Living My Truth
Paul found himself imprisoned because of his faith and his efforts to spread God's word. But even as he wrote from his prison cell, he did not despair. He knew that his mission was worth the trouble. He was willing to suffer the consequences of living his truth.
Living my truth has not always been easy. For me, making other people happy (or at least keeping them from being unhappy with me) holds such a strong place in my heart, that it's often difficult to live or even speak my truth if doing so might make someone else uncomfortable.
Years ago, when I was still a newby in the workforce, I was working hard to please my boss. One day she asked me if I enjoyed research, and would I be interested in running down to the library (that's how we did it back in the day) to research a project she was working on. Of course, I said yes. I grabbed up my notebooks and pens and ran down to the library. I walked in, stood in the vestibule, and panicked. The reality is my brain isn't wired for research. I see it as a daunting, often impossible task. Trying to find information in a sea of pages in a sea of books in a sea of book stacks was terrifying. I turned right around and walked out. I couldn't do it.
So, why did I say yes? Because at the time, I was unable to speak my truth. I couldn't face the pain of admitting to another that I was incapable or inexperienced at research. But also, I had been taught that the boss is always right, and I couldn't see that her request was just that -- a request. I thought that if I spoke my truth, there would be consequences worse than navigating the vast, empty universe of research. But I was wrong. I finally had to return and tell her that it wasn't a project I was interested in. Speaking my truth that day was painful and embarrassing. But it helped me cultivate the practice of speaking my truth that has become easier over the years. It will always be a work in progress, but I'm beginning to learn that being true to myself and speaking my truth grounds me, strengthens me, and makes me more -- me.
Narrative Lectionary Text: Ephesians 3
This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you, and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given me by the working of his power. Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him. I pray therefore that you may not lose heart over my sufferings for you; they are your glory.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.