Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Sometimes I think that what I have to offer is valuable.
Maybe more valuable than it actually is.
Maybe so valuable that I'm scared to actually give it because I don't know how people will receive it... will they also guard it tenderly, or will they quickly discard it? Can they be trusted?

Sometimes I convince myself that no one will guard what I have as well as I can, and so I tell no one. These are my secrets. Only mine. And since they matter more to me than anyone else, I will keep them... I will let no one in... I will tell no one.

Sometimes I give tests as people coming knocking on my door to prove that they may be worthy enough to entrust my treasure to. It's a series of tests that no one will pass... because that's the way I've set it up. Tests set up so that everyone will fail. You might call it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And so the cycle continues.
Because I think no one is to be trusted, I only let people in so far until they prove me right (through whatever test I put them through).

This is how I worked in college.
Bearing my soul to another meant vulnerability, it meant exposure, it meant letting parts of me be seen that I didn't want others to know about. When others knew, I felt like something was lost. Like I no longer had control of who I was or over who knew what about me. There was sometimes shame. There was sometimes the feelings that if people knew more about me, they would reject me for who I really was. There was sometimes hopelessness that came with this withholding of myself from others...as though I was clinging desperately to something that I needed.

It was lonely.
And it was full of despair.

I was convinced that in order to be vulnerable with someone, they had to meet certain stipulations that required commitment and follow-up questions/continued interest in my life. I had to know that they would be around for the long-haul. I wasn't super interested in summer flings, or semester-long friendships that faded as time went on. I wanted the 'real deal'. I wanted depth. I want life-long partners to joureny with.... that I trusted with my everything.

As I've gotten older, I've encountered reality.
As I've gotten older, I've come to realize the importance of vulnerability in seasons in life.
As I've gotten older, I've recognized that I don't need to hold so tightly to all these 'secrets'... that these things don't determine my value...that these things often don't define how others view me.

I've certainly had some friends that will be life-long friends. But they aren't friends that I talk to consistently, they aren't friends who know my daily struggles or stupid mishaps. They're the friends I call when I really need to talk to someone who knows me... when I really need to talk to someone that I trust unswervingly.

But then there are friends who I have for seasons in life. Seasons where we maybe lived together, or worked together, or went to school together, or had some sort of other connection. Seasons where they knew my daily struggles, and even my past 'secrets' and my joys and pains. Friendships where at times I knew that while maybe we wouldn't be friends for the long-haul, it didn't change the dynamic of our present relationship. And it was okay. I think my reaction to these types of relationships in college was to distance myself from anyone who I didn't see a 'future' with. But now... these friendships are vital and life-giving. They are some of my most cherished friends, even if we lose contact over the years. They are some of the people who have spoken the most Truth into my life, even if it was only one conversation. I don't ever regret being vulnerable with these people.

What I'm trying to say is that sometimes we limit ourselves, sometimes we hole up in loneliness, sometimes we convince ourselves that no one is to be trusted and that it's impossible and never worth it to be vulnerable and open with people we don't know if we can 'trust' with our secrets for all of eternity. But sometimes (almost always), I think we miss out when we hold back from other people... when we don't allow ourselves to be known. Even if it's only for a moment...

I think sometimes we put too much pressure on people to guard our treasures carefully... as carefully as we would... and I think that it's unfair expectation. Why would they? How could they? But it doesn't negate that in this moment, for this season, for whatever reasons... that they want to know. A lot of times I think it's okay. We don't have to trust them to never tell another living soul, we don't have to trust them to take a bullet for us, we don't have to trust them to be perfect. Do we? Should we? How could we?

There are times we need to be wise in our disclosure, especially if it can affect how others are viewed... but I think too often we are scared of vulnerability for all the wrong reasons. And the more we fear it, the more we run from it and the more we never face the things that we truly need to process through.

You know by now that I'm a huge advocate of honesty.
I pray that you wouldn't hold back from being vulnerable either. Even if it's one conversation. I pray that we wouldn't be people who tuck away secrets, guarding ourselves from others, remaining isolated in our own prisons, unwilling to allow anyone else in. I pray, instead, that we would be inviting, open, and eager to see how the Lord can use even the darkest things for His glory, how He can transform even the most unlikely of us. These things we hide aren't the 'treasures' that we need to be clinging to... because these aren't the things that define us any longer.

Life doesn't have to be as lonely as we make it.
I truly believe that.

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