Life presents us with two big lies. The first lie tells us that we are supposed to have our act altogether. In response to this lie, anytime someone asks us how we are doing we often say, “I’m fine”. The second lie tells us everybody’s life is perfect except mine. Our response to this lie is to keep our messes behind closed doors. In many respects, today’s message is a sequel to last week’s but with a twist. The truth must be told. Please read more…
By God’s design, we are called to be a communal people. When the truth is told and we let others know when we are facing difficult times, not only does our sharing help us, but it helps them too. Take a look at what Paul says about this in 2 Corinthians 1: 3-8. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God.”
It has been said that it is better to be honest and authentic, even if we disappoint others, than to exhaust ourselves trying to keep up a facade of perfection. How often do you say the words, “I’m fine”? I suspect nearly every day. Rarely is it true. We need to stop saying “I’m fine” when we’re not.
Sometimes we respond with the words “I’m fine,” simply because our real answer is too complex, and we prefer to avoid a conversation about it. The reality is that clinical studies show that talking about our problems helps to relieve the stress of pretending they don’t exist. Other times we say “I’m fine,” because we don’t want to bother the other person with our problems. Yet another reason to say, “I’m fine,” is because we fear being vulnerable. This stems from the second lie, which told us we were the only ones with problems. This is simply untrue. Finally, there are times when we say, “I’m fine,” because we are too afraid to tell someone how we are really feeling. We fear being judged, or we’re afraid that the other person won’t care. In the end, it is easier to pretend as if nothing is wrong.
We need to begin practicing honesty. It has been said that when we open our mouth, we are also opening our heart. When we share our struggles, we are bearing our soul, and when we do, the words of comfort that others share with us can sooth our soul and in turn theirs too.
Trials and sufferings highlight our utter dependence on God and sometimes on other members of the body of Christ. As I pointed out last week in my article, Are You Hurting In Silence, our pains and struggles can isolate us from one another. When we are isolated by pain and suffering, we turn inward on ourselves. When we share our trials with others, the focus turns to our dependence on God and in doing so, we bring glory to Him, and encouragement to others.
Following last week’s message, a good friend of mine shared a song with me. The name of that song is TRUTH BE TOLD by Christian singer Matthew West. You can click the link to find it on Apple music. My friend said, “Brian, either this singer has been attending your retreats, or you wrote the song for him.” Of course, neither of those things happened, but the Holy Spirit did give us both the same message to share. Please take a moment to watch and listen to this music video.
The refrain offers us these powerful words:
I say I’m fine, yeah I’m fine oh I’m fine, hey I’m fine but I’m not
And when it’s out of control I say it’s under control but it’s not
And you know it
I don’t know why it’s so hard to admit it
When being honest is the only way to fix it
There’s no failure, no fall
There’s no sin you don’t already know
So let the truth be told
In Romans 8:18, Paul shares these words of comfort. “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.” So, as we go forth, let’s make a renewed commitment to LET THE TRUTH BE TOLD!
Finally, if you sense that the other person who asks you, “How are you doing,” is merely being conversational and expecting a short answer, let your response be, “I’m blessed,” because that is always true, no matter what is going on in your life.
Heavenly Father, I know you can comfort me in all my afflictions, but I often fail to realize that you do so through the words of others. Help me to understand that You can only help me through them if I am willing to share my true feelings. Amen!
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Don’t forget to mark your calendars
On December 6-8, 2019, I will be leading a 3 day Advent Retreat. Catholics as well as non-Catholics are welcome to attend. Fr. Ed Sheridan will join us to celebrate Catholic mass and Reconciliation will be available. Author Joseph Galloway will be giving a talk about his book The Broken Door and will be signing books. The retreat is being held at the Catholic Conference Center in Hickory, NC. It’s beautiful! I hope you can join us. Click this link to sign up.