For the last 10 years I was a pastor at large churches. Churches that do amazing things in people's lives, their communities, and around the world. These churches create environments where people's lives are made whole. The problem is mine was broken. My brokenness comes from a lot of places. I grew up in broken homes. My mom left when I was 6 months old. I could go on and on but we all have a story don't we? I learned quickly that love was earned and so I began to pursue ways to receive that approval. Combine that with the sin nature that lives in all of us and it was a recipe for a life filled with brokenness. I am ashamed to admit this to you but it's real. A couple of years ago I began to try and pull back some of the layers to the things I didn't like about who I was. I started taking an inventory of my life and listened to what people were saying about me. I quickly realized that how I felt on the inside was not matching what was happening on the outside. You see on the inside I felt scared, insecure, that no one likes me, fat (this was while I was working out 5 times a week for over an hour a day), boring, unsuccessful, and the list goes on. But on the outside I acted like Chris Hemsworth, you know the blonde dude that plays Thor?!? True story...... Joanne and I just celebrated 10 years of marriage and one part of our marriage I desperately love is our date nights. We try to keep those consistent to at least 1-2 a month. One night we went to see the new Thor movie of which she was not excited about until the opening scene where Chris Hemsworth basically comes on camera with flowing blond hair, huge muscles, etc and all I hear is Joanne go "ohhhhh". Now its her favorite movie😂😂😂. But I digress..... So on the outside I was projecting myself as this confident, strong, talented, put together, success of a person that has everything to offer you. It was all a front. It was all built to try and make you like me. You see I didn't really like me. I didn't believe God liked me. And I believed that if you really knew me you wouldn't like me either.
So I performed.
A few months ago I finally had enough and checked myself into a program called Living Centered at a place called Onsite. I learned about it from reading Donald Millers book scary close. Without going into too much detail, let me just say that I experienced more life transformation in one week than I had in years. It is truly a special place. That week I learned about one of the most strategic keys to building a deeper spiritual life and healthy relationships - vulnerability. To be truly seen by others. To open myself up and let you in to the not so good parts about me. Waking up everyday and loving Joanne without the assurance that she will love me back is vulnerability. To put our art, our writing, our photography, our ideas out into the world with no assurance of acceptance or appreciation—that’s also vulnerability. I just left the comfort of a paycheck and 10 years job history to fill the page of this blog with how screwed up I am. I'm afraid. Afraid of a lot of things.
So now the good news..... I know Jesus and He knows me. My journey has not been perfect but I can say that since I gave my life to Jesus in 1994 I have been crazy in love with Him. Crazy in love that in all my mistakes I always returned to Him. Crazy in love that in constant chaos He proved to be the stillness. Crazy in love that while being tossed by the sea He proved Himself faithful to be my anchor. 1 John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." I am learning. He is not punishing me. He is perfecting me.
I am only beginning this journey so I cannot speak with confidence on the outcome, but I can say that I am starting to realize that it is in the moments of being vulnerable, being seen, that we truly experience authentic community with God and with one another. My prayer is to allow myself to be fully seen. The good and the bad. I believe God is more interested in who we are becoming than what we are doing.