A safe place

March 18, 2012 at 9:24 pm 1 comment

“I want to create a space where we can be safe, and have good conversations and talk about what’s really going on,” my roommate told me last week. “So is it okay if we have girls from our Christian group come over this Sunday?”

Is it okay? 

Boy, am I proud of her.

I think of Heather’s words, when she was talking about a friend whose marriage was struggling mightily – but no one in church knew, because they could pretend to be happy and fine for those two hours. “Why?” Heather writes. “Why do we keep up the masks in the one place where we should feel the safest?”

Why, indeed.

It’s because somewhere, in the place where we were supposed to celebrate our brokenness and Christ’s healing, our weakness and His strength, welcoming everyone because we’re all equal at the foot of the cross – we stopped trusting, in God and grace and each other. We grew scared. We thought Christians were supposed to have our lives together. Or people, in general, are supposed to have their lives together. And we don’t.

Revealing your messiness to another leaves the door open for them to wound you in a place that already hurts.

And when no one takes down the mask – we think we’re the only ones struggling. And so we don’t dare to show our souls, either.

I see it in my life. I’m afraid that you’ll see that I’m not as competent as I pretend, that I’m not as godly as I may appear to be, that I’m really just a lost little kid who found herself in an (almost) grown-up world and really doesn’t belong. (Then what? You’ll kick me out? I think we’re all still hiding under the bed covers here – or going above and beyond to prove that we belong, because we still have this nagging fear that we don’t.)

I know I’ve written before about the gift of vulnerability, because it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot over the past few years. It’s risky to be vulnerable, to take off the mask and share your heart and your real human-ness.

And I love it and I hate it.

Quite frankly, I hate being human. My mentor Mel and I laugh about this all the time. “I’m just no good at being human!” I complain. “I hate having limits. I hate being broken. I hate it!”

And I don’t like others seeing me broken. I still have to fight with me about this – to wear the mask or not wear the mask. (Which is a silly question, because I think everyone else can see straight through it anyway.)

But I love it, because this is where community and soul-touching friendships are formed. When we can hold hands and walk beside each other on this journey, encouraging and pulling and touching those wounds and fears with grace. Giving hugs when we’re stuck in the same mud they are, believing that one day we will be free.

Vulnerability leads to freedom.

Those are messy and beautiful words. But the point is: do I live them?

I want to, with all my heart. I want to be a safe place, a girl who offers grace and truth and beauty, not judgement. Because it feeds my soul when you offer the same to me – and we need that in order to live. And a safe place is one of trust and rest and peace. You can be yourself, and you are welcome here, and you are welcome in my life. And I’m allowed to rest and breathe, stop fighting to keep on the mask, and be accepted in your life too.

Which brings me back to my roommate and how terribly proud I am of her for seeing this need and daring to do something about it. We had some girls over tonight and talked about idols, the things (or thoughts/ideals) that drive our every action and the things we turn to first, before God. We talked about comparing ourselves, about needing to be accepted or loved or secure or in control. We talked struggle and desire, not about what it felt like to cross the finish line.

Because we’re not there yet. But by the grace of God, we’re holding hands through the bumpy parts and we’ll make it there some day.


Entry filed under: faith.

Oh, excuse me, June. I thought it was March. The Good Women Project

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. annie  |  March 21, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    amen, amen, AMEN. love this, Megan.


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