Tag Archives: honesty

The Power of Your Words

I have a calendar titled “To Be Remembered” for those days, moments, experiences, & conversations that mark me. Those that have forever shaped my life & little perspective on this big world. 

March 4th is one of the days marked on that calendar. It was 2010. I was on my first trip to Nashville for a gathering of the Visual Worship Tribe. Quite honestly it feels like a lifetime ago though I can still remember it vividly –  the people, the place that would become my church home, and one conversation in particular. 

That day (my now friend) Paul spoke words that I will never forget, ones that forever changed the course of my journey.

“You don’t have joy for the ministry that you’re doing right now,” he said. Something like that isn’t easy to hear. It’s even harder to hear coming from a stranger. But I didn’t hear Paul in that moment, I heard God shouting at me. (I’d been trying to ignore him for quite some time.) And I’m forever grateful to Paul for obediently saying what his heart told him to say in that moment even if it was uncomfortable.

Moral of the story? Never underestimate the power of what you say. When your gut tells you to say something, say it! If someone is heavy on your heart, reach out to them. Your words may mark a day someone will never forget. 


Living Honestly

Over the last year I’ve been learning the need for & value of honesty. The kind of honesty that’s uncomfortable. That causes “opening a can of worms” moments. But the kind that is also life giving in friendships. That allows us to feel the freedom we have in Christ. And gives life incredible richness. I’ve come to realize that if I’m not living honestly, then I’m not fully living. 

I don’t know about you but I don’t want half living. I don’t want to fear honesty. And for me, that requires a shift from “What will people think?” to “It doesn’t matter what people think, who I am is enough.” Because fearing what people will think keeps me from being honest.

That shift requires choosing to practice courage, living honestly, & risking vulnerability. I read recently that courage originally meant “to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” I’m committed to living that way because I’m beginning to think it’s the only way to really, truly, fully live. If we’re not honest it seems we’re living in a false reality of sorts.  

Yes, honesty will bring hurt. It may ruin friendships, make business inconvenient, and force some tough conversations. But, if it means being fully alive…being alive to experience every single bit of the joy life has to offer, then I’m in. Even it means taking the pain along with it.

Who’s with me?





Honesty. It seems the older I get the more I learn the value of that word. And I’m not talking honesty simply in the sense of not telling a lie but honesty to the point of being vulnerable. It’s one thing to not tell a lie, it’s another to tell the truth…the whole truth…more than just a few kernels of truth…even when we don’t have to. And telling the whole truth oftentimes makes us vulnerable and is usually risky. It’s risky to put yourself out there and speak openly & truthfully about life, about experiences, about lessons learned along the way.

But it’s a risk that I’m finding is worth it. Because the beauty, healing, & friendship that comes from it far outweighs the hurt that may sometimes come. I think we must be broken individually, but most often we are healed in community. Think about it, you can injure yourself, but more often than not you can’t heal yourself. You need a doctor or team of doctors to help you do that. Just the same, when we’re broken we need friends to help us pick up the pieces. Or more accurately God blesses us by using friends to work His healing in our lives…His putting us back together.

I still find myself fighting honesty. Often. And honesty doesn’t always win the fight. But when it does I’m always grateful for the beauty of deepened relationships that comes from it. I’ve had several conversations in the last month where I spoke honestly from my heart & I haven’t regretted it. In fact, quite the opposite.

Do you find it hard to be truly honest?


Ponder…Holding Back

Behind the story I tell is the one I don’t…behind the story you hear is the one I wish I could make you hear. – Dorothy Allison

We’re all hiding something…holding something back for one reason or another. Sometimes it’s simply filtering. Other times, though, we hold back out of fear or insecurity. Remember that about every person you come into contact with and dare to take the risk of digging deeper.

Why do you hold back?

Permission to Speak Freely and the Gift of Going Second

I got Anne Jackson’s “Permission to Speak Freely” when it came out back in August and it’s been sitting neglected on my shelf for the last several months. But, I finally had the chance to finish it and wanted to share a few thoughts.

For me it was one of those books that I read and I reminded I’m not alone…one where the author seems to put words to my heart. Here are just a few of the passages in Permission to Speak Freely that did just that.

“Most of us choose to live in one of these extremes: conforming or escaping. Few can find peace living in the tension of both. Those of us who do wonder if we’re too idealistic to believe a faith community can be a hospital where our wounds are welcomed and can be healed. That true sanctuary can be found both within the walls of the church and outside the church as well.

A Scottish minister once told me, “If you can’t be an idealist in the church, then something is extremely wrong.”

At the risk of sounding overly idealistic, I’d like to say that for those of use who believe the church should be one of the safest and most grace-giving places a person can experience here on earth, it’s time to reclaim what our faith stands for.” (page 85)

I’m definitely one of those idealists. And it just’s good to know I’m not the only one. :)

You can’t will yourself to transform. There’s nothing you can do to make your heart “get” it. Nothing. You can prepare for it, and be receptive when it comes, but that’s all you can do. You have to step back and let it soak in.  (page 95)

Even though the one thing I desired was to be by myself, deep down, none of us wants to be alone. The reason we crave isolation so badly is because more than our fear of being alone is our fear of rejection. (page 110)

Ouch! That one is truth. And the truth does indeed sometimes hurt.

“It’s funny: I feel I end up being a bit of a broken record because I keep saying it’s about community, or whatever you want to call it. We just need honest relationships. But for a lot of people, that’s scary place to start. But the burden of fearing those relationships is so much heavier than actually having them. Once we have them, we realize how necessary they are.” (page 176)

Yep, that’s my life!

Anne talks a lot about the “gift of going second.” The idea that when we risk…risk our hearts, our “image,” tackle fear head on and shed our masks sharing openly and transparently about our struggles and doubts we give others the freedom to do the same. Only it’s not quite as risky for them and the fear isn’t quite as great because they have been given the gift of going second and when it comes to being transparent going second is always easier. I think Permission to Speak Freely is that gift for many people. Thank you, Anne, for giving us all the gift of going second. I’m feeling challenged to pass that gift along to others.

Have you read the book? If so, what were your thoughts?


I’ll be honest, I’m 100% guilty of too often not dying to my artistic pride. I too often sit in judgement of people I deem as not “getting it.” I can be overly critical. I can analyze and pick apart for hours on end. My friends know not to ask me to filter something unless they want an honest critique.

Now, I recognize that questioning and analyzing to some degree is a healthy practice. But, too many times I take it to an unhealthy extreme. And in doing so I think I end up doing just as much damage, if not more, to the Church as those I am criticizing for hurting the Church…or maybe just the perception of the Church in the world (that could be a whole separate post…can we really hurt the Church anyway?)

If I’ve learned anything in the last couple of years it’s that there isn’t one “right way” to do most things in the Church and corporate worship. I’ve learned that a whole lot of it is personal preference. And in the end a whole lot of it doesn’t really matter anyway. I’m learning which hills to die on…and to die in service and humility, not because of artistic pride.

So, tell me, do you often lose the battle with your artistic pride too or am I the only one?