I have a friend who always tells the truth – even when you don’t necessarily want to hear it. Actually, I have several friends like this, but the friend I’m talking about today recently shared a truth with me that I DID NOT want to hear.
What was this piece of brutal honesty?
She told me that my pants looked terrible and I would look much better if I started wearing jeans
And I have to admit that at first I was incredibly insulted---I was even a little put off. I mean, why would she say something like that? What was wrong with my pants anyway? I mean, not everyone likes jeans or feels comfortable in them. Maybe she just needed to mind her own business.
For a few hours I was really perturbed with my friend. Of course, I got over it because a silly comment about jeans isn’t worth spoiling a good friendship, but I also didn’t take her advice. Until……
I saw a picture of myself wearing the pants in question.
Turns out my friend was right---they did look terrible. I mean really, really bad.
Then I dug my jeans out of the closet and found that again my friend was right---they looked A LOT better. (Like seriously, WAAAAAYYYYY better.)
I’ve now realized that even though my friend told me something I didn’t want to hear (because the big, baggy pants were SOOOO comfy), ultimately, her hard truth was for my benefit.
I was thinking about this incident the other day as I read a passage from Mark Batterson’s new book, Whisper. It said:
“If you aren’t willing to listen to everything God has to say, you eventually won’t hear anything He has to say. If you want to hear His comforting voice, you have to listen to His convicting voice. And it’s often what we want to hear least that we need to hear most. Trust me, though, you want to hear what He has to say.”
These are powerful words---and they arrived on my phone at a time when I quite frankly, didn’t want to hear what the Holy Spirit had to say. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I never want to live in rebellion to the Holy Spirit, but what I knew the Holy Spirit was speaking was such a stretch for me---so far out of my comfort zone.
Being completely vulnerable, I’ll admit that I consulted with several different people hoping they would tell me I wasn’t hearing the Holy Spirit and that I needed to head in another direction. (Including the person who told me my pants looked bad—I mean certainly she’d tell me the truth)
And yet everyone said, “What you’re hearing is exactly the way you need to go.” (Traitors! Lol)
In the end, one of the most telling things that one of my friends said to me was, “You need to spend some time journalling and talking to Jesus about why this is such a struggle for you. You need to get to the root of the problem so you can overcome and obey the Holy Spirit.”
And she was completely right.
As I took the time to be alone with Jesus and talk about why this was such a stretch and struggle for me, the Holy Spirit showed me another area of my life where I needed to be healed. He also showed me a pattern that existed throughout my life that I needed to overcome. Even though this way of thinking was comfortable for me, it was also keeping me from stepping into all that God had for my life. Once again at a crossroads, I could follow my comfortable pattern or overcome my issues, step out of what came naturally and obey the Holy Spirit.
That’s what I’m doing.
So what about you?
Is the Holy Spirit leading you in a new direction or speaking to you about an area that needs to change in your heart, meanwhile every part of you is screaming, “I don’t want to hear that!”?
Are you covering your spiritual ears to avoid hearing His call of conviction, change, or even healing? (Because let’s be honest, sometimes we’d rather avoid any potential pain that healing may require, so we choose to just ‘live with it’.)
Are you choosing comfort over growth? Familiarity over a fresh start? Status quo over the greatest adventure of your life?
May I be the friend who tells you things you don’t want to hear?
Perhaps it’s time to take a good look in the mirror and see that things could be better.
Healing is available; joy can be found; peace is standing at your door knocking saying, “Won’t you please let me inside?”
Then, after you’ve acknowledged the truth, let me encourage you to start making changes.
Pursue your own journey to healing.
Find out what is keeping you from following the Holy Spirit’s lead, from being obedient, and from becoming the woman God designed you to be.
Looking back over the course of my life, I can testify that every time I have taken the time to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and obeyed (even when it was hard, challenging, or just something I didn’t want to hear) it has always been for my good.
I’ve always looked back and said “You were right. I’m so grateful I went through that because that experience changed me. And I like the changes.”
I want the same to be true for you. I want you to experience everything God has for you today, tomorrow and always.
One of the keys to this is hearing and obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit as He speaks truth into your heart. Hearing not just part of what the Holy Spirit has to say but ALL of it and then putting it into practice in your life.
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.
Do what it says.
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do."
“But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. He will honor me; he will take from me and deliver it to you.”
John 16:12-15 (the Message)