They say that honesty is the key to happiness. However, being honest is the hardest thing to do; especially when we fear judgment. We are so scared of what others think of us that we tend to hide who we really are and conform ourselves into some one who we aren’t.
We being to talk like the people we are around, we tend to drop hobbies that we once loved and pick up ones that we can do with our friends/significant others instead and some of us may go as far as to dress like those around us so we blend in stead of stick out.
I wish I could say that I haven’t done this, but I have. High school is a time where people are trying to find their own personality. You go through cliques as fast as you go through outfits in a week. You try to find that group that compliments your personality while introducing you to new and exciting things.
Moving onto college, you now have a sense of who you were, but you feel it’s time for a change. You begin to drop the “best friends” you had in high school and start a search for a new crowd. Once again, you find a new group of friends that reflect who you think you would like to become. You are on your own and branch out to find a lifestyle contrary to your upbringing. You experiment, you test, and you push your limits. But those friends you’ve made are by your side every step of the way… until you need them. Then they are nowhere to be found.
Graduating college, you see that who you have been in the past really isn’t you at all. You make a list of the qualities that you feel you should have; honesty, patience, understanding, accountability, a high self-image, etc. Not to mention goals that you may have set; full-time job that uses your degree, get married by 23, have your first child by 24-25, buy a house at 26, have a second child at 27, so on and so forth.
That last paragraph is the timeline I had set in my mind. Those were the ages I felt that I had to have things done, and I WAS going to achieve it no matter what.
I started out on a path that I can only view now as a sign from God. I settled for a job in gas station management. I justified the use of my degree since I did “some” financial work as well as daily paperwork. I then started dating a young man who changed me in every sense. I stopped all of the hobbies I enjoyed (reading, being outside, being on the farm, etc) and picked up his “hobbies” (sleeping in until 11:00 AM, playing video/computer games, watching countless hours of TV, etc) We didn’t attend church much together. I either went alone or not at all. He had become a road block to my growth in faith.
It evolved into a form of emotional and mental abuse. I was ‘trained’ to apologize for anything that was out of line, I was told to dress in loose-fitting clothes because I didn’t have the “body” for anything more than a pair of jeans 2 sizes too big and an XL tee-shirt or sweatshirt hanging off my petite frame.
I felt like my “timeline” would be destroyed if I didn’t settle. So, when he proposed, I said yes. But in the pit of my stomach and in the back of my mind, I knew this wasn’t right. I wasn’t being honest with myself with what I wanted out of this life.
I read in 1 Peter 3:10-12 “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” It was then I knew that I had to start being honest with myself and with this significant other and begin finding my true path.
After the relationship ended, I spent months working on myself. I stayed close with only a couple of friends who had been there to help me through my struggles. I set personal goals for myself; get rid of the too big clothes and unpack the clothes that fit, begin going to church again and start to grow in my faith, find a real job that used my degree and wasn’t in the gas station world, and find a life mate.
I began building and repairing myself. I began by repairing my relationship with the Lord.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.'” ~Jeremiah 29:11
But how could I embark on these plans when I wasn’t allowing Him in for so long? If I was going to turn my life around, I needed to have Him be the biggest part of it.
It didn’t take long before things started to look up. The only thing that I hadn’t worked on was a relationship with anyone. I felt that before I could expect anyone to love me, I had to love myself 100%.
It didn’t take long for me to see that I was never going to be able to honestly love myself wholly. There were always going to be little things I wished I could change or things that I could improve on. That’s why we are given our soul mates, so they can love every imperfection that we have, so that they can build us up and help us grow and heal, and so that we can return the favor by loving them wholly and unconditionally.
I was so focused on myself that I’m not sure how many opportunities had passed in front of my face; but I was ok with that. I was growing frustrated that I had put in so much time and effort but yet my search was coming up dry.
I threw up a “Why me, God? Why allow me to completely turn my life around but yet you still don’t have anyone for me! Why?!” prayer one day at work. I was brought to tears of frustration as I had been honest with myself for the first time in years and it felt like now I wasn’t good enough. Within seconds, there was a rapid knock at the door – 3 knocks to be exact.
I opened the door and saw a glimpse of my future. That man standing at the door with a surprised look and grin on his face gave me a sliver of hope. Maybe, just maybe, I was good enough for someone.
It took a couple of months before we were able to begin a journey down a new path. But, it didn’t take long for God to show us that he had been saving us for each other. Everything just seemed to fit together too perfectly. Our stories leading up to our relationship were much too similar; a lot of the same feelings, emotions, and experiences. We knew what we wanted for ourselves and what we wanted in a partner.
If we were going to make this work, we needed honesty. That’s all we gave.
We are now happily married 11 months later and loving every minute of it. We have no one other than God to thank for that. Without Him playing an active role in both of our lives, none of this would have happened.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6