I went to my art class today…a class that I will admit has given me some trouble this year…not the lessons really…more the personalities. I am an outsider…each of the women there signed up with a buddy and have their own little pockets of friends in class…so I feel that sense of not fitting in each week when I attend. The instructor is amazingly talented…but was sharing a lot of negativity on and off for the first few weeks. (Things came to a head a few weeks ago when my tendency to ask questions was turned into an assumed character flaw…I stayed after class and…well, we have an understanding now…she will not assign character traits to me based on incorrect assumptions and I will continue to ask questions because that is how I learn.) I am sure that the weird tension between the instructor and I didn’t help loosen the friendship pockets any.
Anyway, a few weeks have passed and today, one gal who has been really closed off and tightly wound the whole semester, shared a very small tidbit of information about her son. I immediately felt compassion for the people in the situation that she described and shared with her some ways that I empathize with her situation and her son’s as well. See, I can identify with some of what the son has experienced and shared some things with her that might help her level of understanding where her child is concerned…ways that I have struggled and ways that I have failed along with the fears that accompany those failures…fears that I would be pigeon-holed or stereo-typed…fears that the way that people look at me will change…fears that relationships would be reduced to me living in a microscope to be studied…lots of fears.
And that is when it happened. The feel of the entire class changed. People started mingling more…walking around and looking at each other’s work and asking questions about how to achieve certain effects…sharing more about their real lives…encouraging each other through various struggles and sharing experiences that might help. This small group of predominantly uncomfortable strangers began to be known just a touch…let down their guard a tad…even giggle or tear up a little bit. Walls started to come down as posturing ceased and a journey toward depth began. I don’t know why I am telling you this except that it really struck me. I thrive on depth and authenticity and am really stifled (and somewhat sickened) by falseness and insincerity so this change…this new real-ness…this willingness to be a little vulnerable…well, it’s what I value most and it’s a glimpse of what I imagine Heaven will be like…what Eden was like before…
So, how are you doing in this area? Are you known? Really known? Do people have access to the person that you really are? Warts and all? What prevents you from being authentic? Do you allow others to be real? How can you encourage this more?
My prayer today is that we would be brave. That we would allow who we really are…the actual creatures that God designed us to be…to be. That we would get comfortable being uncomfortable and just sit in it…not try to wiggle out of it…not side-step it and steer things away from our faults…because I think that our scars and broken parts might just be our most beautiful parts…because unlike the parts of us that get it all “right”…our tender bits are, after all, the parts that make us need the God that created us.
Much love friends,