Over the last couple months, I have made an extra effort to get out, be around people, and “push into the pain,” as I’ve heard it described. But there are times I feel as though some people do not have room for my unyielding grief. So I protect myself behind a façade of strength. On those occasions, I feel like I should be wearing a button that says, “I am may seem strong, but I am weak, wounded, and hurting.”
Truth be told, I bet most people could be wearing buttons that describe what’s truly going on in their soul versus that which can be perceived on the outer surface. I imagine some buttons might read:
“I may seem to have it all together, but my soul is in turmoil,” or
“I might look like I have a lot of friends, but I am very lonely,” or
“You may think I’m attractive, but I am extremely insecure.”
The list could probably go on and on.
What impact would wearing buttons like this have on our relationships?
Would we feel greater shame because our button exposes us? Would people use our points of vulnerability to exploit us? Would we experience greater pain?
Would it help us move toward the acceptance for which we all so desperately long? Would we begin to see that we are not alone in our “crap?” Would we have greater compassion for one another?
Aren’t most of us, in fact, desperate to be known and to know others on a deeper level, to experience acceptance in our raw, most vulnerable state. Is this type of authenticity not a springboard for genuine relationship?
My Heavenly Father already knows every one of the many buttons I would be wearing, and yet, as I share my “issues” with Him, He offers total and complete acceptance. He loves me in my “crap,” offers me freedom to emote, listens to my every woe, and forgives me of all my sin; I continue to find my weaknesses to be an impetus for deeper intimacy in our relationship. I have complete freedom to be myself with Him.
Our Christian communities would be busting at the seams if people were offered the same kind of acceptance that the Lord offers us-a place where they can wear their buttons without the fear of rejection, shame, or exploitation. Because Christians have been fully received by God in our worst state, we are called to be communities that fully receive one another, especially in our weaknesses.
I am thankful to have found myself in a community with many people who are genuine, down-to-earth, willing to “wear their buttons” around me and even let me where mine-oh how refreshing it is!