First, take 3 minutes and 28 seconds to listen to this. Then scroll down. (If it doesn’t load the first time, refresh your page.)
If only so many of us weren’t so scared to position ourselves in one of the most vulnerable postures there are…admitting our loneliness. I feel like, in that admission to loneliness, we are finding our cure…by putting the fear of rejection aside and confiding in a friend. We are finding a friend amidst one of our most deepest secrets and most vulnerable positions.
Do you even realize?
The case could be, that the realization of loneliness has not set in. So if you were to accept Shawn’s challenge to the audience, and pick three main people that you do life with, could you? Better still if you struggle to identify them, then ask God to show you who those three people should be. Shawn is not just saying this to benefit the ones hearing it, but to benefit those surrounding us. There are people out there longing for meaningful relationships, but don’t know how to find them, grasping at whatever comes their way.
We all long for meaningful relationships yet, are we willing to sacrifice what it takes to get there? Are we willing to risk rejection? What is your motivator for relationship? How do you see the people you want relationship with? I am not talking about relationships that are skimming the surface of your world or Facebook feed. I am talking about the types of relationships that are real and raw. By real and raw, I don’t mean emotion-filled, drama drowned, exhausting relationships that foster stagnation; however I do mean spirit-filled, peace seeking, healing, not afraid to dive deep and talk about change, type of relationships that foster growth.
What about growth?
Here’s the thing, if you don’t have people that you are willing to be completely vulnerable with, you won’t grow. Who challenges you? Who champions you for change? You won’t grow, until you are willing to talk about what needs to change. Change must occur in order to grow. In order to have change, you must be willing to loose something and you must be willing to evaluate the past. Without those two things, there will be no growth. Growth is change. The word “change” scares people, because of the loss of whatever it is that is normal for them. When you know something needs to change, there is a grieving or for some, even a fear of loosing whatever will be lost.
We tend to gravitate towards things that are familiar and predictable. We do this because we know, deep down, that change does not happen without loss. Loss does not happen without pain. No pain no gain! The sense of loss can be so overwhelming, the mind does not even focus on what is gained in the process. The thought of the process, scares the daylights out of most. We are tempted to run, as if we could outrun it or run away from it. This is why people choose to avoid and numb their pain. The fear of facing it overwhelms them to a point of stagnation or digression.
The thing about change is, we not only experience the loss of something, but we are left actually feeling lost and abandoned, possibly even rejected. We are left trying to grab hold of anything stable or familiar. It is as if we are floating there, grasping at whatever we can. It is in that moment, that we have a choice of how we will deal with the pain that comes with any type of loss. What is our perspective in those moments of reeling over that pain, feeling as if we will fall apart if we look at the things that are deep within us? Eventually, the things that are deep down inside will rise to the top. How willing are we to embrace this pain that comes with being so vulnerable? And in the end, what do we grip onto to stop (what seems to be) the endless reeling over the thoughts that come with the loss and pain of change? In this moment of choosing to face change or not, we are truly at the cusp of our most vulnerable posture. It is here, where most people stop. It is here, where most allow the fear of pain to take over.
What do you have to gain?
See, your threshold of pain will determine you growth. In other words, the amount of pain you are willing to deal with, will determine your level of growth. Your growth to being vulnerable is your gain. What you gain with being vulnerable is real relationship…real connection. Just as Shawn said in Jesus’ most vulnerable moment, through His Spirit, He connected us to the Father in a real way. A most tangible way, that is eternal and everlasting.
It is right in the middle of this messy process…vulnerably shifting through the pain and loneliness, that if we allow our Creator to come in, He will fill our deepest voids. He desires to be our first and best friend…our champion! Think about it, no one could identify more with being vulnerable. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3
) While He was on earth, He had to have experienced loneliness and rejection from people, at levels we cannot even begin to imagine. Just as He desires for us, He turned to His Father first and every time, even throughout the years of being surrounded by His disciples. He wants to be the One who fills our voids of loneliness. These deep voids are filled, not as a result of spending time in His Word or prayer, these are voids filled by Holy Spirit tapping into the deep pain and heartache in our lives.
There are areas of our vulnerability that even our closest friends won’t reach. If we desire to continue to grow, there comes a point where we cannot afford to look to others to rescue us from the changes that need to take place. We have no choice but to turn to the One who created us. It is a posture of freedom and solitude. A posture to which you let go and allow Holy Spirit to do an inner inventory of the things inside you that you did not even know existed. A place that only He can reach and reveal. He is the only One who knows the depths of us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Without Him, there will always be a void.
See, He comes in and begins to flush out the void that we have filled, by numbing or avoiding the things we need to face. That void is packed full of unfulfilling pain, fear, anxiety, competition, rejection and all those other little things that keep us from truly connecting with others. Once He flushes out that void and He begins to fill it with His love, we are able to truly connect with others. We are able to see ourselves the way He sees us and in turn, we begin to see others how He sees them. He created us for relationship with Him first and community, second. We need Him before anything, so that we can then offer our best to others. We need Him first because on our worst days, we need to be able to go back and see ourselves and others the way He does, through His vision, not ours. Seeing what He created them to be, rather than seeing them in their struggles. If we desire to see as He sees, then we don’t look at just the potential, but destiny in others.
We should be going after the idea of being loved by Him, and in turn loving ourselves; instead of chasing down the idea of being loved by people. It is in the discovery of His love for us, that we begin to see our own destiny and the destiny of others. It is only when we truly see and love ourselves the way our Creator does, that we can really love others to the capacity they need and loneliness is no longer the motivator for relationship.