Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lynette, at Dancing Barefoot on Weathered Ground, is the hostess of this week's In "Other" Words Tuesdays. Please be sure to stop by her blog and read her take on this week's quote, as well as the posts of the others who have shared.

“Friends, if we be honest with ourselves, we shall be honest with each other.” ~ George MacDonald ~

I find honesty refreshing. In a world where deception runs rampant, it's a trait I truly admire. We are actually commanded in God's Word to actually think on honest things.

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8 (KJV, Emphasis, mine)

One thing I enjoy doing is looking up what the original word means when used in the Bible. The greek word for honesty in this verse is semnos. It means:

1) august, venerable, reverend
2) to be venerated for character, honourable
a) of persons
b) of deeds

The word semnos is also used for the word grave, and the greek word semnos is used 3 other times in the New Testament. 1Timothy 3:8, 1Timothy 3:11, and Titis 2:2.

Look at what Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words has to say, "the word we want is one in which the sense of gravity and dignity is combined." Cremer describes it as denoting what inspires reverence and awe, and says that semnos and hosios, "holy, consecrated," are only secondary designations of the conception of holiness. "The word points to seriousness of purpose and to self-respect in conduct" (Moule)."

My prayer: Father, help me understand honesty and rightly convey my thoughts here in a way that ministers to other through encouragement and inspiration, and lessons learned from a lifetime ago.

Honesty with myself is something I have had trouble with all my life. From a very early age, I learned that dishonesty was, in fact, expected and a trait that was encouraged by both my parents. Denial and covering things up were my modus operandi. I gave some examples of the lying I did to cover up for him, but went back and deleted them because I don't want to be honest about how I was so dishonest back in the day, covering things up, believing the lies I told myself that it was my fault Daddy drank and Mother was so avoidant because she just didn't care.

Suffice it to say that growing up as a child of an alchoholic father left me with scars that made learning honesty with myself and others very hard.

I had parents who loved me very much and made sure I was in church every Sunday, whether they were there or not. More often than not, Mother was, Daddy wasn't. Daddy was a highly functioning alcoholic and Mother did care, she just stood by her marriage vows for as long as she could (they divorced after I was married) and are still close, though they are still divorced. Ironically, Daddy is a recovered alcoholic but he didn't recover until about 5 years ago. I love my father very much but I also have a lot of "issues" with him.

I still struggle today, but not with honesty. I do my best to emulate the qualities of honesty listed above. While I'm being honest, I'll share that my issues are with depression, which is under control with medicine, and I struggle with some chronic illnesses, such as IBS and fibromyalgia, though not on a daily basis. I do struggle with emotional insecurities, which I take to God daily or weekly or monthly. As I grow spiritually, I find I'm less insecure.

How did I reconcile the truth I learned about God on Sunday's and Wednesday's as a child with the lies I led at home?

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." ~ John 8:32 (NIV)

"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." ~ Isaiah 55:6-11 (NIV)

"Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place." ~ Psalm 51:6 (NIV)

Jesus became my Savior when I was about 14 years old, but He did not become my LORD until much later in my life. During an eight year period of prayer, I came to realize, as I was praying over another matter, that dishonesty and all the angst of the past were nailed to the Cross. Christ died for the heartache and sin in my life, and as I learned not to take them down from the Cross to wear again and again, He became my LORD.

God exchanged the dishonesty and bondage I was under for His grace and mercy and truth. I learned that I was not a horrible person. My father made his own choice to drink and be obnoxious, and no amount of lying on his part or Satan's can or does make me believe any longer that it was my fault.

I learned from God that I was not the daughter of an awful man, but one under an addiction that was stronger than he was. I began to see him with the love that God sees him with. I learned that even on the days that I beleived my father was just awful that I was the daughter of the King. I am a child of the Most High God.

I learned to accept the good things God's Word said about me and believed them. I let God tear down the walls of dishonesty the Enemy had fed me for so long and have come to see myself as a person of worth, beautiful in God's eyes. I do not say this pridefully, but with great humility.
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear." ~ 1 Peter 3:3-6 (NIV)

I try to have the beauty mentioned above. And now that I am honest with myself and have exchanged the lies I believed for the truth of God's love, I can speak the truth in love, not only to myself but to others.

I pray that you believe the good and honest things about yourself, and that by doing so, you can be honest and transparent with others. There are risks involved. Will others see you as weak? Maybe, but remember that God's grace covers all your weaknesses.

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

It did mine. Years of therapy didn't teach me these things, although it helped. Reading God's Word and growing in the grace God so freely gives through Jesus Christ His Son is what allowed me to let the Holy Spirit work in my life to live an honest life.

H - Humble yourself before God and ask him for help to be honest with yourself.

O - Open your heart to share the truth of your testimony with others.

N - Never forget that you are a child of the Most High God; the Daughter of the King.

