Nothing makes me lonelier than pasting on a smile and acting like everything’s fine when I’m falling apart. Of course, nothing’s worse than running into someone, asking how they are and twenty minutes later wondering what happened as they throw up drama all over you. (wish I wore a raincoat) So what are we to do?
I deeply desire authentic connection and doing life with people I can be real with. People who see the good, the bad, the ugly and love me anyway. I want that. The only way to get it is to open up and be vulnerable – which doesn’t always go well. I think that’s why so many of us suck it up and say the word “fine” when even good friends ask us how we are.
• We’ve been judged.
• We’ve been gossiped about.
• We’ve gotten the look that makes us instantly regret sharing.
• We’ve shared more than we intended and worry it will be repeated or worse get back to the person we’re in difficulty with.
We swear to ourselves we will never again open up like that. We will be quiet. We will be fine.Some of the loneliest places for me have been in Christian circles - sorry but it's true. Click To Tweet
It seems like everyone has it together or knows the answer (whatever that means) and even have sayings I guess are supposed to eliminate problems for those brave enough to suggest them. Things like, “you just have to trust God” and “I’ll pray for you.” Okay…..thanks, I think. Band-aids over bullet holes is the phrase that comes to mind.
Don’t get me wrong, I want you to pray for me and I probably need to trust God. But what I really need is for you to enter my pain with me. Without solutions. Without sayings. Without an answer. I need you to hold my hand, give me a hug, tell me you’re sorry for what I’m going through. Genuinely ask about my situation and care about me.
“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. ‘Where have you laid him?’ He asked. ‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied. Jesus wept.” John 11:33-35 NIV
Jesus gets it. When His dear friend Lazarus died and Jesus arrived at his sister’s home, He didn’t offer platitudes. Jesus knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead, yet instead of band-aiding, He joined Mary in her pain.
Dr. Henry Cloud, in his book, “Changes that Heal” says: “If the true self is hiding, the false self takes over. The false self is the self that is conformed to this world. The false self is the self we present to others, the false front, if you will, that we put up for others to see. He goes on to say, “As long as the lying, false self is the one relating to God, others and ourselves, then grace and truth cannot heal us.”
I’m so thankful for those who genuinely love and care for me. Those who want to hear my stuff and won’t wrinkle their nose at the smell of my garbage. I also appreciate people willing to take a chance, be real and share their stuff. I don’t want to waste time going through the motions with surfacy, fake, blah blah blah. Opening up and being real often feels uncomfortable, even unsafe. Yet, if we wisely open up in appropriate settings (not while waiting in line at the grocery store) with reasonably healthy people, we’ll receive the greatest gift of all – real relationship, true connection and genuine love.
Is opening up with people worth the risk?