Telling the Whole Story

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How often do we tell only half of the story? We share about recent events or holidays, but carefully omit and edit certain aspects. We can cut and paste the details of our lives to highlight our own or our children’s recent accomplishments, but we tip-toe around out insecurities and worries.  We have learned the art of positive re-framing and mastered the simplistic, polite response “I’m good” when really everything does not feel so good. I too, do these things and to be honest I am not sure why. Sometimes it seems we value positivity over authenticity. We want our life to feel or appear a certain way so we tell ourselves and others just how good things are.

One Year Ago

Last year for New Years 2010 I wrote a post here about Expectation and Hope.

“Understanding the difference between hope and expectation is critical if we are to allow our future to be shaped by God. Hope longs for good but is able to be flexible about how that good might appear. Expectation grasps at solutions and becomes easily attached to outcomes. When we are hopeful, our imagination and creativity flourish. But when we are locked into expectations, it is easy to turn our pictures of the possible future into an idol.” (Helen Cepero, Journaling as a Spiritual Practice)

And if I had to describe my last year it would be just that; Letting go of expectations and hanging on to hope. Letting go of my plan, my job, my comforts and my idea that I know what is best. Maybe more accurately, it has been a process of letting go of control. Yet at the same time, learning to hang on to hope. The hope that life is full of surprises, the hope that God has a plan far more creative than I could imagine, and the hope that saying no to something, means saying yes to something else.

New Year’s 2011

My sister recently sent me this AMAZING link of a TED talk by Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston. (Seriously watch it! You will not be disappointed. It may be some of the best uses of 20 minutes you’ve spent) With an academic, yet  humble spirit Brown speaks about the Power of Vulnerability. She looks at what gives people worth, and how shame and belonging factor into our lives. But the part that stood out the most was when she described courage.

She explains that courage comes from the latin word cor, which means: to tell the story of who are with your whole heart.


She describes that people who do this; people who tell the story of who they are with their whole heart, are authentic and compassionate and vulnerable. These are people who “let go of who they thought they should be, in order to be who they are.” It made me re-think how often do we tell our stories, share our opinions or post on facebook so that we can live up to who we think we should be? Or worse yet who we want others to think we are?

In the year ahead I want to be a person who has courage. A person is not afraid of being authentic. I want to be someone who tells the whole story. Sometimes it can be tempting living and serving overseas  to tell “part of the story”- the good, the exciting and the fun. I can easily glorify what life is like. But I also want to tell the “other part of the story”- the unknown, the confusion and the worry. Because I am coming to believe that both are extremely important. It’s the whole story, the whole person, the whole heart that connects us with others.

What keeps you from telling the story of you are with your whole heart?

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6 thoughts on “Telling the Whole Story

  1. Wow, great post! Taking the first step and trying to be someone who tells the whole story is wonderful, perhaps many of us will be inspired. Why don’t we tell the both sides? Perhaps we feel others don’t really want to hear it, don’t want to be burdened with the “other” side. I think we each have our own down side of life and adding that of others seems too much. But, really, that’s our job, isn’t it? To be there for each other through whatever life is giving us. When we don’t share all of it, we push it down deep and eventually it has to burble up to the surface. Maybe if we let bits of it out along the way we won’t have explosions at the end. And, maybe we’ll all appreciate one another more for knowing more. Does that make any sense?

  2. Hi Jill! I would actually like to read the book sometime! My friend just gave me an except from it last year. Happy New Year to you!

  3. Yes, Helen…that makes perfect sense. I think if there was a practice of being honest and real along the way, then we would probably avoid the person at the store who yells at us for no apparent reason (or the parent for that matter : ) I too agree that we wouldn’t have those explosions at the end if we gave ourselves and each other permission to tell the whole story along the way.

    I was at SM on the Friday before break, and I came by the library but the other women said you had already left. Bummed I missed you!

  4. Wow Michelle, what a great blog and great reminder! I am going through a study about how we have idols in our hearts that take the place of Jesus and that quote hit spot on. It is so easy to let expectations kill our hope. His hope and His promises are so much better than what I come up with to expect!

  5. Thanks, Lindsey! I’m glad you too are learning about expectations and hope. It’s funny how we live in a culture that almost trains us to have expectations just by the nature of how we live, but doesn’t always show us how to have hope.

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