The Gift of Owning Your Story

Thomas Blevins

When who you are is who we really need

“To love is to be vulnerable.” – C.S. Lewis

You can find places to buy a card and some chocolate. You can go online and send your special someone fresh-cut roses in a mason jar. You’ve probably done such things at least once. But what if the most meaningful gift you could give today is your vulnerability?

Most of us live our everyday lives in fear that if we don’t cover up our insecurities and inadequacies, we’ll lose something significant. We create bios that capture the best of us and crop pictures to make us look appealing. We’ve revealed a narrative that we want to be known publicly, yet most of us are still hiding! But what if our greatest fears and flaws could actually bring us closer together?

Maybe you’ve attempted to be honest and fragile, only to have someone betray you or cause you a setback. Life just keeps drop-kicking you, and there’s simply no logic behind being defenseless. So you do what any peacemaking, mature adult would do, and you pull up your bootstraps and begin to ignore your emotions altogether. Maybe you’ve even attempted to find people who love each other well, and you tried a “church,” only to meet people who encourage you to run away from being vulnerable. Now you just set up shop selling a false self to people who will buy it, and you’ve settled with the meager paycheck it provides your soul. But if you’re honest, you’re not satisfied and you’re longing to just belong!

Dirty Counters and Clean Drawers

In our kitchen, we have cream-colored countertops. I’m not really a big fan of them because they’re a beast to keep clean. Our girls love to create experiments on these counters, such as artwork made of Sharpies and Play-Doh, and there was the one time we tried a raspberry Pinterest recipe that we totally nailed. Big thanks to Mr. Clean Magic Erasers for coming into our lives. Our family doesn’t like when our countertops stay dirty, so we make serious efforts to keep them free of clutter. I do have my NutriBullet and French press up there so you’ll at least know I’m trying to be both healthy and a hipster.

There is a bonus to our kitchen – it comes with eight drawers that we can stuff full of all the junk that accumulates on the countertops! So we found a way for our counters to stay pretty spotless, but it became increasingly exhausting to keep it up.

Our counters really weren’t clean; they just looked like it. Our junk was still there; it was just tucked nicely in a drawer that anyone invited into our home could just open to see. And we didn’t want that! The last thing I wanted was to have people over sifting through our kitchen drawers, wondering why I still had Burger King coupons from 2009, so there was a season when we avoided having people over for dinner.

The drawers began to take us away from living fluidly with others, all because of a few messy drawers. Simple embarrassment hindered us from being with those we loved. Finally we decided to gut the drawers of the mess and not keep a single item that we wouldn’t share or use. Our counters still get dirty, and always will, but now we’re no longer hiding junk and running from the risk of someone we love seeing our imperfect kitchen.

Risk Instead of Run

I’ve never really been a fan of running, but sometimes it just makes more sense. When a bear comes at you in the woods, or you find out there’s free food in the break room, you run.

Maybe you’re a marathoner when it comes to avoiding your true self with others, but you can’t outrun relationships. It will only leave you weakened, empty and all alone. And maybe that’s where you finally need to be to cave in to vulnerability.

It’s risky. Sharing who you are, what you’ve done and what’s been done to you is hard, but it’s not worth giving up on love and belonging.

Brené Brown captures this thought by saying, “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

Risk being vulnerable today – you never know how it might reward your soul!

 

Want to find a place where you can belong? Join us at the Connections Training and Team Building on February 18, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. in The Hub. Our Connections Team is looking for warm and inviting people that are passionate about helping everyone that attends a weekend service at Northland feel welcome, known and connected.