I don't like being in the spotlight. In the spotlight, people can really see you. And if people can really see you, they'll notice when you fall. If I'm hiding alone in the shadows, there is no one to notice when I make a mistake. I'm scared of scrutiny, deep relationships, and leadership, because I am afraid for people to find out that I'm not as good as they think I am.
I said this (or something like it) to my supervisor a few weeks ago. He looked at me with a slightly puzzled look on his face, then said, "But you're not as good as they think you are!" It was a simple observation. It didn't seem like he was trying to be particularly therapist-y at the time. He wasn't being mean or insulting. Whether he knew it or not, he was offering me freedom. I am who I am. If people think more highly of me than who I am, that does not mean that I must live up to their perception of me. Rather, my only aspiration is to live up to my true self - who God has created me to be, who I am at my core, who I am with all my muck and shame illuminated.
I sat with a beautiful woman today whose heart broke open to me, spilling shame and fear of being known into the space between us. I cried with her. I mourned her mistakes with her. And then God allowed me to speak grace into her wounds, as he has spoken grace into mine.
I am thankful for this journey that he has given me. It is stretching me and growing me. It is allowing me to step into ownership and authenticity, acknowledging my shortcomings and accepting grace for them. It is freeing me from the heavy burden of perfectionism one moment at a time. And I am thankful, for in moments like I experienced today, I know that I could not offer God's grace to this beautiful woman if I had not first allowed it to cover me. I could not have led her there if I had not allowed myself to be led there first. I could not have spoken to her out of a place of pressure and perfectionism, but only out of my own brokenness, freedom, and redemption. I cannot take anyone further than I wish to go.
And so I continue my journey, as I lay this part of it before you. I continue to choose risk, for it leads to redemption for me and for others. And I hope that you will choose risk along with me, so that we may all be prepared to lead with grace and freedom into peace that passes understanding.