Benjamin Franklin devoted his life to searching out truth. As a youth, he devoured literature, spending what little money he had on books.
I wonder what he'd do with the Internet at his fingertips? I don't imagine he'd ever leave his house!
Ours is The Age of Information! His? The Age of Common Sense (not officially, I just made that up. But it feels official, doesn't it?). Instead of feeling like I don't have to work as hard to find truth, I feel exactly the opposite.
Information does not equal truth.
Ben Franklin didn't have enough information. I have entirely too much.
Alicia is devoting her life to searching out truth as rigorously as did Uncle Ben (not to brag, but we are distantly related through a sister) (okay, I'm totally bragging).
Ben Franklin had to man handle truth out of the world. Like the farmer in the desert, he had to pull truth from the earth with sweat and muscle.
Alicia has to weed truth out of the world. Like a sleek scientist in the lab, I have to dissect truth from sources with patience and prayer.
In coming to Know Myself(!) I've come to know that chaos does not become me. While facebook is buzzing with articles about Mothers on iPhones and articles defending Mothers on iPhones, articles about modesty, articles about modesty from another angle, and something about wearing pants to church...
I'm shutting my laptop. I don't care if people wear pants to church. I don't care if moms are on iphones or playground swings or couches or drugs. I have no control over those situations. The articles were swarming with "shares" and "likes" and "comments." And the Spirit would softly prompt, "This is not for you."
And I would walk away. I never read any of those articles, but the modesty articles about swimwear peaked my interest for obvious reasons. I started to read, I started to study. I donned my lab coat and worked overtime, dissecting, searching, combing, thinking...
And the more comments I read, the more crazy I started to feel. The tornado of information and opinions began to swirl around me, the velocity of it's pulling force was more than I could handle.
I was overcome with that age old feeling of "out of control."
I recognize it so well. In the past, I welcomed it, accepted the thought tornado as truth and reveled in the storm, however fleeting.
Now I calm the crazy, step away from the situation, halt behaviors, and pray.
Still the nagging question hung on in the back of my mind, "What was the truth? Was Jessica Rey right? Were the other sites right? Where was the truth?"
In prayer, I found My Truth, My Answer.
Fear and Love.
I knew it was right because it was so simple and profound. It wasn't covered in words, draped in flowery language or examples or backed up scientific data. What's more: it's my truth not only for modesty, but for life eternal.
The truth I have found has changed my perspective and my life. I can feel it changing my heart as well.
The truth is simply:
Anything done out of love is right. Anything done out of fear is not.
If I dress modestly because I'm afraid of what others will think of me -whether because I'm afraid people will lust or the Matronly Mother of the ward will reject me if I don't... then it isn't right.
If I dress modestly because I love myself, because I love others, and because the Lord loves me and I love Him... it IS right.
The same is true of immodesty. If I dress immodestly because I fear rejection from men, it isn't right... and so on.
This broad truth spans every facet of my life. I find myself questioning my choices, which I've come to know have primarily been fear-based.
Am I cleaning the house because I'm afraid of my husband's temper?
Am I having sex because I'm afraid of his bad mood?
Am I serving because I'm afraid people will think I'm selfish if I don't?
Am I working out because I'm afraid of not being enough?
Am I cleaning the house because I love the feeling of peace that stems from order?
Am I having sex because I love my husband intimately?
Am I serving because I love the Lord?
Am I taking care of my body because I love it?
Truth, for me, can be boiled and dissected down to the absolute core. Once the opinions, words, and information have been pulled away, the truth reveals itself and peace ensues.
Truth is always simple.
Truth is always plain.
Truth is always constant.
Truth for Benjamin Franklin was love, courage, faith...
and so it is for Alicia.
It's a mortal experience to uncover it, from Adam on down to Alicia.
And I'm not surprised in the least that this truth, along with all other truths, takes it root from Love and spits out Fear.
If I could leave one truth to my children, that would be it.
Are you acting out of Fear? or Are you acting out of Love?