I know I’m right and if everyone would just stop and listen to me they would hear how right I am. They would know how brilliantly I’ve laid it all out in my head. The hours I’ve spent mulling and laboring over my right-ness.
Now I’m delivering my case, giving a passionate plea for how I’ve come to this conclusion. My thoughts are in a single track, the argument is so clear in my head, how could they not understand what I’m saying. Why do they keep saying words and not listening to mine?
But then, I stop and listen. I hear words that all of sudden start to make my insides feel funny. I know these words. They are my super-secret private inner most thoughts and feelings. The ones I keep tucked away for fear they would be exposed and brought to light. They are the source of my deepest insecurities and the worst things I think about myself.
But how is this person saying them back to me? How does this person know my super-secret private thoughts?
And then, the shell starts to get cracked open, word by word, bit by bit my gooey, still developing insides starts to get exposed, brought into the light where everyone on the planet can see them. The insides I’ve kept so carefully hidden because they don’t fit with my perception of myself. The inside of me is messy, and real and unfinished.
What if people see ME, not just the happy, well-assembled me, but the me with the imperfections, the ugliness, the selfishness? What if people really knew what lies beneath the surface? Would I still be worth loving?
Recently, I’ve been cracked open and spilled out on more than one occasion. Almost like a battering ram, an enemy army trying to fight their way in, a barrage of breaking down my walls and spilling my ugly guts out. It’s been horrifying.
Since then, I’ve had a little time to get over the shock and have come away with a new understanding of the mess laying on the floor for all the world to see:
- As painful as it is to hear things about ourselves that we’ve kept hidden, it’s also a place that can be healed. Often our exposed places are broken places. Broken places are kept hidden by shame. Shame keeps us from healing. But now that it’s out there, the shame has no more power over our secrets and we can begin to call our brokenness out for what it is and get some healing. There is no shame is being human and we are all riddled with broken places.
- Our friends and family will still love us. After all, they are probably the ones who called it out, they’ve seen it the whole time and have stuck around this long. It’s seems to us we’ve been found out, but we’ve been seeping goo and just haven’t been paying attention. The truth is, our super-secret places aren’t so super-secret to those who know us and love us the most.
- Oh, we may some fallout, but I’ve discovered they are struggling with broken places of their own and don’t want be cracked open either. It usually has very little to do with me, it’s their goo getting all over my shoes. The best that I can do is own up to what’s mine, apologize for hurt my goo has caused, reassure them they are loved and let them go about their own way.
- Exposure is freedom! We have nothing more to hide. We’ve received forgiveness and now we are free to love our people because we fully understand the humanness of having hidden broken globby places. Forgiveness for others becomes a way of life and our relationships get deeper and stronger.
As undeniably painful as the moment is, there is goodness in exposure. Life marches forward, your people will still call, you will get through another day. When we know better, we do better. I’m certain this will not be the last experience I’ll have with being cracked wide open, but now I’ll know better how to clean up the goo, throw it out with the garbage and walk in the freedom of being released.
Have you had a breaking wide open experience?
What were some things you learned about yourself?
What did you learn after you had time to think about it?
How will you live differently now?