Friday, June 12, 2009

Breaking Through the Wall

How do I come across? Differently in person than through writing (if you know me in RL)? Either way, what's the consensus - I'm interested. What does an objective eye see?

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' 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.


TamraGirl said...

This really touched me. "My soul is stirred..". Beautiful.
And I smiled when I read, "I don't even know WHY exactly I'm crying." I think we all know what you mean! :)

Amanda H. said...

I have been trying to figure out for days what to say about this...probably because most of it hits too close to home.

I think I have walls based on my view of the kind of relationship I have with people and God. Like..."don't ask me to open up to you and share my weaknesses if we have no sense of relationship." I tend to think I will share more with those that have some kind of vested interest. But even then I think there are walls because I don't want someone to get too close and find out the nitty gritty of what hurts or what I struggle with. And there is also a sense of pride that I can fix things on my own and don't need anyone else's help or input.

I think this becomes an issue then because I don't have a desire to be fake and put on a front on the outside, but at the same time I don't want to bare my soul to just anyone because of lack of trust...I can see how this relates to God as well in that I don't want to admit things even to Him because I might be struggling with trusting Him in all things... got me thinking...thanks for being real and sorry for rambling on.

Just Me said...

You've no idea how hard it was to leave my "crazy" post up, haha. Or not immediately hide it with a new post of funny pics or my shopping list, HA!

That's as real as it gets (I hope), and after I wrote it I kind of thought - "ah crap. I bet everyone's reading this thinking...uh, that was nuts, I think I'll go read a cooking blog now..."


I swear I'm less vulnerable today - period is over! Back to my normal rantings. Although, it does feel good to let it all hang out now and again.

Shelley said...

Your comment is my complete and utter present moment. "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."

Why life has to be so stinkin' crazy sometimes is beyond me. What happened to the carefree, fun and cheerful...nah...joyful times? I read that it is to mature us in the fullness of our faith, but it's getting wearysome to "be the face" or "represent well"... I digress. A name I learned and lean on is Jehovah Raphe...The Lord Who Heals. That he would heal our hearts, minds, our very souls and open us up to Himself.

I'm glad He answered your prayer. I'm glad you posted this. I'm glad you have a group that knows you THAT much better now! ha!