I am one of those people who has lived her life in riddles, hints, and anonymous notes. I have said many smart things over the years. I have said many interesting things. I have often been complimented on the way that my mind works, the way I can see things and put them into words that make you think.
And there's a place for that, but it's not as big a place as you might think.
The mind can do wonderful things. It can take a word, twist it, and utter it out of the mouth. It can speak fact, even beautifully. But it cannot speak truth.
The words of the mind can impress, but they cannot impress upon. They can make a man think, but they can never make him believe. He can hear them without listening; agree without trusting.
Truth...is a product of more than the mind. It takes everything you've got, and often more, to speak truth. It takes telling a story not out of the mind but out of the heart, infusing it with meaning, matching it with a physical presence that both gives and receives that story at the same time. Truth speaks as if it is new every moment, and perhaps it is. You can never speak truth like a fact, like you know it; you always speak truth like you're just discovering it. Like you hadn't thought about it before. Like it's just now hitting you.
If you do it right, it is.
The truth is that I could go through my life talking out of my mind, and one day, I would find myself there - out of my mind. Because words spoken from the intellect have no meaning. They're empty. They don't impact my life. They don't touch what I'm trying to do here. The truth is that I have spent most of my life talking, and it doesn't take away the monsters under my bed (see yesterday's post).
But God has been calling me lately to do more than talk; He has asked me to speak. It's the hardest thing I ever do, and by far, the most rewarding.
I have had, recently, to speak words never spoken, not even in the safety of the mind. I have had to embrace stories that too often feel like they are embracing me. I have had to cast off the properness of language in exchange for the crude. I have had to be both brave and strong in moments when clearly, I was neither on my own.
But it's more than that. I have had to find the strength to stand and not crumble. I have had to look into the mirror and see my own haunted eyes. I have had to feel the trembling in my voice in my own throat, the shaking in my hands. And they have physically been shaking. And they aren't the only thing.
Some moments of truth are bigger than others. Sometimes, you can feel the facts sneaking back in. You can feel your mind wanting to take control and you have to make the conscious decision to engage your spirit again, and I'm just going to be honest - it hurts. It hurts in the depth of the spirit and the body responds to the pain and begins to ache itself. You literally engage your whole self in speaking this one thing because all of a sudden, this is not just words.
This is you.
And on the better days, it's not just you; it's God. It's daring to tell His story with everything you've got. Not just with your words, but with your everything. It's daring to trust, to believe, to hope out loud while simultaneously actually trusting, believing, or hoping. So often we use such words and find ourselves later thinking about them. I said that I trust; do I really trust? What does trust even mean? It makes them just words.
But if you trust in the very moment you say you trust, if you become present to your life in a truthful way...these aren't just words any more; they are a story. They are your story. And you're right there in it. You break your heart wide open to what's really going on.
It's not easy. I'm not proclaiming that it is. If I could tell you the violence I feel within my person as I reconcile a life with a story, a word with a truth, I would. There are simply no words. There are more moments I'd rather not take another breath than to even think about speaking at all. There are days I really, really miss talking and sounding smart. Then I find it somewhere that I must speak truth again, and I do, and what I discover is this:
I would rather have the painful brokenness of truth than the impressive beauty of words. Because it is always truth that matters to a person's life. It is always truth that matters to my life.
Most of you, right now, are lying to yourselves. You're lying to your world. And, by extension, you're lying to your God. You're not giving Him all of you. You're not even giving you all of you. And that's a shame. It's all emptiness. It can only ever bring you to agree, never to trust. It can bring you to hear, but never listen. It can make you to think, but never believe.
Don't you want to believe? Then speak truth. And watch how God shows up when you make room for Him in your story.