Look at me?

shadowsWho do I want you to see when you look at me?

I want you to see someone coping well with life, someone with their stuff together, someone who is good at living life well. I want you to see funny, lovely, wise and wonderful. I want you to see coherent, confident and articulate. I want you to see someone who is a great mum, who knows how to settle her upset child. I want you to see me sailing through life dealing well with whatever the day brings. I don’t want you to see me crying on the floor, I don’t want to you see inarticulate mumblings, half formed thoughts spilling out randomly from my mouth. I don’t want you to see me having no clue as to how to make the baby stop crying, I don’t want you to see me. But I’m not sure why.

Is it the shame? Is it the utter vulnerability of not coping? Is it that I perceive judgement in your eyes (whether it’s there or not)? Is it fear of being exposed? Is it pride? Is it all of these things and more?

I know what I want to see from others, I want to see your mess, your pain, your bad days, your tears, I want to share in these with you, I want to stand with you in the frustration of life, I want to know you vulnerable, warts and all.

So I’m left wondering, do I have what it takes to show you what my life is really like? Will I risk your comparison glances, your relief that your life looks better than mine? Can I invite you in when the floor is a mess, when the dirt is showing, when the sparkle has gone? Can  I really make the first move? Will you be able to cope with what you find?

Can we handle each others reality?

The only way I know how is to come again to the one who really does know me warts and all, who isn’t fooled by the shiny deception, who sees deep under the surface and still declares that I am loved. I come to the one who tells me there is someone of worth here, not because I’m funny, articulate or able to cope with life but because I’ve been knitted together well, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, because I am loved. From that solid ground I am free to be open, to be my messy, un-together self.

That’s the theory anyway. The fight is on between my desire to be seen as a perfect together lady and the reality of being a vulnerable mess who longs to share life with other vulnerable messy people.

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11 Responses to Look at me?

  1. alicebuckley says:

    Gosh, this is brilliant Kath.
    I’ve realised recently that I like ‘honesty’ but only if it’s contained and neat. I’m really scared by other people’s brokeness because it impinges on my life – it means I must gather up my own broken pieces and serve them not just myself. I’m uncomfortable when someone is miserable and doesn’t put a brave face on, I’m scared of people who are hurting because it makes me embarrassed and awkward when I don’t know what to do to help and then I am angry with them for making me feel it!

    It’s not pretty – I’m ashamed of my reactions. But in spite of my difficulty when people are struggling, I prefer to know the brokenness than to be tricked into believing other people are whole.

    I hope this makes some sense!!

    • Kath says:

      Makes a whole lot of sense- especially the feeling awkward and embarrassed at not knowing how to help… I find I can’t handle that in myself or others, so it’s easier to shy away from asking the deeper questions or answering them! Oh we need help so much eh! Good to know the disciples failed on this score as well- just reading Gethsemane again and imagining the embarrassment they felt on seeing Jesus at his most vulnerable and realising they’d fallen asleep on him, or Peter as he wept at denying his friend and Lord. We need so much grace with each other to understand and keep trying to share our vulnerability with each other…

  2. Tanya Marlow says:

    Hurrah for messy and vulnerable! Love you.

  3. heloisehearn says:

    I think people accept honesty but somehow at the same time expect you to be positive about life. So it’s o.k. to say that something is difficult as long as you follow it up with ‘but I’m really enjoying the challenge’! I think I feel I am failing if I can’t find something positive to say or just don’t feel positive. I can’t say I consider trials ‘pure joy’!
    Meanwhile, is the person who is able to be vulnerable about their brokenness actually more whole than the person who covers it up and pretends?!

    • Kath says:

      Yeah, it feels like there is a giant loud silence if you just say life is crap right now rather than tagging on the end of that a nice cheery, ‘but God’s in charge, tra la la’…. guess we need to get better at admitting life is crap and better at sharing in that with each other rather than trying to fix it! And a loud yes to your last point!

  4. Fiona says:

    I’ll join you, Bongo! I’m learning that the more we are open and vulnerable, the more other people are encouraged into doing so. So thank you for opening up your heart and being honest. Sending love and solidarity to you, Tanya and Alice (hello to you both up there!) 🙂 xxx

    • Kath says:

      Aw thanks Fiona… Totally agree on the being vulnerable ourselves encourages others- had a post natal group like that the other day, as soon as one person admitted to struggling with post natal depression the rest of us found it much easier to admit our struggles with this whole being a mum thing…

  5. Sameer Patel says:

    Thankyou Kath, this one just spoke to me in a big, big way. I’ve been trying to deal with similar thoughts the past couple of weeks. I’m grateful to Roz for directing me to your latest offering… be blessed and feel prayed for!

  6. Lorraine says:

    I have just come here from A New Name (after reading it weeping). It’s a whole new world where people are sharing the stuff I only confuse my husband with. My own experience is that I rarely want to share my mess in the present and only after I’ve begun to understand and clean up can I open the cutains to let others see in. The idol of competence that I hold dearly as a treasured possession prevents me from risking deeper intimacy and I offer to my yearning heart the remembrance of God’s all seeing eye and unconditional acceptance, but she is learning not to stay silent because we’re supposed to be in fellowship together. Jesus prayed that ‘they may all be one, even as He and the Father are one’. I want this, I’m just scared of the cost of destroying my dearest idols.

  7. Pingback: Tuesday | The Long Walk Home

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