Get Real

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Let's leave the masks to Nacho Libre and Spiderman

Let’s leave the masks to Nacho Libre and Spiderman

On my route to Target (love that place!), there’s a giant sky blue billboard for the Better Business Bureau that declares simply, “Start with Trust.”  That’s a great slogan for the BBB, but for almost anything else in life, especially relationships, such a difficult thing to do.  Those three simple words got me thinking about all the things I place my trust in…airplanes, my deep freeze, my hair stylist, my husband, God, and a few sweet friends.  The more I thought about it I realized that I put my trust in objects much more easily than I do people, and sometimes, even God.  With people, the stakes are so much higher, and the potential for hurt so much greater.  If my hair stylist lets me down and I end up with a mullet–it grows out (I would probably cry every day until it does, but it would grow!)  So far, with each of my many trips in an airplane, I’ve arrived at my destination in one piece (although there were a few trips with Air India that I wondered).  And when my deep freeze was on the fritz and I ended up with a bunch of rotten meat, I was bummed out, but we replaced it.  However, when a friend that I’ve trusted breaks that trust–it hurts, and it’s not something that I can easily fix.  But trust is the starting point of any relationship where we can be honest, transparent, and vulnerable; and if we never get to that point in our relationships we risk never experiencing all that God has for us.

Vulnerability, or it’s cousin–authenticity, is something that everyone craves–I know I do.  But craving it and achieving it are two very different things.  In my experience, you have to first give it to receive it, and that’s hard to do.  It’s never easy to lay your heart out in front of another person.  However, nearly every time that I’ve been honest and vulnerable God has used it to help someone else–and often times that person is me.  There’s so much freedom in realizing we don’t have to be perfect, because none of us are!  I think it would be great if we started creating a culture in our circles of influence where people are free to be vulnerable and honest without fear of judgment or rejection, and instead, they would know that as they share their struggles we’ll be there to encourage them and cheer them on on their journey.  We need each other, and we need each other to be real!

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2 thoughts on “Get Real

  1. Jan

    I agree with this commentary so completely, Erica. I recently came to view vulnerability as a ministry when one of my team members (for a ministry I coordinate) spoke to our group of women about fertility issues she and her husband were dealing with and the wonderful promise God made to her. There was not a dry eye in the house, and all over the room, women began opening up about issues and hurts in their own lives. It was an amazing experience…unforgettable. And over and over again, we told our friend who spoke…thank you for leading the way through vulnerability. It’s been my experience at the church we’re now a part of that we truly are allowed to freely express our failings. No one runs away. No one judges. Everyone steps forward to help and SHOW love, rather than just mouthing meaningless platitudes. It’s amazing. This has not, unfortunately, been our experience in the past. I don’t blame the former leadership, however…just the culture of criticism and judgment that has evolved like cancer in “the church” as a whole today. But I see the tide turning. No one is drawn to Jesus through our harsh stares, pointing fingers, petty boycotts, and judgmental words (as if we had no sin or problems of our own; or that our sins/failures were somehow more acceptable than theirs). Instead, they are drawn to authentic compassion, actions that help (not hurt), our prayers, and our genuine love for them. Thank you for talking about this. In my view, when we are vulnerable and real about our struggles, walls tumble down and others want to know about The One who helped us out of a dark pit and into a life of purpose and joy.

    • Jan, you are doing such a great job. I love what’s happening with the ministry you’re leading at Eternity. The community you guys are building is really special, and your authenticity and love–as the leader–is a huge part of that!

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