Jon and I have been sort of “church shopping” since we came home from Alabama, trying to find a church to call home. One of the first churches we checked out was Ada Bible Church. The message was all about baggage. (And Lord knows we all have plenty of it.) We all have things that we try to shove super far down into our backpack in an attempt to never talk about it or think about it. Pretty soon, that bag is packed to the brim and ripping at the seams and is impossible to carry.
How does this happen?
A month or so ago I had the chance to sit down and catch up with a friend of mine that I’ve known for years and years. Have you guys ever been to Hall Street Bakery? You have to go… super cute little bakery in an unassuming part of town. I had no idea it was there – and I know I’ll definitely be back.
We settled in to catch up, talking about what each of us have been working on lately and what we’d like to be working on in the future.
I knew coming into the conversation that it was going to be a great one, this gal is working on a book project and wanted to talk through my perspective on certain situations in my life (which made me feel so #adult). It was raw, real and redeeming. Both of us have gone through some stuff in this lifetime and we talked about the intricacies of those situations and what they meant to our lives. I have some baggage, people. That segued into the day to day things in our lives that have helped or hurt us…thoughts and struggles that we have that we’ve both probably withheld from a lot of people.
At the end of sort of just laying everything out there and realizing we felt the same feels and desired some of the same things in our lives – we looked at each other, laughed, and were like, “What the hek is happening – you feel this way too!??!”
Allow me to explain.
I think at the end of our conversation – we both felt better. Or at least I did (which makes me think I maaaay have rambled on for too long). I felt stronger, like a weight had been lifted off my chest. I felt at peace. I felt like someone really saw me for me, and still loved me at the end of it.
I think I can physically count the number of times I’ve had conversations like that. I’m 29. That means in 10,585 days (give or take a few thousand since I don’t think little babes are having life altering conversations…or maybe….??), I’ve had 20 or less of these. Woah.
Why, in our conversations with even some of our closest people (friends/family/mentors) don’t we talk through these things that we push way down into our backpack? How come we hold back so much? Why is it SO DANG HARD to be real with one another? I’m not talking like things such as “I was so mad today when they ran out of hazelnut coffee at Panera…AGAIN.”
I’m talking the things like, “I feel inadequate when,” or,”I feel like everyone around me is living this perfect life and I’m drowning/barely making it,” or, “My wife and I are really struggling right now.”
Why can’t we talk about such things?
I mean, the answer seems obvious, right?
“I trust this person (I think)… but how do I know they’re being sincere and won’t go tell someone else and then silently talk about me behind my back?”
“What if they judge me or look at me differently after this?”
“They won’t understand.”
“This is my own problem… I don’t want to look like I’m complaining…no one wants to hear about this.”
Any of that sound familiar?
No, no, no. Guys, I’m not saying that you should tell every person you see every single detail/trouble/struggle about your life. I’m saying that you HAVE to have those couple of people in your life who you can be REAL with…even when the details aren’t pretty. The people who will love on you instead of judge you, who will hold your hand and say, “me too.” Those people who will just sit and listen and check in with you and be your friend when you feel like a disaster, unlovable, and ashamed.
Your tribe. The ones you can do (real) life with.
That chilly day in Hall Street Bakery, I felt like my friend really saw me. My struggles, my fears, my past shame and my dreams, but I felt safe and loved and related to. I know for a fact that we both walked away that day with a growing love and respect for each other. And it was a pretty darn awesome feeling.
One of our deepest desires is to be seen and heard and loved for who we are (despite our imperfections). But if we aren’t being seen and heard for what is really in our hearts and on our hearts, then this desire and hole can’t be filled and our relationships with those we love will struggle to grow.
Peel back those layers. Have the tough conversations, share your heart and trust that your relationships will be better because of it.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”