Ever play the game Truth or Dare as a kid? I’m sure you did, pretty much everyone has, I know I have. And for me, I was always so afraid of having to tell the truth about anything significant about me, and so I always chose the dare because I was pretty sure no dare would outweigh the possible torture of having to reveal something about myself that I didn’t want to. So, in honor of that . . .
Truth be told . . . I am still uncomfortable talking about the fact that I am not perfect.
Truth be told . . . I am still unhappy when I have to admit I’ve done something wrong.
Truth be told . . . I am still ashamed when I feel like I need to ask for help.
Choosing truth here is my attempt to combat the lies the world tells about how we aren’t enough, or everyone has it better than we do, or how we are supposed to be all put together and well rounded, etc. But, truth be told (see what I did there?) . . . that is simply not true.
This is a fallen world, and because of that, nothing and no one is perfect.
There is no way around that. We can strive for perfection, which is a good quality to have, but we need to understand that we will never, this side of Heaven, reach perfection. Until we can reach that very real understanding, we will struggle and feel like failures more than God would desire for us.
There have been several moments in my life when I’ve had to put on a mask of strength and confidence when I felt anything and everything but those things. At different points in my life, I have struggled desperately with depression and anxiety and stress and detrimental thoughts of self-harm. But no one would have ever known it because I didn’t let anyone see that part of me, because I was ashamed of feeling that way, ashamed that it would make me look weak and pathetic.
I was afraid that if anyone saw the real me—the me who was struggling and hurting—that they would judge me harshly and walk away from me, leaving me more alone than I already felt.
For the better part of a decade, I struggled a great deal with depression and anxiety and self-harm.
It was a phase of my life I was so ashamed of and so worried that if anyone saw, they would just leave me. I had friends, but they all thought of me as happy and joyful and fun to be around. Very few, if any, actually knew the darkness and pain I was dealing with on the inside.
I had to always pretend like I was fine, like I was happy. I truly felt unlovable and unloved. Even in the midst of a hugely crowded room with dozens and dozens of my “friends,” I felt so invisible and alone. I was so depressed and broken. I was lonely and afraid of letting anyone see that part of me because I thought it was weakness.
I remember being in my teens, and I saw a movie called 28 Days. The movie is all about a gal who goes to rehab and meets her roommate, who struggled with drugs and suicidal tendencies. There was a scene when she walked in on the roommate having cut herself, and instead of telling the nurses, she ended up helping her out all on her own. Once things were taken care of, they were talking through everything and when she asked why she cut herself, her answer stuck with me and has remained to this day something I will always remember because it felt true in my own life.
She asked why cutting herself was something she would choose, and she said that it felt better. Perplexed, the roommate asked, “Better than what?”
“Better than everything else,” she replied.
And that is when it hit me . . . that is how I felt and why I chose to do those things as well. Experiencing physical pain self-inflicted felt better than having to deal with the pain of the darkness and emptiness within me.
Finally, someone was able to put into words what I’d believed for years. Obviously, the physical pain was not pleasant, but it was a distraction from what was truly hurting me on the inside—the lies, the dishonesty, the ugliness of what the world had been telling me. I believed it all and it led me to feel broken and out of control and lost and hurt and utterly sad. That is a good way to put it.
I was sad that I wasn’t enough. I was sad that I could not control the world around me. I was sad that my heart didn’t feel content. I was sad that I did not believe the truth I’d been taught my whole life. I was sad that my eyes were so blinded by my own mistakes that I couldn’t see past them. I was sad that I was not someone who deserved to be loved.
All these things—all these issues that made me sad—they were the lies of the world, and I just believed them instead of listening to the voice of the Truth of Jesus Christ. I just couldn’t hear Him over the shouting of the lies.
I am pleased to report that while they are still present in my life, those lies are not as loud as they once were.
They do not bury me under their unbearable weight anymore, and I can see past them without feeling like they are going to kill me anymore. I still struggle with hearing and believing those lies, but they are not as prominent as they used to be.
How did I get to that point? How was I able to overcome the lies of the world and learn to trust that God’s voice is much greater and truer than the lies of the world? I don’t think I can give you a singular defining moment. Moreso, it was a gradual shift.
There have been many people and events that helped me be able to tune out the lies and listen to the truth, and I am eternally thankful for them. My wife has always played an amazing role in helping me to know what is truth and what is lies, and because of her faithful life and heart, she has helped to consistently show me God’s truth and God’s heart in many situations.
Whatever you are going through, whatever pain and torment you might be suffering right now, do me a favor: take a step back and just listen. Don’t listen to the shouting of the lies of the world that say you aren’t good enough, that say you aren’t pretty enough, that say you aren’t smart enough or talented enough don’t listen to those. Tune that garbage out. Ignore it. Instead, try and sit back and listen for that still, soft voice, that one that is within you, the one that says . . .
“You are my beloved. You are my cherished and treasured possession. You are enough for me because I gave everything for you. I love you!”
Listen to that voice. Listen to it over and over again. Even if you don’t believe it, listen to it, hear it, take it to heart and understand that it is the truth. You are loved. You are cherished. You are a treasured possession. You are someone worth dying for because you are absolutely, unequivocally, entirely, and completely worth it!
Hear it. Listen to it. And never forget it.
Truth be told . . . you are worth everything.