What if We Were Honest?

We sat in a corner together, cloaked by the shadows. After a bit of banter, she looked at me wearing a guarded expression. “You don’t act like a Christian,” she said.

It was a sudden, air-sucking blow to my spirit. But her weariness turned into a weak smile as two words filled the unspoken gaps in her story. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome” would have been awkward. So I added two words of my own. “I’m sorry.”

Because my family—the body of Christ—who were supposed to love her, gather her up, and make her feel safe had somehow done the opposite. The thing she thought she should be—a believer in Christ—turned into the thing she least wanted.

She said when she entered the sanctuary, she felt stupid. Faith was new, and big, and utterly complicated and she didn’t understand; she wondered if she ever would. No one seemed to bear the same burdens or hurt the same hurt. Her load seemed larger than life compared to the “other girls.” They were bright and shiny; she felt dark and dim. She questioned if she’d ever fit in, and she’d gone searching for [grace, approval, acceptance] among her own, and hadn’t found it.

It’s a distant memory, but I still see her face and the tears that trailed down her cheeks. A knot forms in my gut every time I relive the anguish that anchored her to the past.

If I met her today, my story might sound dark and dim too. And at her, “you don’t act like a Christian,” I probably would be the one offering a thank you.

Because my deepest hurts, biggest disappointments, and struggle-to-forgive-and-forget trials have come from among my own. From God’s family, the church, and the people who should have done better at being better.

Which makes me want to be SO MUCH better. 

What if We Were Honest? {www.simplyforone.net} http://wp.me/p2v8DX-zv

If you’ve traveled this word-by-word journey with me, you know that authentic faith and real conversations are the cry of my heart. And while authentic and real are vital, they aren’t easy.

But, what if we were honest? 

As believers, we shoot for one target … to be like Jesus. We often miss that bulls-eye by a mile, and yet we pretend we don’t. We don’t do the body of Christ any favors when we fake our way through faith. (←Tweet that.)

I’m not advocating doom and gloom, but please, no more ribbons and bows. Wouldn’t folks stick around longer and hash out faith if we didn’t sell bright and shiny as the standard, but were willing to admit there will be bumps and bruises along the way?

What if you came with your “stuff”, I came with mine, and we acknowledged it’s all a bit of a mess, and we loved each other until it wasn’t anymore?

What if I admitted when I’d faltered, and you had freedom to share when you failed, and together we overcame and kept going?

What if instead of sympathetic glares and dismissive glances, we linked arms and stood together—united, unwavering, and fierce.

Would more people say, “So that’s what a Christian is? Then I can do that too.”

I love Jesus. I cannot imagine a single day not knowing He is with me. Even the days that I don’t talk to Him, or read His word, or pray. And the days I get angry, forget joy, and say things I shouldn’t. And the days I’m surprised my husband deals with me, and I’m lucky my kid doesn’t rat me out for my mom blunders. And the days I want to be ALL like Jesus and end up NOTHING like Him.

On our most messed up days, Jesus loves us like crazy … still, always. (Tweet that.)

And He doesn’t want us to “act” like anything. He wants us to come as we are, and then be willing to lean in, listen, change, grow … and become more like Him.

Faith is hard. Messy. Sometimes painful. Often imperfect. Entirely beautiful.

And He is God. Good. Gracious. Forgiving. Abundantly patient. Lover of sinners.

And when we mingle the two together—well, that’s what a Christian is.

That’s real, that’s authentic. That’s what we’d say if we were honest.

#inHimican: Are you willing to share the good and the not so glorious? Let’s encourage each other with authentic shouts to a faith that isn’t always easy, but that conquers even our messiest days. As you live, see, and create images and words that ignite your strength in Christ, join me on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #inHimican.

You can also find these words linked up at my favorite spots:  Kelly Balarie (#RaRaLinkup)Holly Barrett (#testimonytuesday), Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory)Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#threewordwednesday).


40 thoughts on “What if We Were Honest?

  1. I share your heart in this! Faith in Him is what breathes hope in all of life’s messes but yes… it’s hard! And I agree, why pretend that we have it all together when we can walk together with our sisters in real community and encouragement? Love this post!

    1. Thank you, Kim – it’s beautiful to find that type of authentic community that lends itself to sweet encouragement whether we have it together or not. Always love seeing you here, friend. Hugs!

    1. It certainly can be scary, especially when we’re laying ourselves bare and hoping were received with grace. But when we are, and when we give it back, well I believe God is pleased and glorified. Thanks for visiting, Elizabeth. (And I think I misspelled your name when I commented on your post?? So sorry if so.) Hugs!!

  2. A heartfelt yes and amen to all of this! Tiffany, your words here are a breath of Holy Spirit air. We need real; we need authentic; we need Jesus. I love this post and all it says about faith and the hard living it out, especially these words: Faith is hard. Messy. Sometimes painful. Often imperfect. Entirely beautiful.” Indeed it is. And we get plenty of bumps and bruises along the way. I actually hate the word ‘religious’ and avoid its label like the plague. We don’t accept a religion; we accept and come into a relationship with Jesus that lasts into eternity. He wants us to be honest with Him and with one another. Yes to #InHimIcan as a mantra for living the Christian life. We abide and God provides.

    1. I just LOVE your words, Joy and your heart. You get it!! The relationship part with Jesus is so special, isn’t it. And we need that relationship with others to complete that whole circle of faith. So glad we are shouting #inHimican together! Love you, friend.

