“Like what?” she asked.
“God, the inerrancy of the Bible…” Gender roles. The charismatic movement. If I’ve ever really seen God do anything…
I was waiting for widened eyes and “Oh Liz” and serious and concern and promises to pray for me.
But it didn’t happen. Something else happened.
She understood. She could relate.
The same thing happened when I wrote my last blog about how “I might be a feminist.” The way people understood, the way people could relate to my journey surprised me.
I saw people come alongside me, people willing to share their journeys and how they too had wrestled or were wrestling with this issue. Some of whom I never would have guessed were in this with me.
“There is more power in sharing our weaknesses than our strengths,” wrote Brennan Manning in Reflections for Ragamuffins. He was right.
And I’m finally taking those nervous steps to share my weaknesses, my struggles, my uncertainties.
It started on my YWAM Discipleship Training School. I started actually talking with other people about my struggles, and none of them fainted in shock or distanced themselves from me. But then again, that was YWAM, where we were all a family “in this thing together.”
But out in the real world?
I’ve always known that I’m weak, but I always assumed other people were more confident, certain, and put-together than they probably were. I would hear a lively, opinionated debate between friends who seemed so sure of themselves, and I wouldn’t dare interject my opinion — partly because I didn’t know what my opinion was, and partly because I was afraid of what people would think of me if I disagreed with them — especially if I disagreed without the confidence and certainty that they seemed to have.
A few years ago, I never would’ve admitted such struggles as I’m now admitting in this public forum. I never would’ve said anything controversial unless it was about the TV show Lost, and even then my thin, sensitive skin might’ve bruised a bit if someone had challenged my point.
So there they are, my weaknesses (some of them, at least). I doubt. I’m all over the place. I often don’t know what I believe on issues of secondary and primary importance. I hardly ever read my Bible. My prayer life isn’t as robust as it was last year.
I wish these things weren’t true of me, but at the same time it does no good to hide them from all the eyes.
After I shared some of my struggles in the above-mentioned Skype conversation, I felt such a massive shift like you wouldn’t believe.
She had been speaking with such certainty and confidence, and talking about God and her convictions, and as I nodded along I just felt worse and worse. I knew I was being disingenuous. I was also feeling bad about myself for not having that same strength.
And then I took that tiny step and spoke words I was afraid to speak, and everything changed. I was honest, and she was honest, and suddenly that picture in my mind, of me as the weak one and her as the strong one, disappeared.
I understand now why we’re afraid to admit our weaknesses. We’re afraid what we’ve always feared will now be proven true: that we’re the only ones who struggle like this.
The thing is, though, even if you don’t struggle with the same things I struggle with, you still struggle with something, and there are times when that something seems big and crushing and isolating to you.
But it doesn’t have to isolate you.
I need you, and you need me. Let’s stop pretending we’re perfect and that we have everything figured out. Instead, let’s move toward greater intimacy, even when it’s scary. Freedom is there.