I'll be the first to admit, I have a bit of a wall...ok a rock hard cement exterior that protects me at all times. Sure, I can throw out vulnerability cards like no ones business. Make you quickly seem at ease, that I too, have felt that awkwardness, insecurity, whatever. It helps hide my real insecurities if we're busy talking about yours.
I can tell a funny "look what I did" story that shows a flaw I deem acceptable and tolerable.
But how much am I really revealing? And how much am I hiding behind my wall?
My wall of perceived relaxation - that anything is fine, roll with the punches, I can handle it attitude. My wall of experiences - this is what worked or didn't work for me, try this, you should do this. My wall of shyness - not exposing myself or even abilities I possess for fear of failure (like did you know I've been a pianist for 20 years? and no, don't ask me to play for you). My wall of kids - telling stories about kids or focusing on the kids to avoid focusing on me.
But every now and then, that wall cracks. Just enough for the waters - tears of vulnerability - to seep through. If I'm lucky, I'm alone when it happens. Once in a while, I'm not. This week was one of those not alone weeks.
I'm at our small group, we meet weekly and yeah we talk about God and we "do" life. Sitting at the coziest dining table you could ever dream of, I'm surrounded by my group - for some reason everyone in attendance is about 20 years my senior. My usual comfort zone folks aren't there. Not that I need comfort in this place. There's something special about this place. You can feel it the minute you walk in the door. I couldn't explain it to you in a thousand words or years - it's just an experience.
We open up with a devotional that one of the group members brought. And I had one of those "goosebumps" moments. We get goosebumps when we get cold, but why do we get them when our soul is stirred? That's the only way I can explain it - my soul is stirred. A beautiful view, an enchanting refrain of music, or an uncanny coincidence, the presence of God - they all do it.
The topic was on this verse in Luke 11:9-10:
So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened.
Last week after the kids were in bed and I had some moments alone (generally the minutes before I fall asleep - I know I'm a horrible "Christian") I prayed. I prayed that I wouldn't spend my life just going through the motions of faith. That faith would be real to me. Specifically, that verse was in my mind. I prayed, I'm seeking, I'm knocking, I'm asking.
The popular statement today, is "give your life to God". Let Him direct you, etc. As a mother, at home, mainly serving the needs of others - I couldn't see how this applied to me. What did I have to give? I've no career to hand over. I've no money. Little time left over after taking care of my family. What's my place?
I asked. I asked in a heart achingly kind of way. And, no there was no burning bush moment with the voice of God or angels answering. No prophetic dreams or spirit stirrings. I simply fell asleep.
So as I sat there at the dining room table and heard this very verse spoken and then His answer in James 4:8-10:
Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Wash your hands you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded (hypocrites). Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before God, and He will lift you up.
Humble. (Insert quiet laughing and regretful smile here) How could I be humble if I can't let anyone see my faults? Or my weaknesses?
The moment hit me, and passed without any comment from me. Silence. My wall forbid it. God had answered my prayer and I sat there and said nothing. We went on. Other topics. Finally, the question was posed - something along the lines of - Why are we able to "get" Elohim (the name for God the creator, the name used throughout Genesis and other books about God's works), but not Jehovah (the name God used for himself whenever he was trying to relationally connect with people)? Or in other words, why do we have trouble having a personal relationship with God?
That was it. I felt like laughing and crying and screaming and... Why do I have trouble with my relationship with God?? WHY?
So I said calmly - I think we try to do the "right things" - read from our daily bible reading plan (check), pray for the "needs" in our lives (check), worship (check) - but is any of that really connecting to Him??
And then I cry. I freakin sob. And I can't...stop...it. I feel like a complete idiot with my wall down and I cry. Everyone is staring at me and I cry. I don't even know WHY exactly I'm crying. But there I am, crying.
I'm crying for my humanness (or less PC term, sinfulness). I'm crying because he answered my prayer. I'm crying because I feel worthless. I'm crying because I'm learning that I can't do ANYTHING alone. I'm crying because I've been fighting Him. I'm crying because I can't see Him or be in His presence all...the...time. I'm crying because...I'm crying...and I don't cry.
Ugh, how completely embarrassing. I completely lost my wall. And everyone sitting there, all NINE of them saw me. They saw me how God sees me, and I felt naked. And, I was speechless. I had nothing.
I'm glad they had lots of comforting words or it would have been really awkward - for them of course, it was already awkward for me, you know, sitting there in all my craziness.
So for that brief period of time - 45 minutes tops - I was me. No walls, no faking. Just me, and my soul, crying out to God. Of course, I quickly blame hormones. I am on my period, ya know.