Anyone who holds onto life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal. John 12:25 (MSG)
God has been teaching me about vulnerability, a gift I never wanted. Growing up, we learn to protect ourselves. To never admit certain things. To hold back our tears.
If we didn’t learn this before high school, we were in big trouble. We–sadly, not all of us–survived. Along the way we wore so many masks we don’t remember how to be real.
It’s strange, because I’m touched when others are authentic. They bravely share their unguarded hearts, and I tell myself they can do it because they have their acts together. Unlike me. I am a mess! And I can’t afford for anyone to know.
Until recently, anyway. I’m in an online group of Christians who support each other’s creative efforts along with each other’s efforts to be human. And honest. We gather face to face every year. To keep it real.
Last year’s opening prayer issued this challenge: “Help us to pay attention. Remember, everyone has something to offer.” That resonated with me. I fought my introversion and sat with different people at every meal. I looked at and listened to each person without writing off anyone. I forgot about myself.
I imagine Jesus looked at people like that. The experience of being really seen yet still loved may explain why so many dropped everything and followed Him, why so many still do today.
For me, the experiment is ongoing. People look very precious to me. It’s scary, giving it your all. Being all in. But what are we really here for anyway? Could it be to see and take care of each other? Maybe I’m learning how.
Faith Step: Try it yourself with the people God brings into your life. Hear what they’re saying. Ask questions. Give up the need to make your own point. How does this feel? What do you see.