biscuit with butter

Tell the Truth and Let the Lord Love You.

Tell the truth and let the Lord love you.

That should be the title of a book. Or a movie. Or my life. Because if you tell the truth, you’re probably going to irritate someone, so you’ll need the Lord to love you.

I didn’t come up with the saying. I got it secondhand. From a friend’s friend. I texted my friend today to ask her if she was going to church. She texted back that she was going to tell the truth and let the Lord love her, so no, she wasn’t going to church. She was laying on the couch. I was still pretty cozy in my bed (At 10:55 a.m., church starts at 11:15, I made it!), so I had nothing on her. But, that comment soothed my heart. It was butter on a hot biscuit. Freshly baked, just out of the oven, butter dripping down your fingers, warming your belly like you hadn’t eaten in weeks, kind of comment.

Because how hard have you tried to get someone to love you?

Enough to lie? Enough to pretend? Enough to be silent? Enough to do what you thought you’d never do?

I wish the comment was, tell the truth and let your people love you anyway. But, it isn’t. There’s been a few times that my kids needed to tell me a truth. I could see the fear and angst on their faces just before they spoke it. I’m not talking toddler truth here. I am talking man-did-I-mess-up-adult truth. I became mom pretty quick, and let them know that NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING could mess them up with me. Tell me the truth and I will love you to death. I will hot-butter-biscuit-love you to death, because speaking the truth takes a whole lot of courage sometimes.

My mom wasn’t so easy with that. She was quick to give a lecture, or be shocked. It was easy to shock her, which resulted in me lying to her, when really, I just wanted to tell her the truth. She was my mom. I wanted her to love me, and be proud of me, not be shocked by my stupid behavior or outrageous truth. So, yeah. Lying was easier. Tell the truth? Not when your audience is going to have the proverbial hiss-y fit. If the cost of speaking the truth is the cost of love, who does that?

Not me. I won’t give up love for truth. Will you?

I know what you’re thinking. If they can’t handle my truth then I don’t need that kind of love. Okay, Oprah. We agree. But how easy is that? And let’s talk about the people we love who fear losing our love if they’re honest with us. Come on. Super Soul Sunday sounds good, but walk that stuff out, and let’s agree that it is hard to disappoint those we love.

How I wish we’d let others (and ourselves) mess up big time and still love the heck out of each other. How I wish truth produced hugs and loving on one another. How I wish it wasn’t a choice between our truths and the love of loved ones, but sometimes, it is. But wishing is just that, wishing, and while confession is good for the soul, there’s a reason it’s done in a confessional booth with a slotted wall between you and your confessor. We can’t really handle each other’s truths, can we? I mean, really? Can we? It becomes personal. We get all weird, and make up conspiracy theories–assumptions about why they lied to us. Never thinking for a moment it was because they couldn’t stand our shocked faces. It tore them up to imagine it, so they kept quiet for way too long. Hey, I’m guilty of it. Ask my ex.

But, tell the truth and let the Lord love you? That one you can bank on. And, shocker–he already knows your truth. He’s not shocked. And judgment? Well, you got a clean slate the minute Jesus’ hands were pierced, so put that one back on the shelf. Abandon you? Never gonna happen. Your friend? Maybe she left in a huff. But, the Lord? Never.

He’ll love you to death. He’ll clean your wounds, and tell you chin up. He’ll stick by you, while you speak the truth in your heart. Yes, that one. The one that’s been lurking in there for eons. The one behind the door marked private. The one you thought you’d carry to your grave. Hey, listen. It’s on the tip of your tongue, anyway. Has been for awhile.

So, maybe you can’t tell your mom, or your spouse, or your friend. Maybe it isn’t even appropriate, too. But the Lord, yes, tell him, and let the warmth of hot-butter-biscuit love fill you up.

Wow. My Cup Runneth Over.

Wow. I am hugely touched by all of you! So many of you reached out to me, letting me know that yesterday’s blog post spoke to you. You shared some of your truthful things with me, and one beautiful woman sent me her list of 7. I will always cherish that.

Here’s what I want to say to all of you: I love you. So very deeply.

Funny how that works, right?

We try so hard to be perfect, or at least, keep our flaws in check. We try to make sure no one finds out we’re crazy. (That’s my #8, truly terrified that I’m certifiably crazy.) Why? So, we’ll be loved.

But, life is one big dichotomy. We hoard our secrets close, and all that accomplishes is keeping people at arm’s distance. But, we tell our deepest fears, the things we don’t really like about ourselves, and it brings people closer. They lean in to hear us, because they hear themselves in our words. They have a list of 7 too.

But here’s what I’m not going to do.

I’m not going to say you’re wrong.

I’m not going to tell you that you’re brave when you said you were scared.

Instead, I’m going to honor what’s in your heart, and tell you that I’m afraid too.

But, let’s keep swimming. (Yeah, I love Finding Nemo.) I’ll swim with you. I’ll do the journey with you. And, I promise to be honest along the way, if you promise to be honest too. Because somehow, knowing I am not the only one with a list of 7 makes me feel stronger, a bit more sure, a little less crazy. It makes me think this life is do-able, after all. So thank you for that.

And here’s what else I promise you:

1. I promise not to pretend I have it all together.

2. I promise to be honest about my fears. (Like now, I’m almost 55, will I accomplish ANYTHING before I die. Does it even matter?)

3. I promise to encourage you, and please encourage me. Life is hard. Faith is hard. Sometimes, I hear a song about giving it all to Jesus (that Mandisa song), and all I can think is, exactly what does that look like? Will someone please tell me what that looks like? I just want to call her up and say, “Mandisa, what does that look like?” (And btw, Mandisa, you look fabulous with the weight loss. Really. Way to go, girl.)

4. Lastly, I promise to be your friend no matter what is on your list of 7.

I love you all. You are powerful, wonderful, devoted, godly women, who are living life fully. May I be like each of you. My cup runneth over.

PS I’d love to publish some of the lists of 7s (anonymously). If you’re up for it, send them to me. (It doesn’t have to be 7, it can be 2 or even 1). I think it would be great to see how similar we all are, how flawed and beautiful at the same time. You can send them to me privately, cinthiamilner@gmail.com, or do the hashtag thing, #listof7. and tweet it or instagram it, or whatever you do. (@CinthiaMilner)