Today I’ve been invited to explore the idea of openness. It began with my first yoga session this morning where the affirmation stated, “I am open.” Often we are encouraged to finish that sentence for ourselves. For example, “I am open to possibilities,” or “I am open to the adventure.”
I remember asking God in that moment, what should I be open to?
It felt like a continuation of my post a couple of days ago where I needed to ask myself if I could go with the flow. Could I also be open to the ride? I think I’m pretty awesome at choose your own adventure…how great were those books, right? My challenge is not being open to spontaneous, life changing experiences. I find difficulty being open with my innermost self.
After several days left sitting next to my couch, I finally picked up Donald Miller’s latest book again. Every one of Don’s books has changed my life, but Scary Close (buy it here) is absolutely the best one he’s ever written. Probably because he’s allowing us to get right up in his heart.
In the current chapter I’m reading, Don (I mean no disrespect, but I kind of feel like we’re best buds) recounts a conversation with author Paul Young about his family. Paul said that a big key to their family working so well is that they don’t hide anything from each other. “But,” he says, “that’s a tough place to get to. It takes work and it’s painful.”
If you’ve been a reader of my blog for any amount of time, you know that I love sharing what God is teaching me. I don’t seem to mind diving deep into my heart and pulling out the pearls still dirty and covered in oyster shell goo. I can leave it on a page and walk away. And it wouldn’t be that appropriate to throw up my deepest fears or longings.
Still, I don’t want you to see me in the middle of learning those lessons. I don’t want you to see the pain. I don’t want to share the conflict, the tough conversations, the tears. I don’t want you to know what I’m thinking before I edit it. I choose to be a woman of the written word, because I can fix it before I “f”it up, if you know what I mean.
Why do we do this? Why do we hide? Closing up your heart is great for when you need to keep a relationship at arm’s length. But when you’re trying to build meaningful connections, that closed gate has to open up a little bit more. “Health only happens when we’re able to be known,” Don writes.
When I’m emotionally closed with friends and loved ones, when I’m too proud to show them who I truly am, that same disconnect short-circuits my relationship with God. If I’m not open, I’m not free. Paul Young shares 1 John 1:5 with Don and explains, “When you are with God, there is no darkness, no hiding, no pretending…you have the freedom and courage to be yourself.”
I need to let that sink in a bit more. God knows me. He made me to be me. He wants me to be His well thought out creation and not some character trying to masquerade as me. My journey toward openness, toward intimacy has me baffled far too often. But I think the first step in understanding is the willingness to be honest, and then stop worrying about what people think. Openness comes from connecting with my Creator, and becoming who He says I need to be.
Where are you in your journey?