It’s amazing to watch your kids learn and change so quickly. It’s sweet and fun and really humbling.
Oh also, it’s exhausting.
My daughter absolutely does not understand what the word “true” means but she really loves to use it when she’s mad. We’re constantly discussing why telling the truth matters, and explaining why it’s important. So when I tell her to brush her teeth or get her shoes on, she wails, “THAT’S NOT TRUE!” And I laugh every time. A lot of things frustrate me more than I’d like as a mom but this one cracks me up every time and I have no idea how to correct her in the moment.
Somehow, truth is a hot-button word in our culture right now. We’re encouraged to find our truth, to stick by it, to speak it out loud. And it sounds so good! I want to speak my truth, too! I want to have the kind of power to be able to dictate what’s true and what isn’t. But something deep in me cringes and pulls back any time I hear or read those words.
Because the reality is: I have no right to dictate what is true. And neither do you.
That’s the thing about truth. It’s not up for grabs. It doesn’t change based on emotion. It isn’t altered by past experiences. The point of truth is that it’s unchanged and steady, not dictated by learned facts or opinions. Here’s how it’s defined in the dictionary: “being in accordance with the actual state of affairs.” *
Let’s be honest with ourselves. How often are our thoughts or emotions unbiased enough to be in touch with what’s actually going on?
Hear me out. I believe one hundred percent in reflecting on and owning your emotions and your experiences within your life story. In fact, I believe there’s no real moving forward in life without spending some intentional time and thought in processing your emotions and your perceptions.
But for those of us who call Jesus Christ our Savior, we are unknowingly stealing a piece of who He is when we claim that truth is something we can come up with on our own. Because Jesus made it clear. Truth is not a reality for us to take on. Truth is a person.
“Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life.” [John 14:6]
Why does it matter? If we love Jesus and we just use this term to help put words to our experience, what’s the hurt? Don’t be mistaken: it will hurt us. If we’re constantly looking inward to find “our truth”, we’ll find ourselves unbalanced and unfulfilled. Because we aren’t the ones who are supposed to be naming what’s true. That’s not a part of our job or our role as children of God.
Our role is to look inward, to assess our emotions and then ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what it all means. Our emotions and experiences don’t dictate our own personal truth; they point us to the person of Truth.
If you’ve found yourself working to define your truth in order to protect yourself, and somehow still find yourself defensive and a little empty, I’m gonna challenge you to shift your thinking. The world works hard to convince us that we have control over the wrong things. It feels harsh, but it’s God’s kindness and grace that Truth is His. It’s Him.
When everything else changes and is unsteady and rocky, the Truth remains.
When you can’t trust the people around you, and it feels like your own thoughts can’t be tamed, the Truth remains.
When the facts don’t line up and you aren’t sure what or who to believe, the Truth remains.
Oh. The real Truth?
The Truth is that you are loved by a gracious God simply because He has chosen you. The Truth is that you never have to be good enough, because He already sees you as enough. The Truth is that you were saved from yourself long before you even knew you needed to be saved.
So as the counterfeit of truth swirls around you, put down the pressure of defining it for yourself. You have no need to work hard to define it or chase after it for yourself. The real truth is that the Truth has already chosen you.
So instead of standing strong with balled up fists defending what’s happened to us and who we have become, we can open up our hands and be still. We can let the Truth be our Defender and our Savior. We can let the Truth come to us.
“You are truly My disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.” [John 8:32]