Tonight, a wonderful, loving friend took me up on my request for her to “walk in the light” with me. She told me there were some things in my life that were, to put it simply, just plain wrong (although she put it in a much more loving context than that!) And although I knew at that moment that everything she said was from God, and was exactly what I needed to hear, I was crying out to God as she was talking, saying: “I can’t hear this right now! Please, I can’t take it!”
But God didn’t rend the heavens and disconnect my phone line as I hoped He would. He had me sit and listen and hurt and feel and really see some things I’ve been aware of but not really looking at for a long time now. I thought that I was the kind of person who took criticism well. I thought I was a person who could say “by golly, you’re right!” and move forward into change with nary a scratch on my delicate ego.
Apparently, I’m not quite as self-confident as I thought I was. Because it hurt to hear my friend tell me the things she told me. God, how it hurt! It’s not so much that it hurt to see these faults in myself (I’ve known about them for a long time,) it hurt to realize that she saw them, too.
In a way, that doesn’t make much sense because everything she said were things that I’ve admitted to her, in one form or another, over the course of our friendship. But it’s one thing to admit a fault or sin, and another thing entirely to invite someone into your home so that they can see the results of those shortcomings first-hand. It’s one thing to be self-depreciating and another thing entirely for someone else to point out the ways they see you falling short.
What is it about me that seeks to sweep all of the bad things under the rug and pretend like they aren’t there, anyway? What is it about me that would rather my friends love me for who I let them think I am, rather than for who I really am? And if I hide my faults from the people who love me, are they really loving me, or are they loving the person I want them to see?
I don’t want to be a person who can’t take criticism. I don’t want to be a person who doesn’t let other people in. I want my friendships to be based on truth – I want the people who love me to love me exactly as I am, “warts and all.” And I believe it is an incredible act of love, for someone to care enough to risk hurting my feelings to tell me the truth I so desperately need to hear.
I am positive that my friend was supposed to tell me everything she told me tonight. I am positive that parts of my life will forever be marked as “before” and “after” this moment. And although it hurt to hear it, and Satan used her words to beat me up for a little while afterward, I am positive that God is going to use that conversation to change me in ways I never even sought to change, and strengthen my relationships with the people around me in ways I can’t even imagine. I am so thankful that my friend had the courage to tell me what she did, tonight.
Once again, I go to bed, thanking God for the incredible people He has put into my life. Satan can go back to the hell he came from, for I won’t listen to him any more tonight. I have faults – lots of them. But I have strengths, too. And I don’t have to work for the high opinions of my friends, or keep them from thinking ill of me. I want them to think ill of me (or at least, the sin in me) when my shortcomings warrant it. I want my sin to be obvious and hideous to them… and I want them to love me enough to pray for me and confront me and strive to see me change. Because if they don’t see those things, it’s not me they love.
I am thankful for the love of my friend, who not only helped me to see that there are things in my life that need to change, but also helped me to see what true friendship is.
I kinda like this whole “walking in the light” thing. Well, maybe like is too strong a word. I’m thankful for it. 🙂
Thank you, Friend. I’m looking forward to the changes that come from this. I appreciate your love and support more than I can say.