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A Little More Honesty

I have not neglected my promise to continue thinking about honesty. In fact, it feels like it's all I think about these days. It fills up the cracks and rare quiet moments, pops up as I walk to work and home again, comes up in almost every conversation, and even rears its head in dreams.

I have followed my thoughts on honesty down rabbit trails and into rabbit holes of alternate universes and possible conversations and through the threads of movies, novels, poems and song.

I've covered so much ground that I forgot where I started or what context this question exploded out of. So I went back and reminded myself, and am ready to write down a small portion of the ever-expanding cloud diagram that exists only in my mind.

I wish there were a way to show you how convoluted all these thoughts have been, and just how difficult it has been to pin them down. For the sake of coherency and readability, this entry will stick to the thoughts directly related to honesty and the internet.

Pre-thought: The actual issue at stake is better described by the word “vulnerability” than “honesty.” In my life, I am committed to honesty. I do not make a habit of lying (although I can't pretend it doesn't happen). But vulnerability is a subset of honesty that I struggle with far more.

Thought A:
Your personality is your personality, and that will (eventually) play itself out on the internet as it does in “real life.” Or as I prefer to say, “in person.”

My personality is this: I am outgoing but shy. I take my time to fully trust. I am keenly sensitive to others' opinions. I am much more likely to be vulnerable when asked specific questions than given a wide blank slate and told to fill it up.

Thought B:
There is a vast difference between vulnerability under obligation and vulnerability out of compulsion and then vulnerability out of deep thought.

I remember sitting in a small group of Christians, knowing there was an assumption of vulnerability (which is great), but it translated also into a certain amount of pressure. It felt as if I had no right to privacy, that it was wrong to hold thoughts and fears internally for a time. To speak in that setting, I would have been honest, but it would have been a reluctant, begrudging vulnerability.

There are rare moments in my life when I blurt something out without forethought. An uncontrolled confession or an unmediated thought whose implications may be bigger than I've considered. And words cannot be undone. Often, this type of vulnerability comes from a manipulative or insecure place, wanting affirmation and attention in one form or another.

And then there are the times that, in my gut of guts; my heart of hearts; that place between my liver and my left kidney where conviction lies, I know what I need to say. I know that it won't be easy, and I can't control the outcome, but this is what I need to do. This is the kind of vulnerability that I want to mark my life.

Thought C:
Life is not meant to be lived selfishly.

As someone who loves Jesus, I am deeply convinced that my life choices should not be a response to the question, “What do I want out of this?” but “What does it look like to love Jesus and my neighbour in this situation?” So questions of vulnerability need to shift from a matter of control and pride to one of service and love.

What does all this mean for my blog (and my facebook and my twitter and any future online dating endeavours and every other part of my life)?

A. I need to love who I am: present myself as myself and not as someone I might prefer to be.
B. I need to consider that no topic or truth about myself is “taboo,” but that I am under no obligation to expose my heart against my own will.
C. I need to be walking closely with Jesus, knowing his heart more even as I know my own heart more. Then I'll be able to see and love his desires for my life.




Katie V. said…
The honesty/vulnerability-when-asked. Yes, I subscribe to that often. I'll be pretty much totally honest but you gotta ask the right questions ;)

We need to hang out again soon.
Beth said…
Funny thing. That statement was directly tied to our PS conversation and your question of me :)

Yes to hanging out!

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