In November I helped lead a retreat that really changed my life. I gave my testimony, lead a small group, and found Jesus all over again. I loved more than I ever have in my life, and leading the girls on retreat was one of the best experiences in my life. I put my entire heart into planning and leading this weekend.
And then it ended.
Don’t get me wrong, my desire and need to love others continued, it continued intensely. But, I was unable to allow myself to be loved, by God or others.
The relationships I had made on the weekend were incredible, founded on vulnerability, openness, and a desire for relationship with Christ. But many of these friendships were with girls who I had led, who I was supposed to lead to Christ. After that weekend, vulnerability and openness about my hurts, pain and struggles was nonexistent with these beautiful women I considered sisters.
In my testimony, I talked about my depression. It’s a taboo topic for me in some ways, I hate admitting my mental illness, and often I feel like once I admit my flaws and allow my loved ones to see me at my worst, they’ll be afraid and run.
What if the people I trust run away from me?
It’s a common fear, being afraid of our own flaws and what will happen when others see them. Fear is the reason we keep these flaws in the dark.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus says: “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” – John 8:12. We are not meant to live in darkness, no matter how scary, awful, and just plain dark our lives get. We are the people of light and love. Let there be light.
At Jesus’ most vulnerable, the night of His death, he was alone. The man He told to build His Church denied even knowing Him. One of His best friends put a price on his life. What was it? Twenty pieces of silver for a friend? Throughout His mission, people followed him all over, He had twelve steady apostles who all said “Aw, bro, yeah, we’ll do anything for ya!” When He was carrying His cross, a complete stranger was the one who helped out. Not one of the people who declared Him Lord, not the blind man who was now able to see, but a random man picked from the crowd. Besides His Mother (God love her), complete strangers were the one who carried His cross, wiped His face, wept for Him.
At the foot of the cross was John, a young boy, Mary Magdalene, who may or may not have been freed from demons (no one really knows, but she’s still a boss), and His mother.
How could this be? Jesus is God. He didn’t have to be so alone. When picking His disciples, He could have chosen people who would’ve stuck by Him, but He chose these sinful, flawed people, knowing full well the abandonment that was to follow.
Please, I beg you, don’t let fear ruin your chances of loveAllow people to see your wounds and scars. There is no deeper love than the love of one who sees them, and sees beauty and strength. You deserve that love, whether in a friendship or romantic relationship. Allow yourself and your scars to be loved.
You are worthy of love. Real, true, heart racing, lay down my life for love. Seek friendships and relationships that encourage this love.
“We love, because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19