When I was young, my mother ran a daycare in our house. It was a way to keep an income while also being able to keep me from going to a daycare myself. She sacrificed those five years of working as a teacher, so she could spend that time looking after me (and however many other children who were running around the house at that time). At some point, maybe when I was 3 or 4 years old, I got in my head I was destined to become a barber–what I mean is, I took a pair of scissors to one of the other children’s hair.
This is my earliest memory of shame. I remember hearing my mother’s footsteps coming down the stairs and knowing she would be mad at what I’d done. In a split-second decision, I threw the scissors behind the TV into a corner I wouldn’t actually see with my own eyes until I was 21 (you can imagine the kind of stuff we found back there).
And I lied.
I lied about having anything to do with the hair-cutting incident. I lied about knowing the location of the scissors, or having put the scissors there myself. I lied about everything.
Of course, none of it worked. 3 year olds make for sloppy liars, and it was clear I had done it. But instead of learning not to do the bad thing, I learned not to do the bad thing so poorly. This would become the takeaway of almost every learning moment I had until High School. And as a result, I became a pretty good liar. I could convince almost anyone of almost whatever I wanted.
Eventually God found me and pulled me out of that lifestyle, to put it briefly. But even now, as an adult, I still find myself in situations where a well-placed lie to an unsuspecting other seems so much easier than harder truths. God finds me in those moments, too, and pulls me away from that lifestyle. What He hasn’t spared me from is myself.
You see, I’d become so proficient at lying to others that I never noticed how well and how frequently I lied to myself. And I lied about everything. I lied about having anything to do with that one friendship that totally collapsed on its own, and I lied about knowing the consequences that one action would have on others beforehand. I lied about being enough for that one person who left without much of any explanation. I lied about God’s plan for me already being decided and not up for personal interpretation.
They’re all lies, you see, and I fall for them because I trust myself more than I trust God. Despite knowing how dishonest I naturally am, I trust the voice that says I’m not enough to keep any real friend for very long, I don’t have the strength to overcome the struggles of this life, I can’t possess the eloquence it takes to write a blog…
Before long, these lies make a home in my mind, and they usurp the true King’s throne of my heart. And without my knowing, I’m not listening to my Father in Heaven’s voice anymore but my own. Instead of empowerment and intimacy in Him, I find discouragement and loneliness.
This must end.
No more can I afford to gamble away my daily potential for bringing God all the glory by doubting his influence over my life. No more can I fool myself into believing that I was ever supposed to be enough in this life without God there to sustain me and fulfill me. No more can I subject myself to the Death dishonesty brings; no more will I give it a power over my life that only my Savior Jesus should have.
I must put my dishonest heart to death, that in Christ’s holy, life-giving grace,
I am made shameless and honest.