I slip into a chair mid-row, alone, breathless from a morning of nonstop running. Mike is busy "putting out fires," as volunteer leads frequently must; he'll try to catch the next service. I curl fingers around paper cup. Coffee's getting cold.
Pastor Mark is talking about Jesus' close friends, Peter and Judas. They both betrayed Him. He loved them anyway. He opened His heart to Peter, Peter who denied he know Jesus in His darkest hour, Peter who left Him, Peter who abandoned and betrayed Him at His weakest. Jesus still gave His trust to Peter, He still extended vulnerability to Peter, even after Peter disowned Him. Even after so much broken trust, He was vulnerable with Peter. He entrusted to Peter the shepherding of His church.
Jesus didn't let past betrayal and abandonment define His relationships.
Heart heaves in chest.
This, this ugly pain, I know it well. I never thought I'd be one scarred by broken relationships. Yet I am. Yesterday in Redemption Group I cried in front of perfect strangers, that embarrassing sob-cry that catches in the throat and makes words come out askew, talking about how this fear that chokes my life. This fear of being vulnerable. This desperate attempt to be invulnerable and free of needs, because to need--to be imperfect--is to open yourself to assistance from others, others who may hurt you where you are most vulnerable.
Jesus doesn't just know. He faces the choice to be vulnerable and does Yes. He opens His heart to weak and flawed and sin-drenched people. Every time, He says Yes.
I finger rim of cup. I don't usually say Yes. And yet I loathe the prison of isolation and false perfection that No builds, the strangling hold that sucks away breath and leaves me gasping alone.
Two days later, our pastor's wife shares a link to Ann Voskamp's words here, and I hear Him again, wooing me soft toward the freedom of Yes. Three days, three nudges, three invitations to dwell with Him in a place of trust.
Part of that is here. Even this, the writing and selecting "publish post," it is hard for she who wants to present a flawless and competent facade of self-sufficiency. I wrestle to reveal my true self, and it's easier to do so through the impersonal computer screen that face-to-face with people whose reactions I cannot control.
I am walking down a road I've long avoided. I say this not to be prideful, but to humbly acknowledge the fears and attempts to control that have shaped me and to say No more! I can begin here. I can begin to crack open the doors of my heart and say, Welcome, friend. You are welcome here, in my little patch of cyberspace. I am so glad you are here. Thank you for walking with me. My steps are wobbly, and I'm not sure where this road will take us, but welcome.