There’s nothing as scary or risky as getting real. Like jumping off the crazy, busy bus and totally being honest with who you are. I’m not talking about being deep or intense, I’m just talking–getting real. Being who you really are, right there, whether you’re alone or you’re face-to-face with other people.
Being real can feel just plain awkward though. Really. But most people feel that way. Still, you don’t believe that and it drives you inside yourself, doubting yourself, feeling like there might be something wrong with you. But believe me, everyone experiences it. Feeling awkward, that way.
So you play it safe. You hide who you are. So you feel restless and needy. You feel trapped. You don’t like it, but you play it safe and hide anyway. Hiding doesn’t always meaning spending time alone. It’s just as easy to hide in the middle of a lot of people as it is at home, or in your work, or classes, or an addiction. Or in striving. Striving to be different, striving to be perfect. Striving to act like someone who has it all together. Or maybe striving hasn’t worked for you and you decided to play it cool and act like you just don’t care.
For a long time, I hung out with lots of people, getting crazy, laughing, and having fun, but something was missing. I never could quite put my finger on what was wrong. I was so restless. I needed something, but I didn’t know what.
That restlessness, that trying find something that you can’t quite put your finger on, I think that’s why im and fb and texting, getting trashed with your friends are so popular. It seems like you must be connecting with other people. Hey, you’re trying at least. But then when you stop and think about it, you’re not really happy. But you should be. You look, but there are no messages, wall posts or texts. Your heart sinks. Or you wake up feeling empty and wonder is this all there is?
Looking back, I didn’t say it out loud then, but I think I knew deep down inside–I was lonely. I wanted to matter to someone. I wanted the freedom to be real and still be liked–even loved–for being who I really was.
Then I was hit by a car and that knocked me off the crazy, busy bus, really fast. I tried to go back to college right away, but had to give up. I wasn’t physically, and probably emotionally, ready to do it. I went in to see my adviser to tell her I was withdrawing from school. She did something that college professors aren’t supposed to do, but she could see I was at a low point. She recognized that I was definitely not grounded and sure about life.
“You don’t know Jesus, do you,” she said. Now that was awkward, but gutsy, and real.
You don’t know Jesus… I really didn’t and I certainly wasn’t looking to. But I was restless and what I had been trying was just not working. I’d tried to figure out where I fit in, but I felt so alone. The conversation in my adviser’s office set in motion my search for God. I found that when I stopped hiding and started seeking Him, He was right there, waiting to be found. Actually, He’d been trying to get my attention for a long time.
I found that it wasn’t anything like I assumed it would be. It wasn’t dorky. It wasn’t syrupy or fake. Nor was it a new form of striving. But it was coming into a real relationship with God.
I went through tough times, and sometimes, I still do. But I’m not alone. I can tell you I know that God is real and that God is always there and totally loving me, through it all. Accepting me in a way that’ll never let me down. I don’t feel all that awkward or needy anymore. I no longer need to hide because being real with people is too risky, or scary. When I feel like hiding, God’s always there. He draws me out, reassures me that I matter and gives me the courage to be real.
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. ~Jeremiah 29:12,13~ NIV
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you. ~Psalm 33:22~ NIV