“We have to be braver than we think we can be, because God is constantly calling us to be more than we are, to see through plastic sham to living, breathing reality, and to break down our defenses of self-protection in order to be free to receive and give love.”
Walking on Water, Madeleine L’Engle
My backyard fence hems in our yard with side-by-side wood slats. The wood slats stand together close, but not so close you can’t see between them. And oh, the things you could see if you peeked through them. You might see me chase the dog or fuss at her. Play with the kids or yell at them. You might see me fix a persistent wedgie. To really live means I must be okay with you glimpsing both smile-and-wince-worthy snippets of my life. It makes me nervous, yes, but not enough to hide inside. Oh sure, I could only wander outside when my mood and clothes speak lovely things. But real life mixes in unlovely too, and trying to hide it pretty much ensures it’ll come out twice as strong.
Writing about it all feels like living life twice, like giving you a second chance to see what you missed the first time. A lit bit trippy, a whole lot scary.
When I’m tempted to just up and dive under my bed, I remember Bravery doesn’t always ask us to charge a field running full tilt. Sometimes, He asks us to just quietly take it one slow step at a time in the right direction. Doxologies sing in grand choruses and soft solos.
Either way, there is freedom in sharing the glorious and the messy. When those “defenses of self-protection” tumble down, pride often tumbles along with it. I care more about the hearts of others than how I come across, so love has room to stretch.
How have you felt love stretching lately?