Those of us who were raised in the church or even found our way there as adults, know that there are certain character traits that Christians are “supposed” to possess. Good Christians should be honest, fair, kind, and generous right? So, I’m gonna start by being super honest with myself (and you). Here goes, ready for it? I am NOT always honest, fair, kind, and generous! In fact, I.AM.A.LIAR! Yikes! Felt good to get that off my chest! Yep, you read that correctly, I lie to myself (and sometimes others) pretty often actually. What on earth do I mean you might be asking? Let me give you an example as to lies I often tell myself (and others). Brace yourself, you may just discover that YOU are a liar too! Yikes!
Lie #1: “I’ll pray for you.” Relax. I’m not saying this is always a lie. In fact, a good 97% of the times that I say I will pray for you, I REALLY do! But the bottom line is, I’m forgetful. Reaaaaaaaalllly forgetful. There are some days that I get so caught up in my super hectic life that I actually forget that 3% of specific prayer requests if I haven’t written them down or stopped that very second to pray. Eeeeeesh. Most of the time, I’ll see a post on Facebook or hear someone talk about the request later and want to slap myself in the face because I know I wasn’t a strong prayer warrior for that particular need.
My commitment to future honesty: When I hear or read a prayer request I will immediately stop what I am doing and pray for that need if possible.
Lie #2: “I don’t have any cash to give.” We’ve all been approached by a homeless man on the streets, a group of children asking for donations for their school or sport, or some other need. Sometimes I question the sincerity of the need and rather than opening my wallet, I just politely apologize with a generic “I’m sorry, I would, but I don’t have any cash on me”. This isn’t always a lie. In fact, I very rarely do carry cash on me but if I’m being super honest, there’s an atm on every corner and most stores have a cash back option when you’re paying with a card. More than the lack of cash though, I wonder if the person is really in need. I double even triple guess the need and if I don’t deem the person truly needy I use the no cash cop out. Last week, the girls and I were grocery shopping and a young mom approached me with her young toddler on her hip. She told me she was from a nearby town and needed some gas money to get back. I sweetly smiled and said yep, you guessed it, “I’m sorry, but I don’t have any cash”. She politely said “that’s okay, thank you anyway” and disappeared down the aisle. The truth is, I had cash. I had lots of cash actually. I had a neat little row of $100 dollar bills I had been meaning to take to the bank to deposit. If I had a $5, $10, or $20 I would have gladly handed it over but, I didn’t want to give her a whole $100! I blow $100 on stupid stuff all the time so what was wrong with giving it to someone who could have used it. But no, I questioned her motives. I asked myself if her story was true or was she planning to use the money for drugs or alcohol and even, who knows if that was even her baby. hahaha yes, I gotta laugh at myself on that last one because that’s just how paranoid and critical I have become.
My commitment to future honesty: I will carry around several $20’s for instances just like this and I will attempt to calm my over analytical thoughts about people’s stories of need. I will just open my heart and my purse and GIVE and not worry about what happens with that money once it leaves my hands.
Lie #3: “When God clearly speaks to me, I will obey.” Sometimes we pray and pray for God to reveal things to us and we swear up and down that we will do whatever it is he is asking of us without question because really, who questions GOD? Sometimes I’m guilty of hearing God’s voice loud and clear and ignoring him because I don’t like what he’s got to say. A few weeks ago, I prayed that God would show me places that he could use me. Specifically I was praying for a new church home where he might use me with the youth or on a praise team because those are the areas that have my heart to serve. But I wasn’t just praying for those things, I was praying that he would show me ways that I could better show his love to the needy and broken people I encountered on a daily basis. So first the stranded young lady at HEB then yesterday he placed another need before me and I just ignored him! I went to city hall to get a proof of residency form because I didn’t yet have a utility bill with our new address on it and needed one. As I was walking in, 3 kids in tow, a man and his son (probably about 10) held the door open for the girls and I. I took note of how polite the little boy was because in this society it’s so rare to find youth who have been taught manners and chivalry. They let us go ahead of them in line very politely even. I got the form I needed quickly and then paused to the side to read a text message while Payton tied her shoe and couldn’t help but overhear the conversation between the man and the city employee. He was asking for an extension on his water bill because it was about to be turned off. He said his wife had a new baby and he had been laid off work and he didn’t have enough money to pay the bill at this time. The employee said she could extend it until the following friday but that was the best she could do. The man looked defeated but took what he could get. At that very moment, God told me to pay the man’s water bill anonymously. I looked him over and decided that I didn’t know enough about this tattoo covered man to do such a thing. The girls and I slipped out to the parking lot and headed to the gym. Throughout my workout I couldn’t get this family out of my head. I remembered the feeling of desperation I had when T was born, just weeks old and Dave was laid off when oil crashed in 2009. I imagined what his wife must feel like. I pictured her sitting on the sofa, nursing that baby, crying, and wondering how they would provide for their children with her husband out of work. I tried to push the image out of my mind and move on about my day but it plagued me and quite obviously is still bothering me. Why didn’t I do what God told me to do? Well, I don’t have a good answer other than I questioned the circumstances. I made myself the jury and the judge and decided I needed to know why the man had lost his job, why he hadn’t yet found another, and why he couldn’t afford to pay that water bill. I wondered if he had failed a drug test and gotten fired or if he was irresponsible and couldn’t show up on time. When Dave lost his job, they tried everything in their power to keep him on. He was one of the last people from that department they laid off in fact and his layoff had nothing to do with his very strong work ethic and everything to do with there just not being enough work at the time to justify paying him. So why should it have mattered to me what this family’s circumstances were. The bottom line was, they were in need, and I am so incredibly blessed to be in a place financially that I could have helped meet their need but didn’t.
My commitment to future honesty: I’m a work in progress and it is human nature to be slightly selfish and apprehensive of giving your finances. After all, you work hard and should get a say in where that money goes right? But I will try and remember that it is not my money but God’s money and by his grace, we are so very blessed. I will listen for his voice and even when it puts me out of my comfort zone I will try my hardest to be obedient. I’m not saying I will never disobey but I’m going to make a conscious effort to practice obedience when he tells me to do something or give to someone.
Lie #4: “I’m not judging her/him/them at all, it’s not my place to judge.” Ha! Who exactly do I think I’m kidding? I’m judging ALL day long. I’m judging those Facebook posts, that language he/she used, that parent with the ill behaved child at the playground, that mom giving her baby dr. pepper, the elderly woman waiting tables, the mom who lets her little girl wear booty shorts or heels, the list goes on and on but you get the point. I’m judging all the darn time and all the while telling myself I’m not a judgmental person!
My commitment to future honesty: I’m not saying I will never judge again because I think it is in our nature to judge others when their lifestyle and choices are different than ours. But, I will say that I will stop telling myself that I’m NOT judging. I will try and recognize when I am being judgmental and remind myself that different strokes are okay for different folks. God made us all different and that’s okay. I’ll try to remember that I don’t like the feeling I get when I know someone is judging me and try my hardest not to make other people feel that way.
I lie to myself all the time and sometimes others too but I can’t lie to God. He sees my heart and he knows my actions. What lies have you been telling yourself?