Having the Courage to be Honest in Relationships

By Monika Kirkland

God's Brave Women - Monika's Story


I ran into the elevator and pushed the “lobby” button as fast as I could, my face hot and flushed as tears began to well up in my eyes. Hurry, hurry, hurry. If I can just make it to my car before the tears come...


I breezed through the lobby with my head down, avoiding making eye contact as much as possible, wishing I had a hat or sunglasses or something with which to hide my face. If someone saw the tears I would be asked, “is everything ok?” and then I would collapse into a pitiful heap of tears and sobs and snot. I desperately needed that not to happen. So, I rushed as quickly as possible to my car. I fumbled with my keys, opened the door, and climbed in.


Safe at last.


The rush of tears and snot came faster than I thought possible, but I was alone and I let it all out. Sweet relief.


I am what some people not-so-lovingly refer to as “too sensitive.” I prefer the terms tender or authentic or emotionally available, but alas, we can’t always get our way.


On this particular day, some things were said and some things were left unsaid with a dear friend. I was hurt. I felt overlooked, unseen, and completely misunderstood. The consequence of an ongoing series of miscommunications that slowly piled one on top of the other until the house of cards came tumbling down. So, I did what one does in this situation and had an emotional meltdown in my car. Totally normal, right?


I have a rule. First: I just let the tears come. I let myself feel it all—all the messy, muddled emotions. The hurt, the ache, the discomfort, the sting of rejection. I allow myself to feel what I’m feeling; I do my best not to judge it. I simply release it and cry out to God, my very own psalm of lament. He’s strong enough to handle it.


 

"I allow myself to feel what I’m feeling; I do my best not to judge it. I simply release it and cry out to God, my very own psalm of lament. He’s strong enough to handle it."

 

Second: I pray. I ask God to give me relational wisdom in how to handle it, and the courage to step into the uncomfortable rather than running away. You see, running? That’s easy. I can do that all day long. Run from my feelings. Run from awkward conversations. Run from the hard. So instead? I ask God for courage. The courage to be honest. The courage to be vulnerable. The courage to face rejection. The courage to step into the mess, believing that we’ll step out stronger and closer and better for it. We may have to dig through a little dirt together, but we’ll find deeper, richer soil.


 

"I ask God for courage to step into the mess, believing that we’ll step out stronger and closer and better for it. We may have to dig through a little dirt together, but we’ll find deeper, richer soil."

 

As the tears slowed and my resolve strengthened, I reached for my phone. This relationship was worth fighting for, and I knew this conflict had to be dealt with head on. Which meant I had to be honest with how I felt—for better or worse. I refused to harbor bitterness or resentment, that toxic poison that festers and spreads until it claims its unknowing victim. I knew it was the right thing to do, but I was still terrified.


 

"I refused to harbor bitterness or resentment, that toxic poison that festers and spreads until it claims its unknowing victim."

 

How will she react? Will she understand? Will this backfire? Will this only cause further hurt? Will our friendship survive it?


I surrendered all the questions and unknowns and pushed the call button. Trusting God to provide the courage I needed to push through the fear. It was the only way.


The phone rang twice and then I heard her cheery “hello” on the other end. I asked if she had time for a quick “heart-to-heart” and she said yes. So, I poured my heart out to her, as honestly and authentically as I could, while trying (and failing) to not bawl my eyes out. She listened intently and then she did something very courageous herself— she apologized. She owned her part in it and I owned mine, both of us asking for forgiveness through tear-soaked phones.


She thanked me for having the courage to be honest and call her, rather than sweeping it under the rug. The tears turned to laughter and we both left the call grateful for our friendship. I drove home feeling relieved and thankful, and about ten pounds lighter.


I am convinced that courage is contagious. When we have the courage to show up authentically and honestly, we give other people permission to as well. Courage isn’t just something you need to fight the big giants of your life, but rather, something we need to cultivate and embrace in our every day, ordinary lives. In our parenting. In our workplaces. In our friendships. In our churches.


 

"I am convinced that courage is contagious. When we have the courage to show up authentically and honestly, we give other people permission to as well."

 

I believe courage is like a muscle: it needs practice and exercise to grow. So each and every time you act courageously, that muscle strengthens— making you braver. It’s hard work at first, but like working out, you’ll get stronger day by day.


Having the courage to be honest is about being authentic and open with yourself, with other people, and most importantly, with God.


 

"Having the courage to be honest is about being authentic and open with yourself, with other people, and most importantly, with God."

 

I once had a friend who had the courage to get really honest with herself about her drinking problem. Once she faced it, she was able to get help and make some much needed changes. I had another friend get really honest with her pastor about the fact that her marriage was struggling— and she was able to get the help, prayer, and counseling she needed. I, daily, have to get painfully honest before God, confessing my sin and pride and all the areas of my heart I need to surrender to Him.


Is It hard? Yes. Is it worth it? 1,000 percent.


 

Brave Woman Manifesto


Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story!

And by the way...


You are Brave!


No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means He equips you with His courage, strength, and power. I would love to connect more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my empowered email tribe.


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About Monika


Monika Kirkland is a Christian author, speaker, wife, and mother of four that knows what it’s like to walk in the trenches of motherhood, marriage, and over 10 years of ministry. She is passionate about encouraging and equipping women to walk in the freedom found only in Christ.


You can follow along on Instagram @monikakirkland and visit her website at www.monikakirkland.com where you can grab some of her FREE RESOURCES!