E - Expect a certain lack of understanding when you bear your inmost thoughts - it's hard to convey the matters of the heart.

S - Stay on the narrow path, living a life of honesty and integrity.

T - Trust God when you cannot trust others.

Y - Yield to God's Word and reject the lies of the Enemy.

Father, thank You for helping me make it through this post. I feel Your love now more than ever and I praise You for making honesty with myself something that feels good and not ugly. Thank You for Your beauty in grace and love. Thank You for being the Father I needed when my earthly Daddy couldn't. He tries so hard now, and I pray that You will give me grace toward him each day. It's hard.


Anonymous said...

thank you for your take on this week's quote. I found it very helpful. This is the first time I've visited your blog, and I'll be back!

Lynnette Kraft said...

Laurie Ann,
Thank you for sharing your heart so openly. I gleaned much from your post this morning.

Have a lovely day - being honest. :)

Denise said...

What honest beauty is discovered when we understand the truth of who we are in the eyes of our Creator! Thank you for being so honest and transparent today...beautiful and thought provoking post.

Debra said...

Laurie Ann,

I honestly love you!

MiPa said...

Laurie Ann,
God answered your prayer to honestly convey your thoughts to minister. This was lovely, and speaks with an integrity of someone who has truly walked the path and found these answers. Thank you for sharing.

LAURIE said...

Great post today on honesty. So many times we fall for the enemies lies and forget that we are daughters of a king. I can relate to the enemies fooling lies when it comes to how my earthly father treated me but knowing that the Truth will set me free - that gives me the reassurance that the Truth will indeed set me free! -Blessings, Laurie

Betsy Markman said...

I grew up with lies too, and I know how hard it is to even find truth. Isn't it wonderful to know that Jesus IS the truth? We find what we need as we grow in Him.

Thanks for your transparency.

Darlene said...

I have a surprise for you at my blog. When you have time stop by.

lori said...

Laurie Ann...
I could have written this myself...
"I gave some examples of the lying I did to cover up for him, but went back and deleted them because I don't want to be honest about how I was so dishonest back in the day, covering things up, believing the lies I told myself"

I fell into the traps of life that had me believing the lies too....

and FINALLY through God's refining fires...I came out of that cave...ready to be honest with myself and others...

Your words here are so poignant..and honest..

Thank you for sharing your heart...what a blessing!

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

II Corinthians 10: 4&5 is a great verse about discerning truth and lies and it is so important when you grew up with a distorted version of the two- like it seems so many of us did. Thanks for the great and honest post! It takes courage to be transparent.

Patricia said...

Acknowledging God's grace in a painful, and sometimes, unspeakable pain is the first step to training ourselves in honesty. This I know from personal experience (a different sort than yours--too long to share here--and I'm not ready to be quite that honest out in the blogosphere *smiling ruefully*).

The blessing for me came in that God gave me grace from almost the beginning to understand that I had no blame to carry. When I've been honest in one on one situations, He has used my experiences to uplift another.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I have stood on this verse for 30+ years.

Thank you for your openness. I love your acrostic. What a great teaching tool!

Happy Tuesday!

Karen said...

I like your illustration you gave. Its sad to think that dishonesty seems to be expected and encouraged now a days more than honesty is. Sad!

LauraLee Shaw said...

Laurie Ann,
This is an issue I deal with myself and have for many years. I actually posted about this at the Internet Cafe the other day. If you care to read one of my battles with it, it is here: http://www.internetcafedevotions.com/2008/10/lying-truth.html

YOu are such a blessing with your authenticity and your gift of putting things into words. Love you, my friend.

Earthmommy said...

There is no greater therapy than the Grace and healing of the Lord. Thaks for this heartfelt post.

Denise said...

Beautifully said sweetie.

Raisingarrows said...

Thank you for sharing with such depth. Loved the acrostic as well!

june said...

Thanks for visiting me over at the
well. I enjoyed your pictures of your home and the wonderful smell
of candels.

Looking forward to seeing you next
week at the well.

A Day In the Word

Ava Semerau said...

This was an extraordinarily honest and touching post. We all carry around lies about ourselves - some of our own making, some inherited, some from the big bad world - and you're right, they are nailed to the cross - they need to be!

Thanks for your words of hoesty today.

Lynda P. said...

I grew up with a functional drug addict mother so I understand you completely. And everyone around the drug addict never acknowledges the problem. To this day, my mother's best friend will berate me for not being more supportive of my mother when she had her "migraines." Last time she did that in May, I started to argue and then I realized that both my mother and her friend are old women now and I don't want to disrespect the elderly. Anyhow - what's done is done and I know now through personal experience that no one "causes" an addiction. I was no more the cause of my mother's migraines/addiction than you were of your dad's alcoholism or anyone was of my own addiction. Addicts engage in that behavior because of something gone awry in their lives and only they can fix that problem with the support of loving friends and family members.