I feel like I start every post like this… but I’m so embarrased at how long it has taken me to write on here. Back in the day, I started this blog for two reasons. The first was to help keep myself accountable with goals that I’d set for myself. I figured if I was writing about them publicly, and people knew about them, it would force me to do them, right? Clearly that isnt the case.  It’s been a while since I’ve started this blog and all the goals that I set are STILL goals that I am working towards to this day… over a year later. What’s that saying again? “Nothing in life worth having comes easily” haha. The road definitely hasnt been easy… and there’s definitely been setbacks along the way, but I guess I’ll find solace knowing that I’m a lot closer to most of them than I probably have been in my entire life.

The second reason I started this blog was to allow myself to be more vulnerable. To quote an earlier blog, I believe I wrote “I wanted to put myself out there more and show people the side of me that I usually keep to my close friends… or most often, just myself”… The problem is, when it came to doing it, I chickened out. For some reason, I thought it would be easy to say what I wanted to say because I was hiding behind a computer screen… but not knowing who could read this made it ten times more intimidating. So now, a year later, I have come to the revelation that maybe that was a bit aggresive… Time for a new plan haha.

Today I was reading through some of my old posts and then decided to go catch up on posts from the blog that inspired me to start blogging, Walking Barefoot. One of the reasons I love that blog is because she is always so open, and puts it all out there.. and honestly, I hope that one day that will be me. Anyway, as I was reading (creeping), I came across one of her blogs talking about bearing witness. She was talking about how her friends are going through a rough time and how her family has been able to be there for them. Here is an excerpt from her blog:

“My friends bare themselves, and now we can bear with them.  Now we bear together.  

And life gets just a little easier.  

But to bear with each other, we have to bare with each other. Which is really scary, and exposing.

It’s terrifying, if you get right down to it. 

You’d much rather cry in your closet and then go reapply your makeup before facing the world.  It would be much safer not to talk about it, and if it comes up, just duck and cover, duck and cover.

But then, miracle of miracles, you find that instead of ducking and covering, you stood still and told someone. You let them see your tears. You let them in. And instead of laughing at you, or offering you a Kleenex and walking away to go get someone who is much more experienced at helplessness and pain and wracking sobs, they stayed. They actually felt really special to be part of the inner sanctum of the three other people on earth who have seen you without makeup.  

They bore up with you.  

It’s the closest thing to heaven this side of heaven.”

As I read that, tears just started rolling down my face.

Had I read that even a few months ago, I dont think it would have had any effect on me. A few months ago, I dont think I could’ve understood what “bearing witness” meant or comprehended its impact. A few months ago I didnt know what it felt like to be that open with people… to tell them the things that are REALLY going on in your life – the things you keep under the mask. A few months ago I didnt know what it felt like to tell people about your “messiness” and have them love you even more in spite of it.

But now I do.

Over the last few months, I have been a part of a few mentoring groups/small groups that have really started to stretch me in this area of my life. Most recently, I was at a small group (or should I say “team” or “household”? haha) that I just joined. It was our first time meeting so we were going over norms, expectations, goals, etc. and one of the common themes that kept coming out was that we all really want to do LIFE together… that this group would be more than just a group that shares at the surface level but that really feels comfortable diving in, sharing the good, bad and the ugly, and lifiting each other up. When we started mentioning all these things my first reaction was excitement because that is something I’ve craved for a while. I want genuine, intentional, authentic realtionships. I want people who hold me accountable in my faith. I want to meet people in Richmond to “do life with”. Who wouldnt? But then fear started to settle in. The word “testimony” got brought up and I started to sweat. I’m already not good about asking for help and it’s even scarier being vulnerable and  telling people about the good, the bad and the ugly.

As the night wrapped and we were going over prayer requests, I asked the group to pray that I would have the courage to not hold back. I then, very briefly, shared a few struggles that I’m facing in some close relationships and some internal battles that I’m fighting. Honestly, it was somewhat vague but that was as much as I felt comfortable saying at the time. Since that night, one week ago, I have received numerous calls, texts, facebook messages, etc. from people checking in on me, offering words of encouragement, letting me know they’re thinking about me. It is so humbling. I honestly dont think i’ve cried this much in a while haha. But its not a sad cry. It’s more of a “shocked/surprised” one. That people would really think about my problems during their day… and really pray about them… and honestly want to know if they’re getting better… even after only knowing me for such a short period of time. 

It really is the closest thing to heaven, this side of heaven.

So thats my new plan: To let go of the fear. To learn to let go of shame. To learn that its okay to let my small group in and to show them how much I really dont have it together. I know it’s going to be hard. I know I’m nowhere close to where I hope to be… But I am confident that there is power in the name of Jesus and that He can break every chain.

And I’m excited to tell you about it someday… when I get the courage.