"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you." David Foster Wallace. "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 1:4. "Dear children let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:18. "Keep the truth and the truth will keep you." William Bridge
The New Year came in for me as usual; joyful and anticipatory. I was eagerly looking forward to improving upon changes that I had made in the past and even making new moves that would enhance my journey to overall wellness and progress in achieving my goals. In my opinion, I was doing just fine. But, a recent trip to my doctor's office revealed a flaw in my perception of reality. Yes, I have been making progress, but not as much as I had convinced myself that I had. The scale and other measures (e.g., tests), showed that I was not exactly being truthful in my efforts. Time to come clean, I reasoned.
It is one thing or at least comforting to delude yourself into thinking that all is well so long as there is no point at which there is accountability. Alas, in my case, I am committed to following up on appointments which means that someone is going to remind me that I am accountable for my actions or lack thereof. The wake-up call that I received prevented me from continuing in blissful ignorance. I wish I could say that it was effortless to allow the truth of my behavior to settle in and bring about immediate change. Instead, I was kind of reeling from the results of my not so full-hearted involvement in following the doctor's orders. I felt okay, and so I believed that I was. There was a change in the outcomes that I have never experienced, but was it that much? I thought to myself. It became crystal clear to me that feelings can sometimes be deceptive when I was prescribed additional medication. This was a crude, unpleasant; but necessary intervention and reality check.
The truth, I surmised, was not to be toyed with. Truth requires honest actions. Who was I lying to? The answer is "me." As the old adage goes, "the proof is in the pudding." Or, more apropos; my test results. It is just as devastating to lie to one's self as it is to lie to someone else. Fortunately in my situation, the doctor told me that the damage that I incurred due to my not-so-strict adherence could be reversed if I paid close attention and followed his instructions without deviation. I breathed a sigh of relief, quickly followed by a slight panic. Had I not believed I was doing this already? To be honest, my nerves were on edge. Now that I had no "wiggle room," could I be completely honest and commit to strict adherence? This would require my understanding of the meaning of truth and me being willing to employ it. Please do not ask me why this is such a struggle. After all, it is my own health I am talking about. Go figure.
Truth is defined in the dictionary as that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality. It was time for me to face facts: Follow doctor's orders accurately or continue to negatively impact my health. Seems like an easy choice. Trust me, it is not easy, but absolutely necessary.
The Elizabethan era audience of William Shakespeare understood "to thine own self be true" to mean that someone can better judge himself if he has done what he should or could have. Also, one must always do the right thing. In Shakespeare's play Hamlet, the character Polonius spoke these words as a token of advice to his son Laertes who is about to embark on a boat to Paris to attend University. He is advising his son on how to behave while he is at University. "This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day. Thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!" Hamlet, Act I, Scene III, 78-82.
The modern-day explanation usually refers to the ideas of truth, self-ownership, and individuality. Websters' dictionary states the true or actual state of a matter, conformity with fact or reality, a verified or indisputable fact.
Biblical truth is that which is consistent with the mind, will character, glory, and being of God. Even more to the point, truth is the self-expression of God. That is the biblical meaning of truth. Because the definition of truth flows from God, truth is theological. Truth is the way things really are. God is the author of truth. Jesus said the word of God is truth. "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." John 17:17.
Living the truth by embracing and practicing it moment by moment is the only way to be fruitful in every area of your life. A life of integrity that is committed to the truth will alleviate, if not eliminate, a host of missteps that could be detrimental to your health and/or general wellbeing.
KNOW THE TRUTH:
You cannot practice what you do not know, understand, and accept. The Websters' definition and the Biblical definition stated in this writing are great points of reference. Study both, model yourself (your behavior) after a role model of integrity; perhaps a parent, grandparent, and/or a spiritual leader, and journal your actions/behavior around living in truth.
DETERMINE THAT YOU WILL LIVE THE TRUTH:
What good is knowing the truth and then ignoring it (or living it when you feel like it and pretending you are living it all the time)? It is only by putting the truth to work in your daily life daily that will make a positive difference. To give an example: It is like possessing medicine to cure an illness that you have but deciding to take it randomly or not at all. The truth will not help you if you do not practice it (use it/live it). In the scripture noted above (3 John 1:4), John, the apostle is pleased and happy beyond measure to note that those who were converted under his ministry were practicing the truths of the word of God. They were living out the commands of loving and caring for one another in accordance with God's word.
As stated previously, you can always ignore the truth even when you know it. You can also live an outright lie or a partial truth (still a lie) even when you know the whole truth. This is not meant to sound harsh, cruel, or exacting, it is just what "we" do. I do not think there is any malicious intent in our actions, it is just that we do not want or feel up to fully complying with what requires concentration and discipline all the time. It just takes so much effort and sometimes it is not pleasant. So we pretend. Unfortunately, I have found myself in both categories (knowingly and unknowingly) hoping that things work out well in the end. I convince myself that I l am living the whole truth (or at least enough to fool my doctor) until I find out that the results indicate otherwise. That is when I am convicted to face the truth. I have to come clean.
This is why I can tell others to come clean. Being completely honest is the only way to go; it is the only way to get the results that you need and desire. Tell the truth; live the truth in every area of your life, and the outcomes will surprise you; in a good way. Try it! Deceiving yourself will get you more of what you do not want or need. Of course, we will not be perfect even while trying to give our best efforts. But, we can be above reproach by tackling every undertaking with honest intentions. Be honest in everything you do and with everyone you encounter. As Polonius ("To thine own self be true") stated and I am paraphrasing, you will always be truthful to everyone (yourself included) if you develop a way of life (the habit) of being honest with yourself.
You may have presupposed by now that you/we may need some help with coming clean. I still fight to avoid fattening foods. We all need help at times. I have good news. There is a power greater than you and me, and He is ready, willing, and able to help if we ask for it. "This is the confidence that we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. "1 John 5:14. Our creator knows our weaknesses and invites us to turn to Him in such times (and always). He is always present and He is listening. This is a source of power that I underestimate at times myself. But I do know that when I come to my senses and turn everything over to Him, it is at those times that I can honestly say that I receive the strength to walk boldly in the truth because I am not walking alone. "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13.
"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Colossians 4:2. There is a lot going on in our world today. Sometimes it is too much to grasp without feeling overwhelmed. Personal problems and societal problems weigh heavily on our hearts and do at times take our focus off what really matters. Be careful not to let them swallow you up, causing you to lose sight of what you were created for. Get back to the real; love God, love yourself, and love others. This is what our Creator desires of us. God is holy and His word is the truth. Live in His truth, and your life will be a reflection of Him. Remember, God has a plan for your life and mine, and it is the best plan ever. Be thankful for every blessing and for the fact that God is with us in everything. "My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121:2.
Rely on the Lord; He will help you to live the truth as you seek and desire to live it in accordance with the real truth, not a version of it. Prayer will keep you in communication with God and the greatest source of love, compassion, and assistance. My prayer for you and me is that we daily honor our decision to accept and walk in the truth, living it out in every aspect every day, moment, and second of our lives. This is a tall order, so I am going to add "with God helping us and with His guidance all the way." Read Proverbs 3:5-6. He will direct your/our path.
Thank you for your love and support throughout this journey of mine. I remain appreciative. Praying that the New Year brings many blessings.
Remember, you can comment at firstname.lastname@example.org You can read answers to questions submitted to my "ASK YVETTE" advice column at: AskYvette1@gmail.com Please feel free to send in a question. Again, thank you for your support. God bless you.