I used to think that if I trusted the Lord enough with my heart, I could withstand whatever came my way. And when I say withstand, I really mean “with ease”. I would not be as buffeted by the waves and the wind, I could still swim and not drown in a sea that was trying to consume me. I still believe this deep down but experience has taught me to approach life a little differently. Time spent with Jesus and time spent with others have shown me…steadily swimming, stepping, and standing looks like something. In fact, it looks like someone. I have a very big part in HOW I withstand.
I sat a couple of weeks ago in a circle of ladies, in a women’s group that I started over seven years ago, as we shared openly. We have cultivated an atmosphere of honesty, trust, and faithfulness and there I sat that particular morning, being partial and half in all of these things. Why? I was afraid to show up honest, being completely raw and naked in a space that I helped create to be just that. Why was I struggling with this?
My “used to” way of thinking has come from experiences where I bared my soul and cracked myself wide open, not FOR them but FOR me, and found that not everyone is safe to do that with. Some have gossiped or shared or poked fun. Some have genuinely cared but had not the maturity and/or the knowledge to know what to do with it, to do with ME, and they mishandled my heart in ways that wound. NOT intentional I know.
IS the person of Jesus enough in these places? Yes. Does He reach His hand into the water when I’m drowning? Yes. Does He walk me through and grow me regardless? Will He restore and heal? Yes. Does He love them just as much as He does me and care about their process just as much as He does mine? Well, yes.
I CAN trust Him that much.
But I no longer think my heart, and the contents of it, should be so casually or flippantly laid bare.
I’ve sat with the Lord a great deal since that morning and asked Him WHY I’ve come to guard my heart in such a way, as in protect. I realize I feel safer offering my heart in this sort of format, but not so much in that. Why?
Control. And control as I know it is rooted in fear.
If I open up and share my heart HERE…in a blog or some post and it goes out to the world then I’ve beat you all to the punch. There’s little to no intimacy required on my end even though I’ve given the appearance of depth…of being open and honest. I type, I click and I share. What you do with it then is really up to you, but I can step out of the picture and tarry on with my day. However, when I sit face to face and our eyes make contact I find myself in a place of intimacy and connection and the waters rise…there is nowhere to run. No where to tarry on to.
Sometimes I don’t know what to do there. It is harder to recover when things in THAT space become misaligned. Impossible, no. Harder, yes.
This knowledge is a double-edged sword right now in my mind and heart. I believe strongly in being open and honest. Open where you show up fully you, uninhibited and honest where you present your heart like an offering. I believe that when you do, His love is strong and wide enough to cover all sins…even sins against your gift of vulnerability…even YOUR sins. Sins like expectations that set others up for failure and you up for disappointment when responses are different than anticipated.
BUT (here’s the other end of the sword) I also believe not every person is at a place in his or her life where they are to walk with you and your truth. Not everyone’s response is safe. Your boat should not rest in everyone’s harbor.
Sometimes I wonder outside of how I FEEL, what I truly believe in my core.
So I’ll end with this: I’m going to keep swimming, stepping and standing with Jesus. I’ll keep trying to show up ME, as open and as honest as I can in that moment, I won’t try to BE somewhere I am not. I’ll keep trusting that my heart is focused on the Lord and that through Him and His love, I’ll be shown how to best live this life through the lens of Love.
If there is a harbor, I want to abide in it regardless of wether I feel it is safe. His love capsizes me with grace to know He is with me in it and I just know if I keep choosing to show up, eventually I will.