Oh the vulnerability!
Goodness - as much as I desire to boldly live out my faith, it feels vulnerable.
I would assume most people desire to be liked and approved of, or maybe it is just me. It is a struggle I’ve had for most of my life and though I try to live my life in a way that honors others, extends grace, apologizes quickly, demonstrates love, and promotes my own weakness in humility – I know very well I am not everyone’s cup of tea. I can know with complete certainty that the God of the Universe deeply loves me and that His love of me should negate any need for approval of man, but my flesh continues to battle the truth. Even admitting my own fleshly weaknesses out loud is bait for judgement or at the very least mockery.
In my attempt to live with weakness displayed and vulnerabilities spoken I have a fear of it being used against me or for it to be a cause of rejection. I know full well I will never measure up to my own expectations of myself, let alone someone else’s; and I know full well that living up to an expectation is never what God intended. He intended deep rest in knowing I am loved fully by Him.
When I write, it is as much for myself as I hope it is an encouragement to someone else. The struggle of putting my whole self on display with the deep desire to bridge the gaps of imperfection, struggle and authenticity is also the platform that threatens mockery, annoyance and misunderstanding.
Then I remember how quickly Jesus signed up to speak truth and live out His true self knowing full well He would not be everyone's cup of tea. He lived with both humility and confidence for the purpose of offering freedom to others, not for the purpose of being liked. Yes, I have a lot to learn. Yes, I have a long way to go in my own growth.
When a friend from years past sends me a private message saying she is encouraged, my fear dissipates, even for a moment in affirmation that my job is obedience, not approval. My job is to stand in confidence that God created me with all my personality, with all my “too much-ness” and with all of my faults. And to be reminded that I will never be everyone’s cup of tea and that is ok because my worth does not come in the form of man’s approval.
What is the truth about you? What character traits do you attempt to soften for fear that it will be too much for someone’s approval? What part of your story does not have glossy edges that you attempt to keep hidden to maintain the façade? What part of you desires for someone to tell you that you are completely accepted and loved just as you are? What part of you desires to feel safe to bring your whole self without fear that those less than beautiful qualities are what makes you uniquely you?
“Do not be afraid, you are PRECIOUS to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” Daniel 10:19
Know with confidence that you are deeply loved and fully accepted, absolutely known and yet desired even more by the One who created you. In that confidence you have the ability to bring your whole self without fear.