Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sharing our other selves

Something I've been reflecting on over the past few months, and which a friend highlighted to me at church the other day:

When you casually ask someone, "how are you?" how often are you prepared for a non-superficial response? We're often afraid of being vulnerable so we don armor or a mask to protect ourselves from prying eyes, gossip, or even for fear of being hurt by misplaced kindness. Expressing pain or fear is difficult to do. Perhaps we also hide the broken parts to shield others around us because to look at someone who is in deep pain, be it physical, emotional or spiritual elicits a complex mixture of sympathy, empathy and perhaps even disdain or guilt because we are unable to help. So we hide these parts away, and sometimes are grateful that others hide their brokenness. We look away, only allowing a select few, if any, to ever see.

Sometimes, that may be what's necessary to function from day to day, at least for a while. But ultimately, when we're ready to let people into those broken and hurt spaces, what we thought was ugly isn't as hideous as we thought it was. The broken shards that we thought could never be pieced together again miraculously start fitting together. We should choose wisely who we do let in, but God did not intend for us to go through life alone or to hide our faces from Him or others when we feel hurt or shame. He asks us to look at Him, to trust Him and offers to lift our heads, often using those around us to remind us of this truth. We just have to take that first step of acknowledging and sharing those parts of ourselves that we feel are too hurt or too unlovable to reveal. Then we realize that we are not the only broken ones. We are acceptable as we are, and there's healing in that first step.