Friday, March 13, 2015

The Truth

I've been wanting to write about truth lately and what it means to me but ironically have not been able to find the words.  It has been coming up in conversation, situations, thought, prayer, and reflections a lot the last week, but getting it out has been a lot harder than I imagined.

What is truth? I would ask myself, and coming up with an answer was nearly impossible.  I ask you, what is truth?... not as easy as you thought huh? ;-)

Let's begin by looking up the dictionary term:

John 8:32 (NLT) states,
"And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Truth is many things to many people and consequently difficult to define in one statement.  We can view it as simply stating what is fact.  And yes, with our senses we are able to see the world but truth of the matter is that we interpret the world subjectively and therefore our truths may all be different.  Of course, some things are indeed fact; I live in the United States where we use the Dollar as a form of currency and our main language of communication is English.  But most things are not as easily classified.

The rector of my parish, Father Paul, is currently offering weekly Lenten Studies for this Lenten season and last week's passage was John 4:3-26 (NLT) (Jesus and the Woman of Samaria).  We discussed truth and how being vulnerable to others allows us to get to know people on a deeper more personal level, their true selves; just like Jesus's interaction with the Samarian woman.

During discussion I couldn't help to think about how God, Love, and Truth are all interrelated, neither is separated from the other two.  I came up with this image in my head as we were talking, I call it God's Wheel.  I kept thinking about how God is Love and Love is Truth so therefore God is Truth and Truth is Love... I know haha, my mind gets tangled up in webs like this often.  I realized that one cannot exist without the other.  For me, God is indeed Love and God (love) speaks the truth.

Let us dig a little deeper at this since I am yet to really answer the question, What is truth? I'm sure we could come up with an infinite amount of answers to what the truth truly is (see what I did there ;)) but here are the three that stuck out to me the most as I was reflecting on this:

1.  Speak the truth.  Ephesians 4:29 (MSG) states,

"Watch the way you talk.  Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth.  Say only what helps, each word [is] a gift."

I love this verse, it's the wallpaper on my phone- constantly reminding me to speak only the truth and not only that but to "watch the way [I] talk,"  watch what I say... watch what I do.  Regardless your beliefs or your values you will most likely agree that we should all speak the truth. We should be faithful to others and to ourselves, we shouldn't lie to get by.

The last few years I have realized that speaking the truth is so much easier when you live the truth.  Truth is an action, things we do.  If we are honest from the very beginning we won't have to lie about what we've done.  If we don't cheat then we don't have to cover up our tracks, if we don't pretend to be something we are not then we don't have to speak falseness.

Just like almost everything else, I believe truth to begin in our thoughts then continue into actions and end with our words.  So in order to speak the truth I believe it's important to act and be the truth.  It might be difficult at first because sometimes it's much more simple doing what's not true to our hearts, to our words, and to others.  But actions always speak louder than words, especially in this case.

Speaking the truth to me also means not being afraid to say how I feel.  I believe that the only things I know to be true are my interpretations and feelings to the world around me, especially my feelings.  No one can tell you that your feelings are wrong, how could they be if that is what you feel?  Even interpretations- we might interpret things incorrectly from time to time; take things out of context, misinterpreted other's intentions, etc. but they are still your interpretations which caused feelings and emotions to stir within you
Job 32:15 (MSG) says, 

“Do you three have nothing else to say?
Of course you don’t! You’re total frauds!
Why should I wait any longer,
now that you’re stopped dead in your tracks?
I’m ready to speak my piece. That’s right!
It’s my turn—and it’s about time!
I've got a lot to say,
and I’m bursting to say it.
The pressure has built up, like lava beneath the earth.
I’m a volcano ready to blow.
I have to speak—I have no choice.
I have to say what’s on my heart,
And I’m going to say it straight—
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

I was never any good at bootlicking;
my Maker would make short work of me if I started in now!”

How beautiful, "I have to say what's on my heart, And I'm going to say it strait
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."  I absolutely LOVE and ADORE that verse.  "I have to say what's on my heart, And I'm going to say it straitthe truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."  I want to repeat it over and over and over again because it's so true, it speaks to me so beautifully.

I am a very intense person when it comes to emotions and feelings (I claim it to be a result of my astrological sign- Cancer, hehe) and others, especially those whom are not as in tune with their emotions and feelings often times find it intimidating.  For a while I would hold back what I had to say and what I was feeling, but recently in the last year or so, I have been trying to speak up.  I no longer fear vulnerability, I crave it.  I want to tell people my truth, my deepest darkest feelings, I want to let them in because I want to be let in- into their hearts.  I want to help people realize that letting others in and sharing your truth is so beautiful and freeing.  If it scares people away, then so be it, but almost always they come back because I've found that deep down we all want to open up, we all want to be loved for who we truly are.  There is no right and wrong way to feel, there just is.  You feel what you feel and I believe in sharing that with those around you in order to build strong, personal, and authentic relationships. Just like the one Jesus built with the Samaritan woman!  Now of course, I think it's important to remember that there is a time and place for everything.  Taking others feelings into consideration is also important in this situation, asking ourselves if they are ready for our truth.  I'm not fearful of pushing people away if they don't like what I have to say but I also don't wish to offend anyone.

2. Being authentically myself. This means being myself no matter what.  Accepting that I am a child of God and He has created me this way.  Accepting all of my flaws and my imperfections just as easily as I have accepted everything beautiful I have to offer.  I have written on this topic a couple different times, you can find links to them here and here to get a better idea of what I mean by this.  I don't believe in rights and wrongs so I don't believe there is a right or wrong way to be.  You just are.  You are who you are, and that's it.  If you are authentically yourself, nothing else matters because you are being true and truth is love and love is God.

3. Being true to others.  Ahhh, here's where I go back to the first one.  I believe that speaking the truth is a result of being the truth. Being authentically yourself will allow others to be authentic with you.  Others will see that you are a reflection of God's love and light and that alone will help them build the confidence to be authentically themselves, to be and speak the truth.  It's a chain reaction.  We have to remember to love others for who they are, for everything that makes them them.  We cannot ask for acceptance without accepting others.  There's a quote I love, "before you judge me, take a good look at yourself."  It is sooooo hard sometimes but I really try not to judge others.  Everyone is fighting their own battle and we don't always know about the journey they are on.  All we can do is accept them for the mere fact that they are human because we're human, isn't that enough?

Everyday I try to be authentically myself, I try to live a life I want to live and be a person I love.  I try to do this by becoming incarnate of truth.  Because "the truth [has] set me free!"

So I ask you, are you incarnate of truth?  How?  If not, would you like to be? 

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I want to dedicate this post to one of my really good friends, Jacob Capin.  1) He inspired me to write about this through a series of conversations we had a couple nights ago and 2) he is just amazing in every which way... no really, every which way.  So thank you Jacob, for helping me through my writer's block and for being one of the greatest friends I've ever had.  I love you and you continue to be an inspiration to me.
Oh and just because I want to show him off (and he deserves all the praise)... he is currently training for an OLYMPIC TRIATHLON while working full time on his SECOND doctorate degree at UDel! Whaaatttt!!! Haha best of luck to you Jacob, I love being your cheerleader!  Stay true, you are the light.