Honesty

Honesty has a beautiful and refreshing simplicity about it.  No ulterior motives.  No hidden meanings.  An absence of hypocrisy, duplicity, political games, and verbal superficiality.  As honesty and real integrity characterize our lives, there will be no need to manipulate others.

– Charles Swindoll

“…there will be no need to manipulate others.”

Is that why we don’t speak honestly? And as I think about that…yes. It’s because I want to influence or control or sway…or manipulate the situation in some way. Hmm. But I have also experienced the beauty of honesty. It makes us vulnerable. But it also deepens and crumbles walls in relationships. In an age where people have hundreds of online connections but very few close or intimate friends, deep and barrier-less relationships are gold. Especially in marriage. Especially. In. Marriage.

So, let’s work on being more honest.
(Side note: Being honest doesn’t mean being brutal either…tact and timing can go a long way.)

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Overflow

(Image not mine)

No one makes you swear.
No one makes you lash out.
No one makes you flip the bird.
No one makes you hit/kick/punch/slap.

No one makes you be a jerk or a mean/rude/spiteful/vengeful person. You just have meanness inside you to begin with. We all do. Sometimes a strong outburst is perfectly appropriate because a real, actual injustice has taken place. But most of the time, it’s the overflow of what’s already in our hearts. Think of ourselves like a soaking sponge. Life circumstances apply the squeeze or pressure to the sponge. Whatever oozes out was already there in the first place.

“When someone bumps into me, what overflows out of me reveals what’s in me ”
– John Ortburg, The Me I Want to Be

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
– Luke 6:45

Which is challenging because I want to say “Well, you did ____ first so I reacted.” Turns out I’ve just got rotten bits inside me. I need renewal and transformation from within and this is only possible through a new life in Christ. And then, I need to “guard my heart, for everything I do flows from it” (Pr 4:23). Do I have good and godly influences? Am I filling my thoughts with things that please God? 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
– Philippians 4:8

THEN, the overflow of my heart will be good.
And I’ll be a more pleasant person to be around. =)

It’s gonna take some time

(Image not mine)

What is “slow” to you?
a) a turtle
b) a snail
c) waiting more than one minute for your computer to turn on
d) waiting more than two seconds for the webpage to load

Our definition of “slow” has reached ridiculous speeds (that seems oxymoronic but anyways…). If you had to wait FOUR minutes for your computer to turn on that’s definitely an eternity. I’m the last of the Gen X’s so I know what it’s like to write a letter, mail it, wait a week for the other person to get it, write a reply, send it back and wait another week for it to arrive. I’m also very familiar with those dial-up modems where it screeches for 30 seconds before you’re connected. Webpage load times were in the vicinity of 10 minutes. BBS’s anyone? And when you played cassete tapes, you actually had to press rewind in order to hear your favorite song again. Or pop the tape out and twirl it backwards with a pen. Not to mention if you’re meeting up with a friend and they haven’t showed up yet, all you could do was spend $0.25 on a pay phone to call their house only to be told they left 15 minutes ago so you have nothing else to do but wait.

We’re in the era of instant gratification now. Instant messaging. Instant potatoes. Instant noodles. Instant face time. Whatever you want at your finger tips, almost whenever you want. This conditioning has affected our faith too….we expect instant answers to prayer. Instant fixes to the discomforts around us. And while God did create the universe at a word, He’s not into answering our whims instantly.

God answers in HIS time. And that happens to be over decades at times.

He promised Abraham a son from which descendants too numerous to count would come from. Abraham waited TWENTY FIVE YEARS for this promised and miraculous son to be born. Two and a half decades! What kind of “wait” am I complaining about? The more I read about God’s timing, the more I see He’s never in a hurry and never late. The time we think is wasted on waiting, He’s using to cultivate strength of character. God has always been more interested in our character than our comfort or convenience. He also makes us wait so that we can see His power. In Abraham’s case, it might’ve been possible for Sarah to conceive as a 60 year old (they did live a lot longer back then) but for her to conceive at 90 and Abraham at 100? That was impossible…their bodies were good as dead. Yet God made it happen so they’d know it was only by His power.

Sometimes, we’re made to wait until it seems too late before God acts. Too often our impatience leads us to take matters into our own hands so we miss out on what God has planned in addition to creating a bit of a mess. Consider how Sarah thought it’d be a good idea to give her handmaid to Abraham to have a child through. The effects of that are still felt today. There are always consequences when we act outside of God’s timing. And then we have to repeat the object lesson so that we can learn to wait properly on His timing.

So, if you’re finding yourself waiting for an answer or waiting for God to come through on something, check that your character is better…not bitter…because of the wait. Have confidence that God is faithful!

Typealzed

(Image not mine)

I recently came across the Typealze.com link from Spirativity. Very interesting! You enter your blog address and then the Typealyzer analyzes your blog content to determine your Myers-Briggs personality type.

