I’m reading two life changing pieces right now. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown and Conversation Peace by Mary Kassian. Both are revealing some deep aspects of myself that I haven’t been wanting to see.
Daring Greatly highlights the high value in being open, vulnerable, exposed…in showing up and letting others see you in the midst of your weaknesses. That doesn’t mean telling your lifestory to perfect strangers or knowingly trusting your hurts to those who cannot or will not protect that information and you. It does mean taking an enormous gulp of air, swallowing your pride, and acknowledging that you are worthy and therefore your words are, your actions are, and your life is.
Conversation Peace revolves completely around how we use our words and direct our tongues to communicate with others. Are we open and honest? Are we letting others see what we really mean? Are we hyper defensive, on the attack, on the prowl to put others in their place in our conversations? Do we approach each other in humility and love? Our words show the world of people around us what is in our hearts. The Lord has many tools and much direction for us on how to deal with our words–it is up to us to take Him up on that guidance.
In the larger context of our lives we have this idea that vulnerability is weak and openheartedness is dangerous. I know this personally because the more I read and practice vulnerability, the more apparent it is to me how “unvulnerable” I’ve been. Being vulnerable is one of the most uncomfortable feelings on the face of the earth BUT the end of it is that we are drawn closer to others, we see others’ needs more clearly–they see us better too. Openheartedness is dangerous because it opens the possibility and very real likelihood of rejection and misunderstanding. How many times have you started to be open with someone only to experience being downplayed, written off, or belittled? What about the times the real you ventures into the open and others look at you with quizzical faces and twisted eyebrows? But the positive gains from being openhearted are overwhelmingly wonderful. Real friendships. Stability. Knowing where you stand and that it’s not going to slip from under you. The Lord provides a foundation for all of our relationships through a direct, honest and completely accepting relationship with Him to start.
Honestly, today’s lesson from Conversation Peace tore me to shreds. Not that I lost my face in tears or anything like that (although I recognize that that’s okay if I had!!) but the lesson was the perfect convergence of everything I’ve been reading and learning from Daring Greatly and what I’ve been learning and reading about my words from Scripture. I’ve always considered that I’m a wonderful friend and person (and I am don’t worry, no self-beating here lol) and I’ve known that I have a lively and delightful relationship with words on paper.
When it comes to verbal conversations however, I am a mess. Never have I acknowledged that my desire to protect others from hurt and my desire to paint a glowing picture of the world for everyone has had any guile or “bait” within it. The honest truth of why I hedge what I say is because I fear being rejected if that element of truth sparks anger or disagreement or argument. I want my opinion to land on soft ground, not hard. I cringe at the hard face of a person who is staunchly against something I say—because doesn’t that mean they are then staunchly against me?
It’s not about me though. Boom. The game changer. I spend enormous amounts of time and energy in mustering up the right words, in fumbling around with the way to say something and hoping for my words to land in the right place. Yet I do this without my captain or manual like a skydiver taking that jump without a parachute, a plan, or training. How could that person expect herself to land somewhere safe and safely? Yet I do.
The shreds of me that remain from today’s till are stronger for sure. I acknowledge that being honest is far more challenging than I ever dared to realize before. Pretending, misleading, exaggerating, downplaying…all of these are forms of dishonesty. The game changer, however, is that I don’t have to rely on myself to
1) Come up with to say
2) Determine who should hear it and when
Yes, I play an active role in that I am the one talking and I am the one choosing who to speak with, but the LORD will guide me if I allow Him to. Such a simple principle, but with overwhelming heaps of impact.
I choose honesty. I choose peace. I choose to be intentional and careful about being truthful. I am not responsible for everyone’s reactions–I am responsible for my actions. Game changer.
Honestly, laying tracks for real relationships has never been harder. Yet it’s never been more rewarding.