It is strange spilling a part of one’s life before a bunch of people who, in many respects, could probably care less. I guess the reason why it was important for me to share those parts of my life lies in knowing who I am and learning to be okay with who I am. That is difficult for me to do. As I have said before, it is a lot easier to portray a character of someone else than allow someone to see who you really are. Actually, now that I am spilling my crap before other to see, I have to change that last statement: It is a lot easier to be who you really are than to strive to hide yourself from others.
I used to do a lot of acting when I was younger. I was in a couple of musicals in high school and even did a show or two at a local theater. One thing I really enjoyed about acting was having the ability to be someone else; I had the freedom to be a different person from a different era who had a whole set of different problems he had to face. Being someone else allowed for a release of reality. I guess sometimes, we can be really good actors.
During our group study tonight, someone shared from his journal a statement I have been ruminating over since it was shared. The statement basically says, “You don’t have to prove your worth.” Can that really be true? Are we free from the stress and worry from proving our worth to other people? Do we really not need to strive in order that others see us in a picture-perfect painting we have painted for ourselves or can we really allow people to see the beautiful mess that surrounds our personal/private lives? For me, like most of us, I would rather show my best qualities rather than dispel my worst downfalls. I am sure I am not alone in that either. Man. This is getting personal.
As we continued our discussion, someone read from a book called Messy Spirituality by Mike someone or another. In one of the chapters (and I am paraphrasing), Mike is hanging out with a woman he considers a spiritual. He then basically tells her that she is probably the greatest woman he knows because she is so spiritual. It is her response that gets me the most: Mike. Don’t say that. You don’t know me. Stop comparing what you know about yourself with what you think you know about me. Mike’s problem was that he only knew the good things about the woman. He did not know her private life and the crap that surrounds her life. I think I am most guilty of doing that more often than I would honestly like to admit.
I think with “spiritual” people I do that the most; people I look up to are the first that come to mind. The reason I look up to them is because I see their life dimly through a leans that only allows me to visualize them as spiritual people. It is like that commercial for Purell hand washing solution. The camera spans a dirty bathroom but when the person sees the bathroom through the bottle of this hand washing solution, the bathroom is clean and germ-free. I guess our perceptions of those we look up to the most are seen in the same light at times.
When we lift people higher than ourselves (or anyone else for that matter), the harder they are going to fall when, inevitably, they are going to fail. Perhaps they are going to fail us or fail themselves. We almost catch ourselves saying, “I can’t believe he/she did that. How could they?” The truth is, when it comes to our “messed up children of God status,” we are all on level playing ground. For me, that is both freeing and scary. It is freeing because I no longer need to feel like I have to make myself out to be this “really spiritual guy” and it is scary because it means that I need to be honest with who I am – a messed up child of God. It also means that I need to entrust my shortcomings, failures, sin, and dirty rags with those in my community. This is the end goal for me.
As I continue to process my “messed up child of God” status, I know there are steps I need to take. I know that I need to be more naked, more transparent with others. I hope, in some way, these posts are helping with that. I am still growing, and still shoveling my crap from the years and years of past failures and sins. What seems almost absurd is that God wants us to shovel our crap and lay it at the foot of the cross for Him to handle. Why on earth would Jesus want to help me with my own crap? Why would He want to help me sort through the dirty stuff? I really do not have any answer for this. All I know is that we serve an amazing God who so desperately desires to be in relationship with us; who desires to dwell among us and be with us. We should never feel bad about allowing God to help us with our crap. He knows our heart and ultimately knows how much we loathe this task. His love is so much greater than the amount of crap that lies around us. In Him, we are made new. This is one of the most important promises I so desperately I rest in.
So. Where do I go from here? I guess I need to trust in God and continually be transparent with my community. I also need to encourage others to come along this journey with me. I know I can’t do this alone. And, as my friend wrote in his journal: I need to remember that I don’t need to prove worth. My worth is found n Christ. And, despite the crap I am shoveling, He truly loves me and has placed me in a community of people who love me and love Him. I am so blessed.