This blog reveals I am an:

ISTP – The Mechanic

The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment and are highly skilled at seeing and fixing what needs to be fixed, making them ideally suited for engineering. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts. This is fairly true though if there is conflict I’m not one to shy away from getting to the root of it and trying to reach a resolution.
The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often seek out fun and action both in their work and personal life. Also true.
ISTPs endure reasonable impositions without complaint — but if their “territory” is encroached upon, eroded, or violated, their quiet, easy-going nature is quickly abandoned in favor of stubborn and staunch defense of what they view as rightfully theirs. I would say if my “territory” was encroached upon without a valid reason, then I get prickly. But if it’s pointed out reasonably why “my territory” actually isn’t…then I can let it go.
Common satisfying careers: policemen or firefighters and work that involve adventure and risk such as in driving race cars, skydiving, motorcycling and diving. Uh…no thanks. I wouldn’t do any of that except maybe diving. I do more risk calculation and mitigation in real life.
Notable ISTPs: Donald Rumsfeld, Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs, Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, Scarlett Johansson, Kyudo Nakagawa, Bruce Lee, Snoop Dogg, Ellen Page, Erwin Rommel, James Bond and Boba Fett. Yeah can’t say I feel I relate to any of these people.

I then took a quick MB test to see what I actually am, though, given that this was a ‘quick’ personality test it’s possible the analysis is slightly off. It could also be this blog is my more creative side being expressed. Apparently I am an INTJ which is a strong rationalizer….and I find the description to be more true of regular myself. Interestingly it says I’m only slightly more introvert than extrovert. I’ve described myself as an introvert with extrovert blood so this perhaps confirms it. It’s totally true I assess everything with “but does it work?” because if not, then do something else obviously! It’s also true that I like to see what might be and ask “why not?” and perhaps that trait lends itself to why I believe one of my Spiritual Gifts is Faith.

I love this line….INTJ’s may “find it useful to learn to simulate some degree of surface conformism in order to mask their inherent unconventionality.” Haha!! Yes…I have found myself to be rather unconventional and so I find myself trying to learn how people are “supposed” to be and emulate where reasonable.

This description of INTJ’s in relationships is also true about me:

Probably the strongest INTJ assets in the interpersonal area are their intuitive abilities and their willingness to “work at” a relationship.  Although as Ts they do not always have the kind of natural empathy that many Fs do, the Intuitive function can often act as a good substitute by synthesizing the probable meanings behind such things as tone of voice, turn of phrase, and facial expression.  This ability can then be honed and directed by consistent, repeated efforts to understand and support those they care about, and those relationships which ultimately do become established with an INTJ tend to be characterized by their robustness, stability, and good communications.

Skywalker read it and said I’m like the Data on Star Trek. Sigh. It’s a little trippy reading an analysis of your own personality. Now I don’t know if I’ll act more like the description because I’ve read it or if I’ll just be more aware because I’ve read it. Regardless, I think it’s wonderful to note that every personality reflects the incredibly diverse image of God in whom we were created.

Happily I note that Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, Michelle Obama, John F. Kennedy, Gandalf and Mr. Darcy are fellow INTJ’s; and not so happily, Lance Armstrong, Hannibal Lector and Professor Moriarty. I guess my personality gone wrong is psychopathic. Doh.

It’s gonna hurt sometimes

(From quebecoislibre.org)

Our culture has gotten really sensitive about making sure no one has any hurt feelings or that everyone “feels good” about themselves all the time. Where did this ever come from?? When did we get so wussy?

Truth is, hearing the truth about yourself is going to hurt sometimes. And it’s ok. Granted the deliverer of the message should hopefully, be delivering the truth in grace and love, but regardless, it could still sting. I’d rather hear the stinging truth, and then deal with it or make a decision based on truth rather than to continue building up an illusion. Likewise for people around me, I would rather tell the truth (hopefully tactfully) rather than try so make them feel better and see them reap the consequences of finding out the truth later.

Or guilt…guilt also feels horrible. But we treat it as if we should avoid feeling guilty at all costs. In actuality, guilt CAN be good. I’m not talking about the guilt-trip type guilt that might get laid on you to manipulate some kind of preferred response….but true guilt from your conscience saying “This isn’t right.” It’s the warning bell that you’re going to do something that could hurt someone and/or yourself. It’s the pain of touching a hot stove telling you that leaving your hand on it any longer will cause some serious hurt. Why wouldn’t you want to listen to that? Why would you want to dull or avoid that painful warning when it’s there to protect you?

Criticism, rejection and failure is part of life…we need to be able to constructively deal with it. If we keep insulating ourselves (and our kids) from anything that could hurt our feelings then when Life deals a particularly hard hand, we/they’ll find our/themselves on our/their faces, in the mud, feeling like a victim, for a really long time. The person who can take the blow, do something good about it, will succeed. I want to be that person….and I want my future kids to be that as well.

Not every kid will share toys…I’m not going to swoop in, take the toy from the other kid to give to mine. There will parties they’re not invited to…I’m not going to phone the parents demanding an invite. They’re not going to make every team they try out for…I won’t tell the coaches off. They may or not pass their Learners exam on the first try…I’m not going to argue the instructor for a pass. And there’ll be at least one D grade in their academic years (there better not be more than two!)…I’m not going to tell the teacher off at PTI’s. (I’ve seen or heard of these scenarios happening in real life!)

Someone please quote me to my face if I become that parent that tries to protect her kid from every/anything that might cause discomfort. Thanks!

Back to dealing with stinging truth or burning guilt…take it like an adult. With a grain of salt. Be honest with yourself in evaluating whether or not that truth or guilt is valid. Then take a deep breath and do something about it…turn it into something constructive and come out as a stronger and better person.