Here’s an honest moment for you all, whoever might be reading this (a special shout out to my mom, because I know you are a loyal follower).
I wondered the other day what it looks like to be honorable. This, of course, was not a thought that just flew into my mind, (I wish I could have more of those, it would make the realm of creativity much more exciting and accessible). A speaker at our chapel prayed the words over the small student body a few weeks ago, “You have the opportunity to do what is honorable in every situation.”
There’s a bit of gravity to those words, isn’t there?
I hear the word honor and my mind conjures images of duty and obedience, and usually a song from Mulan is cast in the background. “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12), “Wives, respect and obey your husbands” (1 Peter 3), “Obey your earthly masters in everything” (Colossians 3:22); these words too conjure images of consequence and of duty. Honor associates itself with the greatest reward of eternity when these commands are brought into fruition, but why does my mind stray away so easily from the word “honor”?
It is easy to grasp the idea of love. Love neighbor, love self, love the Lord your God with all of your heart. I can do that, or rather, I can pray and ask for love and work my hardest every hour to be a loving person. The same seems to apply to joy and peace and goodness, and all of these other gifts we have been given, but maybe that’s why being honorable is not so tangible, because it is a thing we must work on and strive for. It is not concretely one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit that takes root deep inside our bones and thoughts and prayers and yeah, everything.
To be honorable is more than to be a person deserving of status and praise and reward; honor implies honesty and the ability to seek out truths. I heard these words, “the opportunity to be honorable” and I prayed for them to sink deep into the darkest, crappiest, most pride-filled parts of my heart and to be given meaning. I prayed so hard. I want to be honorable, but I want to actually feel pulled towards honor and not just see it as a means of reward and duty.
Y’all, our God is good and He is gracious. He is so gracious. He let these words spill over me and into my thoughts and into the ways I can change and be honorable in all of the littlest facets of my life. I was driving over the Saint John’s bridge in Portland, Oregon on a Tuesday morning and the words and truths were coming to me. The sun was rising and it was raining and it was messy and beautiful all in one, except for maybe the honking from the traffic of a commuting city.
So here is my honesty:
I am prideful as all else. I would never admit that I need help, nor that I am deserving or wanting any of this. I show no honor to my friends and the ones I love the most as they try and bare their hands and hearts to help me. I hold onto my thoughts with pride and feel that no one is understanding or deserving enough to be let into my head space. I show little honor to myself or to others as I place assumptions before immediacy in letting these bits be known. I have spent years being dishonorable to my parents in filling in words where there should be none, tensions where there should be understanding. In this moment, driving in the strangest mix of in-between Oregon seasons, I realized that I have not been honoring some of my relationships in withholding honesty of emotions and feeling incapable of receiving love.
I pray that the prayers (the layers to this are wonderful) I have been praying for honor will continue to muddle and take over my thoughts. In showing honor, we show what is loving and truthful and honest. This is clearly a process, and it is clearly a spot that the Lord was gracious enough to reveal to me to press into. I believe that in honoring my neighbor, my parents, my roommates, the boy I was dating who I spent so long feeling conflicted about, I am honoring my Father as well.
I pray, too, that these words from a teeny, tiny chapel session will resonate and sit with another one of you. There is opportunity to pray over, and opportunity to seek out what is honorable and what is righteous in the eyes of the Lord. Do so, ask for such, so that the elimination of all that is dishonorable will allow us to be set apart as vessels for what is holy and what is good (read 2 Timothy 2:21 for some more eloquence to that statement).
words by Erin McChurch and photo by Arianna Taralson