When it comes to being open and honest about our lives and about our struggle, there is one thing that comes to mind that keeps people away. Fear. A fear of being known. A fear of being judged. What will the other people think if I am vulnerable enough to open my heart about my struggle? I’ll look weak if I allow myself to be open. Nobody will under understand my struggle and my story. I’m scared to bring it back to the surface. I’ve worked with someone, or at least tried to work with someone over the course of the last year. No how much I urge and reassure there is no condemnation and judgement, the fear remains and this person runs. To this day, remains in stable misery.
There’s something to being known. To laying all of our junk out there on the table. Maybe not vomiting it all at one time, but being open to the point where people know who you are. What I’ve learned with the people I have counseled and ministered to, the openness and vulnerability, leads to something. It leads to trust. It opens the door to a commonality that says, “hey, we’ve both jacked it up and have been wounded to some degree. We’re not perfect, by any means, but can walk together through our struggle.”
One of the things I have pursued to build a round table of men that I trust. Like-hearted kings who are after the same things, living for the glory of God, and has to fight to through crap to get to it. Through all of that crap, we can walk with each other through it. There’s no mask, no figleaf. With my mens discipleship group, I urge each of them to leave the mask at the door.
You see what I am getting at here. If you want to build any kind of trust among our peers, we have to open and vulnerable. We have to be known.
3 weeks ago, we left for our Anvil Men’s Boot Camp. One of the biggest and most freeing things that happens over the course of that week is the time the men spend with their small group of about 4-5 men. Each with the opportunity to share their story in a safe place and giving permission to the other to speak into their story and even, if necessary, to call BS if needed. Hearing the feedback of men that this was the most freeing part of their experience in getting to truly know other men is huge. It allows them to see, if they never have before, that being open and vulnerable to others they can trust brings a greater freedom and removes the weight that they don’t have to hide themselves.
Each Boot Camp, God reveals some theme to us and this time, transparency became the theme for the weekend.
I’ve read snipets Brené Brown and she has come up in conversations recently. I was watching a talk she gave this morning and she said something that was very profound…
“Faith minus vulnerability and mystery, is extremism. If you’ve got all the answers and there’s nothing, there’s no vulnerability, that’s awesome….but don’t call it faith, period….How can I connect with you, if I can’t see you. How can I lead you, if you don’t know me. I don’t wanna be led by anyone perfect, because I don’t see in your eyes…my story and my struggle. I need you to show up.”
Read that again, and soak it in.
I’m thankful for the church body my family and I get to be a part of. We have leadership that is absolutely open about themselves, who they are, where they’ve struggled and jacked it up and this openness carries to those that are a part of our family. As Brené Brown said, “How can I lead you, if you don’t know me.”
This is something I carry as well. I used to be very closed off about myself and people laugh, that didn’t know me before, when I say I am naturally introverted. I guess that’s how I operated in my false self where my predominent style of relating was to move away from people. I didn’t want to be known. Now, I’ve come to realize that transparency is critical. Being known is crucial to effectively lead and minster to people. I look at Paul. If you read through the epistles, you see a man who is very open about where he had been and how much he struggled with where he had been before encountering Christ.
If you’ve never allowed yourself to be known, you have to ask yourself why. Why do I not want to let anyone in? We’ve all been through the ringer in some way. Every man and woman has been wounded. Everyone of us have lived a life with sin. As Proverbs 14:4 says, “No cattle, no crops…” The journey to become good soil requires us to plow through a lot of shit in our lives. That being said, we can’t make that journey and be freed up if we never allow ourselves to be known and let that stuff come surface.
So I will close with this. What a great feeling it is to be known. To live a life knowing I don’t have to where a mask. In reference to John Lynch and his book, “The Cure,” I don’t need to stay in the room of good intentions where I am just trying to get along. I can be in the room of grace knowing who I am in Christ Jesus. He knows us more than anyone in this world ever will, including our spouses and closest friends. Yet in spite of all of that, we are loved just the same through all of that. He knows us without condemnation or judgement, so why should we worry about condemnation or judgement from anyone else.
To be known brings with it a greater freedom…
“We’re only as sick as our secrets”