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Early in the morning, when I still believe in “best,” I ask God to help me approach the day to the best of my abilities. I am lying. What I really want is for the day to mold itself to my needs, to be easy. This is only one of the lies I tell myself — and God.

If we can’t be honest with God, whom can we be honest with? And yet, so very often, we come to God in disguise, speak with forked tongue, and try to whitewash our faults with excuses. God knows who we are down to our very souls. God can never be fooled by our lies. So why do we bother?

Perhaps we are trying to spare our own feelings. In order to maintain our belief that we are essentially good people, trying hard in difficult situations, we gild the lily a bit. We let our emotional state become reality. What I feel is the truth becomes the truth.

It’s time to get honest with God. Instead of saying, “Thy will be done,” perhaps I need to lay myself bare. “If you presented me with a real challenge, Lord,” I might say, “I would probably try to run away from it. But I don’t want to do that. Help me be stronger.” Instead of pretending to be pious by praying for an enemy, maybe I should just admit it: “I don’t like this person, God. But I need to deal with them in a charitable and fair way. I could really use some direction.”

There is no stigma in revealing ourselves to God. God knows us better than we know ourselves. In letting go of our falsehoods and veneers and showing ourselves as the ugly, sinful, broken things we are, perhaps we can find a clearer route to God. God, after all, loves the ugly, sinful and broken. God takes them in, prodigals all, and lays a feast before them.

The first step to ending any unproductive behavior is admitting it. I am Lori, and I am a sinner. Admitting it does not excuse me. It does not allow me leeway. It demands from me a radical change. Here I am, Lord, warts and all. Use what you can of me. Just help me remain truthful with you. A real, deep and meaningful relationship requires it.

A guy knocked on our door a few days ago. “I was working in your neighbor’s yard, and I noticed your oak tree,” he said. “It looks bad. Needs to come down. I’ll do it for [insert reasonable price]. Also noticed you don’t have a chimney; I’ll haul the wood away, too.”

“Just a minute,” I told him. I called my husband.

“Honey,” he said, “the tree is fine. That guy just wants the wood so he can sell it.”

There you go. That’s my life. I’m cursed with gullibility; I believe what people tell me and don’t look for hidden messages, hidden agendas, hidden emotions. It causes me no end of trouble. I once complained to a psychologist that one of my co-workers had deceived me; I hadn’t expected it at all. “Are you stupid?” she asked.

Maybe I am. Or maybe I’m honest and expect others to be so, too. If you say you’re my friend, I believe you. And it will take many metaphorical strikes over the head with a giant mallet to change that status. I guess, in the end, I want to believe people. I want them to be honest. I want them to be better than perhaps they really are.

That doesn’t seem so stupid…does it?

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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