As as I sit at Disney World (because that is what I do here while my husband naps and my kids entertain themselves on rides and check back for food and drink), I am reading an intriguing book. My favorite quote so far is: “I often think that the effort we put into trying to pretend something about us is true-that we are less than we are or more than we are or that one aspect of ourselves is the whole story-is based in a fear of being really known, of being truly seen, as we actually are.” Nadia Bolz-Weber
A few minutes ago, I got up from my reading and was taking pictures of fountains and flowers and encountered these walls…..
They are covering up construction sites that are meant to stay out of sight. That is, unless you are me and climb up to see what is really behind them.
But my intrigue had little to do with Disney’s next project and everything to do with our hearts. What is the condition of our hearts most of the time? Guarded. Barricaded by walls. Tucked behind thick fences of protection. We are terrified to let people see our flaws, vulnerable places of weakness, and desperately don’t want anyone to think we are…..NEEDY. When we even say that word, we use a tone of disgust because it is the last word any of us wants to be used to describe us. We can’t fathom others seeing the construction being done in our lives, our hearts, our raw places. So like Disney, we erect the facade, all clean and neat.
The inevitable result of the self-constructed walls is shallow, superficial relationships where we are never known. We either become whoever other people want us to be or we shut down and stop trying…..and we stop truly living and just start to survive.
True community begins with being vulnerable, raw, honest, and REAL. I have come to the place in life where fake and superficial is exhausting. I pray God takes me to the depths with people- even those I just meet because that is where life happens. Real life. Not the fake reality of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Those are not real, people. And if we believe the lie that other people’s lives look that good all the time we will continue to hide our “junk” and fall deeper and deeper into the well of self-condemnation and insecurity.
I have lived with insecurity all my life. As I sit here today at 45 years old, I still struggle….but the healing for me has happened when I decided to be honest with God, my friends, and myself. When I began to realize that being a mess is ok and is actually comforting to other people who are bombarded with images of others “having it all together.” When I stopped playing the game of life and started living it, I was set amazingly free. Free to be me. Free to make mistakes and free to not have all the answers. Now that is to truly live.
I wonder who else is ready to stop playing church, stop with the never-ending images of perfection, and be with other people who want to be seen and known. I have found that community with a group of women who make me brave everyday. Women who are going to get up this Saturday at a women’s event and hold up a poster board with words that describe their stories and their past that are not pretty and can’t be put in a pretty little box with a bow, all safe and secure. Words like “drug addict, ” “rape,” “multiple divorces,” and “sex at the age of 13.”
I know we all have wounds that grow deep from betrayal, abandonment, and shame. I get that. But it is time that we stop letting those hurts define us and keep us from finding people who want to do life together and be the body of Christ for each other. It is not pretty or perfect- it is ugly and messy sometimes…..but that is where God wants us. He calls us to the the trenches, sharing each other’s burdens and loving the unlovely parts of each other.
That, my friends, is REAL LIFE. A life of abundance and a life of freedom.