Welcome my sweet friend Tara to the blog today. She and I have been internet friends since I can remember. She gave me a beautiful gift after our house fire and I think of her often when I pass by it in our home. She has a lovely blog and a lovely shop and I’m so honored to have her here. She’s using one of my favorite quotes today which confirms that we are kindred spirits. You will be blessed by her kind and thoughtful heart!
The idea of telling my story used to shred me. I remember the first time I did it like it was yesterday.
I was a senior in college, and it was a Wednesday night. I stood, knees knobbing and nearly choking from a Texas-sized lump, in the front of the chapel that held our campus ministry.
I’m fairly certain I thought I’d die before I finished.
From the moment my campus pastor asked me to share, the question that hung over my head like a dark, luminous cloud was Can these people handle my story?
I felt naked and exposed standing before them that night.
I’d spent a lifetime wearing masks and drawing pictures of my life for the people in it that didn’t include any remote truth that might dare threaten their acceptance of me. I became a master at being all things to all people. I stood on the outside of my story and abandoned any part of it that made me vulnerable.
When we refuse to own who we are, shame wins. Shame loves to keep us quiet. Its one relentless mission is to convince us to exchange the truth of who we really are for the approval and acceptance of others.
When you’re as addicted to people pleasing as I used to be, it usually means you’re feeding a growing beast inside who goes by the name of Perfectionism. We all know we’re not perfect, but we just about kill ourselves trying to look like we are.
I stood and told my story that night. I didn’t tell the scariest parts. I wasn’t that brave yet. But I started the long, arduous journey from being totally obsessed with the thoughts of others to having faith that God really does repair what the locusts have eaten, that he makes all things good, that he erects beauty from ashes, and that his power really is made perfect in our weaknesses.
And a very long journey it has been.
Every year of the last twenty has taught me to let go of the notion that I need to have my act together.
These years have been good to teach me that control is positively impossible.
I’ve slowly, slowly, slowly traded in a devotion to pleasing, performing and perfection for authenticity.
Not coincidentally, marriage and parenting and friendships have been my way out of perfectionism.
They’ve forced me to see my flaws.
It’s hard to hide who I really am in those arenas, and honestly, I don’t want to.
God made us for relationships.
They plunge us into a place of vulnerable, messy and real and we watch as God does his miraculous work.
You become better at anything by practicing it over and over and over again.
It’s still scary every single time I decide to share a piece of my heart with someone, but every time I choose authenticity and vulnerability, I become braver and more courageous.
I become the me that God intended me to be.
The bountiful harvest that comes from living more wholeheartedly is an inner circle of people who are willing to bear the weight our stories.
As Easter approaches, we’re reminded of the One who bore the weight of who we are in the ultimate way in His death for us. It’s tempting to want to scurry past the part of the story where an excruciating death occurred, but we can’t. Without death, there’s no real hope of resurrection. We have to face the truth of who we are and those things that grip us and keep us from opening ourselves up to the redeemer of our souls.
Then and only then are we free to love and to be loved by others.
The greatest struggle in my life has been surrendering my need for control and my need to look like I’ve got it all together. This battle comes straight out of the hardest, scariest parts of my story.
But every single time I die to what my flesh craves, God resurrects more and more freedom in my heart.
The result is a vulnerable, messy, real, beautiful, wholehearted life.
God takes the things in our stories that make us vulnerable and uses them to fulfill his calling in our lives.
What are the things that make you vulnerable?
How is God using those things to shine his light in your life?