Like It Is

I’ve always preferred “like I want it to be” to “like it is.” Ignorant bliss is more comfortable than harsh reality. Like most folks, I love to hear what I want to hear and don’t respond well to those who tell it like it is. I was surprised by a “tell it like it is” encounter I had last week, and I’m still trying to absorb the harsh truth that came when there were no filters to soften the blow.

I moved into a beautiful house with my son’s family six months ago, and I’ve grown to love it. I have a friend whose husband knows a lot about gardening and construction, so I asked him to come take a look at the house. I was sure he would have the same positive reaction she had and looked forward to showing it off and hearing all his praises. I was taken aback as he began finding fault before we entered the driveway. I was sure he would change his mind once he saw the house, and I knew he would marvel at the landscaping.

As we toured the grounds, he shocked me with his brutal assessment. I could tell his wife was uneasy, but I wanted the truth. I needed the truth! The rose-colored glasses came off, and the truth blindsided me. I was deflated as they drove away. I’ve been having trouble breathing lately and figured I must be coming down with a cold or perhaps an allergy of some kind, but my friend’s husband said that the stucco on the house was most likely hiding black mold and much more that couldn’t be seen but would eventually find its way to the outside.

I went for a long hike for the first time in two weeks yesterday. The torrential rains and some health issues have kept me away from my hiking, so I was happy to be back on the trail. I found I couldn’t climb the first small hill without panting, so I had to stay down at the bottom of the mountain for most of the walk. I knew in my heart that Dale was right about the mold. Black mold caused an asthma attack five years ago, and I realized I wouldn’t be able to live in the house I’d grown to love if it was present. I thanked God that we had not already purchased the home and prayed for His guidance.

This house is a wonderful opportunity for me to be with my granddaughters and enjoy my son’s family, but I realize that it isn’t meant to be my home. There have been many lessons in living and loving together, and I know God has many more in store for us. I plan to see how my breathing goes and let God lead as far as housing goes. It’s not easy to hear the truth when it isn’t what I want to hear, but it’s important to have someone willing to tell it like it is when I’m letting what I want keep me from seeing and hearing the obvious. Hindsight is 20/20, and I got a painful lesson in that this week.

Four years ago today, truth was spoken in a way that changed my life. I realize that the two experiences have much in common. I couldn’t believe my ears or my heart when confronted with unexpected feelings that I am only beginning to understand. Like this house, I had my own ideas of what I wanted, but the truth sent me reeling and left me realizing that what is and what I think can be as far from one another as the east is from the west.

The view outside my bedroom is amazing, and it is really why I am so attached to this house. I don’t want to let it go. It goes on forever, and God never ceases to amaze me with His spectacular displays at sunset. The other side of the house is a very different matter. The sunrise can be seen, but you have to look past a house that sits right in front of this house. It’s a poorly built eyesore. My friend’s husband asked me if I really wanted to look at that horrible house for the rest of my life. The way he said it shook me to my senses. The house is getting worse and showing signs of poor construction as it ages, and it isn’t going away. I knew the same was true for the obstruction in my heart’s way.

God used the house to teach an important lesson in “like it is” yesterday. It’s never easy when what I want isn’t what is. The good news is that God’s lessons with my heart and the house have come in time to avoid making big mistakes with both. Like the house, there is an amazing view from one side of my heart that brings me nearer to God, but there is an obstacle on the other side that, like that house looming in the foreground, isn’t going anywhere. If that house should fall off the side of the mountain, it would create terrible damage that would leave this house compromised and cause great loss to its owner. The beautiful view would come at the demise of both houses. The same is true for my heart.

The best way to let go of “the way I want it to be” is to accept “the way it is” and move on to “the way God wants it to be.” I can’t stay on one side of my house for the rest of my life anymore than I can stay on one side of my heart. I plan to trust God with my house plans and my heart plans because He has wonderful plans for both. Until then, I plan to enjoy the view and share the journey as God desires 🙂

Amazing View

To Be Honest?

When I see “tbh” in my newsfeed on facebook, I have to smile. On Thursday morning, a friend described “to be honest” as fishing for compliments. I agree and think “tmwiwth” might be more appropriate. “Tell me what I want to hear” is at the heart of my shout out to others, and it is also at the heart of my cries to God. This morning, God’s lesson was about coming into His presence with a true “tbh” heart. The lesson was sobering, to say the least. My heart is never ready for God’s honesty or the honesty of loving friends when I have a “tell me what I want to hear” attitude.

The noisiness in my heart comes from Satan telling me what I want to hear and me chiming in and chattering right along. It’s very similar to those conversations I have when someone hits a raw nerve, and we both start telling each other what we want to hear. Seeking validation is easier than searching for the truth, and the resulting conversation is cacophony at it’s very best. I leave those noisy conversations having much more faith in myself as the truth fades into the background; but just as junk food leaves me hungry, so do conversations filled with what I want to hear.

A true “to be honest” is the most difficult of all conversations, and it takes my praying life to a whole new level. The truth is beautiful and will set me free, but it is a two-edged sword that cuts to the very center of my heart. La La Land is anywhere truth is avoided, and I’ve lived in many versions of it for too much of my life. Avoiding the truth keeps me from hearing, and faith is forfeited in the process. My faith depends upon hearing, and walking in God’s kingdom depends upon heeding. I cannot get to the truth unless I begin my prayers and conversations with a sincere “tbh.”

Honesty isn’t about judging, and I’m not saying that it’s up to me to tell others the truth. I do need to be honest, but God is more concerned with my hearing His truth than with my straightening out the world. Some folks feel it’s their calling to make sure they tell others what they should and should not be doing. God forbid that I do that. I’m guilty of judging far too often, and I have come to realize it’s a great indication that I’m avoiding the truth in my own life. When I find myself in those negative conversations or judging, I know it is time for a “tbh” with God.

It is vital that I say and hear the truth with love. Without love, the truth is a battering ram that knocks the breath out of me and breaks my heart. Satan uses that battering ram very well and even disguises himself as God the Smiter! I felt that smiting this morning, but God’s voice was there when the din subsided. He gently asked if those were terms I thought He would use to describe me. I knew they were not. He went on to tell me the beautiful truth that I am His daughter and He loves me. After my heart settled down, He told me the truth I needed to hear with love. Satan takes a tiny bit of truth and runs with it in his direction hoping to get me to follow along. God speaks the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, with love. Then, He picks me up, dusts me off, gives me a sweet embrace, and points me in His direction:)

%d bloggers like this: