By Sarah Barber
I can remember the exact moment when my world was exposed.
It was Fall 2005. I had just graduated from college and begrudgingly returned home. Without any active job prospects, I really had no choice.
But things were good. I had found a fantastic church where I met a great group of young adults. Every few weeks we’d all pack into each others’ cars and drive thirty minutes to downtown Milwaukee and go out to eat.
This night was no different, except that it was. I had been out to dinner for about an hour with these new friends of mine when I grabbed my phone from my purse to discover that I had 6 missed calls from my youngest brother. Rather strange I thought so I excused myself from the table and walked outside to return his calls.
Long story short, when I finally got ahold of him it was was clear he needed my help. He was in jail on charges of under-aged drinking on what should have been the night of his schools’ Homecoming dance.
I walked back inside the restaurant and began to give a short explanation as to why I needed to leave the party. One friend immediately stood up and said, “I’ll drive you back,” which was generous since I had hitched a ride with someone else and had no vehicle.
In the minutes driving from downtown Milwaukee to our church parking lot things fell apart with my brother. And this sweet friend bared witness to the most raw exchange I’ve ever had between family members.
There was screaming into the phone. And cursing. And more screaming. I was trying desperately to keep it together but things were snow-balling out of control.
We arrived back at the church and I jumped out of the car. As a shut the door behind me, I was apologetic, embarrassed and pretty certain I’d never be invited back to church again. Ever.
I wonder if you’re like me?
Do you have secrets you’d rather keep hidden? Aspects of your life you try and ‘manage’ rather than make known?
It’s exhausting but we do it. Conceal, conceal, conceal.
We fight self-disclosure.
We fight honest relationships.
We fight opening ourselves up to the influence and guidance of others.
And that’s why I love the challenge given today in Small Surrenders.
Instead of hiding, instead of covering-up and pretending, instead of surface-level relationships that leave us feeling empty and unknown, author Emmile Griffin challenges us to seek exposure. She describes one way to do this is through a ‘spiritual director/directee’ relationship. A very intentional, purposeful relationship in which we set aside time to talk with someone about how God is working in our lives. We open ourselves up, trustingly, before God and this confidant in conversation.
When we make an intentional choice to unearth, expose, and bring to light our struggles and dilemmas, we surrender.
And we grow.
Remember my story? What I didn’t mention was the friend who drove me home that night as I desperately tried to conceal all dysfunctional aspects of my life is now my husband.
Continuing to hide offers the same results. Loneliness.
Lent offers us a new opportunity for growth, a fresh start. Is there a small step you can make today that would draw you closer to the light of be fully known instead of always hiding?