  3. Well said! I’m so thankful for the sweet sister that once held me at my darkest and said I hate the sin, not the sinner. She showed me agape love in my lowest moments and reminded me of the open arms of Jesus that were waiting to embrace a prodigal. I pray, as believers, we keep wide open hearts and arms for one another!

    1. So beautiful, Jodie. The perfect picture of the body of Christ at its best…and such a testimony to the power of God to send His own in to us in those dark moments. What an incredible ministry has poured out of your life because someone poured into yours!! 💛

  4. I’m so thankful for many believers I’ve known for years who are not into bows and ribbons. (Maybe because we’re Austinites??? :-) I mean our city motto is “Keep Austin Weird.”) My home church is a simple, down to earth, “let’s be real” kind of place. With real people. I’m so thankful, but also aware that it’s easy always to put up a facade. Thanks for your words today.

  5. Yes, yes, yes. You’ve shared a timely, important message here today, friend. I’m glad you’re one how believes in honest relationships. The world needs more like you. xoxo

  6. Hi Tiffany,
    Your words resonate with me, especially when there are no easy answers to our challenges and trials and yet we say, God makes everything better. I’m struggling relating to a cousin without much faith who has lost her husband and I’m challenged to offer her hope — my words seem hollow — but gratefully God can take our weakest effort and he can make it beautiful. Grateful for you and your words!

    1. Im so sorry for the loss in your family, Valerie. Grief is so hard to navigate and it’s no easy task to offer hope when everything seems hopeless. I pray your presence and love, which I have no doubt are authentic and true, will speak volumes of Gods love. Thank you for being here. Grateful for you!

  7. Hey Tiff! We are neighbors today over at Coffee for Your <3. I love this, and yes, our worst hurts can sometimes come from those in the church. I appreciate your perspective on this, my friend. Those hurts can drive us away, but we need to allow our frailties to motivate us to want to be better. So thankful for His grace today. In Him I Can! Beautiful!

    1. Amen…those past hurts are such priceless motivation to be sure no one receives the same at our hand…that we extend grace in abundance to what we’ve received. So glad we got to be neighbors today, Kristine…that’s a special treat!! xo

  8. “We don’t do the body of Christ any favors when we fake our way through faith.” Love this! Thanks for the reminder that genuineness will be what draws others in!

  9. I’ll give this my loudest Amen. What if we’re really honest in our ways?
    God would be so proud of us. We won’t have to deal with whitewashed tombs then so to speak.

  10. Tiffany, I’m happy I found your blog and your refreshing message. We need a lot more truth and openness and a lot less sugar-coating.
    As much as I try, I mess up and stumble. Then I’m reminded that God makes me strong in my weakness and I’m so thankful for his grace! I pray that the same grace that was poured out for me might be extended to others through my imperfect example.

  11. Beautiful Tiffany! We need to be able to come as we are and that should be enough. God accepts us that way but others have too many preconceived notions. I love these words… “And He doesn’t want us to “act” like anything. He wants us to come as we are, and then be willing to lean in, listen, change, grow … and become more like Him.” I’m resting in those words tonight!

    1. Those preconceived notions can be stumbling blocks, can’t they Mary?! So glad that God receives us and works in us to make us all He has created us to be. I’m going to rest in that right along with you. Thanks for visiting me today!

  12. Beautiful thoughts here, Tiffany. I tried being the shiny image of Christianity, and it left me empty. I’m learning to not hide the messy parts of who I am. And I’m learning that people are drawn to those who are real. When we’re honest, that’s when people see Jesus shining through us, instead of our own dim glimmering attempts to shine like Jesus in our own strength.

    1. I love that, Jeanne…it’s so true, people can really see His power and strength when we’re willing to admit that we have plenty of weakness. Sort of ironic isn’t it, but the perfect illustration of Him being perfected through us. Thanks for being here, friend. Praying you’re reading with that leg propped up and getting lots of rest. :)

  13. Where are the words? Tiffany, the depth of this ~ yes! I love how you’re championing Jesus and being a “real” Christian…and every.single.thing. about this post. I’ll be joining you at #inHimican. Stay tuned. (And on the writing side, I LOVED the opening paragraph. Oh geez ~I loved the whole, lovely thing!)

  14. Oh girl, this is the cry of my heart. This is where real relationships begin and we can see what the body of Christ is about- loving each other. Thank you, Tiffany. Thank you for being a beacon of light in a world that is so often full of fake. xoxo

    1. It’s beautiful when the body of Christ loves well. I think that’s what has drawn me to our community of faith-bloggers, the welcoming friendship that comes from sharing our hearts wide open…and often raw. And you, my friend, are one of the brightest lights I know. Love you!

  15. I love this, Tiffany. To be authentic with all our “bumps and bruises” along the way. And to pass on to others that no matter how big our messes, Jesus loves us unconditionally. Thank you. Blessings and hugs to you!

  16. My goodness, this post is something powerful, Tiffany, and so real. I’m so thankful you were my neighbour today on the #RaRaLinkup and these words of yours are going to challenge and heal and inspire all at the same time.
    Just so awesome and beautiful.
    I’ve been sharing like a maniac ;)

    1. Thank you, Lois. Those ribbons and bows can be awful pretty, but they can mislead us as to the whole package of faith. I’m grateful too for you authentic heart in this great community of writers. Blessings!

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