Have you ever had one of those days...where the beginning and end seem so different, it seems impossible that they came from the same day? My Sunday started out rough. I confess to skipping a service in church that day (I watched online) because I wasn't feeling myself and needed the extra rest. I responded to a few messages, started getting excited about the day, and then was literally off and running from there on out.
The weekend's events had given me much to think about, and the running always seems to focus me and remind me of what's really important. I knocked out an easy 11 miles and all that time with me, an iPod, and a treadmill really got me relaxed and focused. It gave me time to think about how I was vulnerable, yet fearless. My health makes me vulnerable, but I'd also let my lack of relationships with friends and family and even with Christ at times put me into vulnerable positions. Without this external support, I was vulnerable to doubt, temptation, a number of nasty things. The message this morning at McLean was on dealing with temptation, but it struck a note on me when it mentioned that surrounding yourself with a biblical community of support was a great weapon in healing and avoiding temptation. I'm beginning more and more to see the truth of that.
My next stop (after a quick but very necessary post-run shower) was to McLean Bible Church for my small group leader interview. It was great to be able to connect with a person over there. It was more like pouring my heart out and showing who I was; making myself vulnerable and sharing my history and testimony, but doing so fearlessly. I've found that humbling yourself, making yourself vulnerable, being completely honest with others by being completely honest with yourself, has been life-changing. I've also found that this is how you build or rebuild relationships with one another. "Love must be sincere.". Romans 12:9
Short version, the interview went well and I'll leave the details and action items to another post. Baahh action items.. you can tell I've lived in DC too long.
Afterwards, I decided on half a whim to deliver a small gift to some friends I had lost touch with over the past few years. One of them - thankfully! - was home, and I was able to catch up this evening. What I really loved was that our conversation was so God-centered. It had been far too long since we had been able to have such deep discussions about our faith and future and trials and hope. Mostly because we had let other things get in the way (at least I know I had let other priorities and hurts sneak in and sabotage my relationships).
By Monday, it had really struck me what it meant to be honest with myself. I had been honest with myself Sunday, when I realized there were things left undone with friends. When I honestly looked back at my feelings for what they were, I was able to recognize the divisions with these relationships for what they were, and attempt to repair them. "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law." - Romans 13:8. If I am honest with myself, then there is no room for excuses or justifications for putting off mending these relationships. I would have felt like I was sinning by not addressing something I knew to be wrong. "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone". Romans 12:18
Being so honest with myself has been like turning a light on in a room. Look, the emperor has no clothes! If I can be honest with myself about my own shortcomings, then there's no reason for me to try to hide these from others or even feel ashamed about my shortcomings in front of others. We have all sinned and fallen short. Again, I think by being openly vulnerable, and showing that we have weaknesses, and are human, we can break down the barriers that people tend to naturally put up between one another. Because if we're to get to other people through their barriers, we have to first tear down our own.
When we tear down our barriers, then we can begin to exchange gifts to one another. Encouragement, love, hope, faith..."I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong - that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith." - Romans 1:11-12