To be known…

616b14fcc847f233ae469b6d53c2e0a0This weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to tuck away at a charming retreat center, in a wee bit of a town, in Pennsylvania. I’ve been writing about forty-seven blog posts in my head every time I had a free moment. Just bits and pieces of things I wanted to be sure to share.

If you’ve gone to retreats, you know that sometimes you need time to work through and process what happened during that time away. It’s true. While I’ve been thinking about what to share, I know it’s important, for now, to sit in it – process – and learn. Then, when God has had time to cement these truths in my heart, I’ll be able to share them in a way that’s much more cohesive and a lot less scattered heart emotions. So, be on the lookout for those updates and news about the wonderful women and mission of the hostess. Also, about some of the organizations I was able to learn about a little more.

In the meantime, I had some quiet time on the way home and it allowed me to spend some time with my God. With my heart. With my head.

This time alone, with nothing special waiting for me – I wasn’t on my way to work, to meet anyone, to do anything… it was just time in the car. God and me. And it was so good. He reveals Himself to me in the car so often. I find myself surrendering to Him in that time, too. Who knew a car could become a sanctuary? =]

I have a huge heart for people. I have a natural bend toward the young people and the women, but men aren’t excluded either. I love to love. I’m in love with love. I love grace. Mercy. Forgiveness. Healing. Everything that spouts from love, I love.

I want to have relationship with people. I want to know, love, heal, carry burdens, work through problems, teach, learn, and walk through life with people I meet. I want to be a helper and a giver.

Gosh, those are all good things to be! Some may say that it’s pretty exceptional that I have a desire to be those things for other people.

And, maybe, if there were some balance to it, it would be exceptional.

I’ve got no balance. Or very little balance. Therefore, it’s not all that exceptional. It’s pretty selfish on my part.

I want to *know* you, but I want to build solid walls around myself so that you can’t know me in return.

For those who knew about my move to Texas while away this weekend, it was nice to say, when they would ask why I was going there, “because that’s where God wants me!” It’s true; of course… that IS where God wants me.

But…

That has also become my safe answer. The one that sits on the surface. The one that doesn’t really dig into why I’m going. The one that has walls around my heart so that no one can get close enough to *know* me.

I came away from this weekend getting to know so many women. I was able to pray with some. Eat with many. Learn about trials and triumphs. I am so grateful for those who shared a piece of their heart with me.

What scares me, just a little bit, is that I may have just come off as a woman with a crazy sense of adventure and a lot of faith. While both of those are true, in the bigger picture, I was a coward and didn’t allow anyone to see into my own heart. I kept it locked away in its safe place. I kept it private. I kept it all to myself. I didn’t allow myself to be known.

When I choose to jump into relationship with people, I’m all in. All vulnerabilities are set on the table. I leave myself wide open. Sometimes… I get hurt. Sometimes… it’s too wonderful to describe. I tend to be all in or all out. This weekend, I kept my heart all tucked away. I’m already feeling sad about that choice and I know it’ll have its own consequences. I’ll have to deal with those when I face them. I’ve felt a little heart trampled lately and, unfortunately, this type of self-preservation was how I chose to protect myself. It was wrong. I was wrong.

The good news is this… Our God is big, merciful, and almighty! Isn’t that the very best thing? When He reveals to us ways in which we failed or didn’t follow through, we know that He is on our side to make it right. He will work with us to bring us revelation and redemption.

One of the things I most love to teach about is how to build good, solid, healthy relationships. How to be transparent and authentic. How to be open, approachable, and reachable. How to be vulnerable. How to be available. How to be willing and intentional. Those are all things I strive to be. And, sometimes, I’m just not.

I’m a work in progress. He’s not done with me yet. Amen?

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5 thoughts on “To be known…

  1. Stephanie you do a really great job of exposing your heart in your blog posts…and I understand the difference you have expressed here – I find it more “comfortable” to expose my personal studies when I am blogging. But the interesting thing with me is that I am usually pretty comfortable being “real” when I preach as well…perhaps you profit from your time in your car alone with God for a similar reason that I enjoy preaching – Father God brings comfort.

    Thank you for sharing my friend!

    1. Thanks, Craig! One day I’ll figure the whole balance out. =] Sometimes I’m too real, and sometimes I’m too guarded. At some point, I’ll find that sweet spot! I appreciate your encouragement!

  2. You know, I have struggled with the very opposite problem… I am too willing to share at times. I get myself into trouble by not keeping my heart and guarding the issues of it, Prov. 4:23. And I am bursting. It is a long hard lesson for me.

    1. Oh, Curtis. There are times I don’t keep it at all either. I’ll walk right up to someone and hand it over without thought and without regard to what might happen. But, sometimes, in the aftermath of doing that and being broken, I cling to it again… like it’s something only I can possess. Like it’s something that isn’t worth being given away again. It’s usually temporary and then I’ll be right back in the business of handing it to anyone who asks… balance. balance. balance. We’ll be praying together. =]

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