to your loved ones is loving yourself enough to be able to truly value their time.
If you are proud of something, you don’t hide it. You don’t worry about it being wounded, and you don’t put it on yourself to shield it from the outside world. It is worth being honest, because of all good things, honesty is a gift that grows. If you are unashamed to be you, that small change can trigger some pretty powerful things, especially if you offer it before God. You don’t have to be perfect, and you’re definitely loved, but it certainly helps to tell the truth.