Avoiding the Lies We Tell Ourselves
- Dawn Yoder Author, Speaker
- 2015 27 Jan
The Proverbs 31 woman could certainly be characterized as honest. The fact that her husband fully depended on her to do him only good and not harm (31:11–12) implies that she was trustworthy — an honest person.
There is more than one aspect to honesty. Another aspect involves being honest with ourselves. The Proverbs 31 woman also seems to have done that. She’s an evaluator, a person who makes conscious choices when she sees needs and is honest enough with herself to admit that she’s not required to do it all. By having servants in her household, it’s obvious she knew she couldn’t do it all.
Let’s consider a possible scenario. One of the helpers she has in the household is an incredible cook. She can make pastries that kick up any Bethlehem ladies’ brunch. Our heroine can roast a lamb like nobody’s business, but the sweets just aren’t her gift. So, common sense would have her say to herself, “I’ll roast the lamb, and my helper can do the pastry.”
Whether we’re in the kitchen, church choir loft, or the boardroom — God calls us to be honest with ourselves about what he’s placed within us. Honesty isn’t settling for less; it’s making ourselves available for more. Honesty breeds success when you use what you have to accomplish the God-dream inside of you.
The person we lie to most often is the one we see in the mirror every morning. How many times have we said, “I’m fine, everything is all right” when all the while we are hurting on the inside, filled with fear, or ready to give in to defeat? The more we attempt to cover up with a facade we have created to protect our pride, the more into bondage we fall. By attempting to fix it ourselves or by ignoring whatever the issue is, we continue to lie to ourselves and make it impossible to find freedom.
We all have that friend. The one who we call when we really want the truth in a matter. The one we know will not lie to us in order to spare our feelings but will be quick to hand us a tissue when we cry. The one who will confirm the truth that already lives within us and draw it out with love-filled confrontation.
We also know those who will listen and simply agree with whatever you say. These are friends who are more than happy to start up where you leave off when grumbling or complaining. They feed the fire of your emotions by bringing the balloons to your pity party and stroking your ego, even when you are in the wrong. These friends will flatter you rather than point out where you have faltered. And they will say what they think you want to hear because they would rather stay in your good graces than risk potential conflict. After all, bearing the brunt of truth can be a heavy burden. These types of friends are not the ones we call when we want truth. They are the ones we call when we want to whine or feel sorry for ourselves, or when we are just looking for a sympathetic ear.
When we really want the truth though and are ready for change, we call that friend. Yep, you know the one. The friend that tells us, “Yes, those pants do make you look fat.” The friend that tells us to stop whining, pick ourselves up, and get moving. The friend that helps us grow and change ourselves for the better to become the person God intended us to be. The word of God tells us, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). There is freedom found in the truth that can be found nowhere else. They know that what they say may hurt our feelings or make us mad, but they also love us enough to take that risk.
These are the very friends that, after they hear the depths of our heart on a matter, have the courage to say, “You’re wrong and this is why.” These are the friends that will point out where we have erred and then pray for us and with us, asking God for the wisdom and courage to know how to handle the situation in a way that honors him. These are the friends who, as they are speaking truth, that very truth is confirmed within our hearts by the Spirit of God. Everyone should be blessed enough to have at least one of these friends.
Being completely honest with others involves risk: the risk of being judged unfairly, the risk of rejection, or the risk of losing face. When we are bound to the worry about pleasing others, the thought of laying down our pride stings too deeply. It can cause us to become slaves to that fear and stay forever bound to those lies. When we are honest with others, we show that our self-worth and confidence is not tied to their approval or their acceptance. When we are honest, we show ourselves to be a person of both integrity and confidence.
Honesty is tangible evidence that an individual has put more value in the Lord’s opinion that that of others. Paul wrote in Galatians 1:10 (ESV): “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” In this Scripture, Paul makes it clear that if our focus is on being pleasing to God, we will not always be pleasing to people. It all boils down to where our priorities lie. Is it the desire of your heart to be a pleaser of man or a pleaser of God? If your answer is to be a pleaser of God, then you can know that desire is always achieved if we are completely honest in all matters of life. For the Lord, this is a place of no compromise.
A famous preacher once said, “Truth is like medicine, it’s hard to take but good for you.” God tells us his word is truth, and there is no better medicine than the words of our heavenly Father. Hearing the truth, speaking the truth, and walking in the truth may not always be easy, but we can be assured that it is the manner of living which will ultimately bring the most joy, peace, and prosperity.
Excerpt adapted from Real Women Leading: With Proverbs 31 Values by Lisa Troyer and Dawn Yoder ©2014 New Hope Publishers – used with permission
Dawn Yoder is a CEO of a 500-plus employee company, a member of the John Maxwell leadership coaching team, a speaker with the Circle of Friends ministry, a songwriter and a frequent worship leader. She and her husband, Jeff, have four children. Learn more about Dawn at www.dawnyoder.com.
Publication date: January 27, 2015