Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Vulnerable Again

There are so many things I've wanted to write and say here for the past several months. I know it's been awhile since I've really laid it all out - allowed myself to be completely raw. To be honest, i'm fighting for authenticity and i'm finding that hard because I don't feel safe. I know that I "am" safe. I just don't "feel" safe. It's hard to be authentic with you when I'm barely holding on trying to be authentic with myself. I'm trying to convince myself that it's okay to be vulnerable again.

It's okay to be vulnerable again. Tell me it's okay to be vulnerable again.

Things have changed. And ironically, nothing has changed . . . . While on the one hand, I feel excited about fresh vision for what God wants me to do in the community. Yet on the other hand, there's me. The thing is . . . as much as I enjoy being able to help connect other people together, I'm perpetually longing to be connected myself. How can I help others do what I can't seem to do myself? Surely there are others better suited to receive and carry out a God-given vision. And still, there's this passion in me that drives me forward. If there are others out there who feel the way I do, I want to help because I think at the end of the day it makes me feel like i'm not alone.

There's this constant battle within me - yet another collision. I want to change the world but I feel like I can't do that until I change me. Perhaps I want to change the world because I can't change me. Or maybe I just want to be the kind of help for others that I'm desperately lacking. Maybe i'm always trying to serve other people's needs because I have needs. Perhaps, I just relate.

I'm okay admitting the fact that I'm broken. No, i'm not broken because I'm gay. My genes and my sexuality don't make me broken. Of anything, it's a [side X] culture that denies us from growing and developing socially and authentically that breaks our spirits (as if those gays are some kind of animals needing to be tamed). But no, i'm not broken because I'm gay. I'm broken because I'm still trying to figure out the pieces of my life - trying to use God's clues to discover where I fit.

Is it wrong to have a personal motive in trying to "give"? Am I just trying to help myself feel significant in this world? Is it wrong to just want to matter? Does admitting this make my cause for the community less virtuous? Less righteous? Can I just reclaim my right and my choice to be authentic, real . . . again. Dunno. But what I do know is that the many hills and valleys on this journey of mine brings me still closer to Christ admitting to Him that I still find it hard to look in the mirror. If I can't look at me, how can I really let you look at me? And so the hiding begins.

Maybe it's me that I don't feel safe with. Hmm . . . .

*exits closet*

I wish I could be this awesome success story for you and say that I once was lost but now I'm found - I once was confused and now I understand - I once was sad and now I'm happy - I once experienced a collision of worlds and now I've achieved cohesion.

But I can't.

The truth is - my story isn't finished yet. I still have much to battle, much to overcome, much to sort through. There's much too much to say I've succeeded at anything except the fact that I'm still on this journey - treading this path, continuing to walk towards my Christ, and along the way crying like a baby, laughing like a kid, imagining like a dreamer, learning like a student and pressing forward like a young man imperfect, forgiven, and graciously understood by his God.


Ross said... sounds to me like you are perfectly human. I don't what self-aware person doesn't struggle with these issues. Maybe by changing the world (or at least engaging the world), we will change ourselves. But be careful, the change within ourselves may not be what we have planned for ourselves.

I sound wise for someone who doesn't understand himself very well, don't I?

Mark said...

Wanting to matter, to be significant, is a human thing. It's normal.

But there's no gurantee that anybody will acknowledge you for the things that you do.

There is a very good chance that people that matter to you *do* know what you do and will express it. But you can't depend on that.

I've made certain choices, certain investments in my life in people that I love dearly. Through truth-telling, those very people have experienced pain. However, years on, they're walking their own patch and I'm hearing acknowledgements of the importance of me in their lives. If that's as much as I'm going to get in this life, it's going to be enough.

Remember Jesus' words: "Where were you when I was hungry, needing to be clothed, needing to be taken care of when I was sick?" Like George MacDonald has said throughout his writings, "Do what comes to hand. God desires no less and no more than that." It takes a lot of the stress out of life when one can learn to be content in that.


Anonymous said...

Hey Eric...

Seems to me that U.S. culture often fixates on stories of miraculous, sudden, turnarounds. Yeah, that tendency is rooted in church- and faith-based experiences, but it's so much bigger than that.

The inconvenient, less dramatic truth is that real change unfolds bit by bit. That's just the way it works.

I'm certainly working through my personal development that way... there are good days and phases when I wish I could say that my quirks and challenges are all in the past, but they're not.

The important things for me have been (a) to keep moving forward, even if slowly or tentatively, and (b) be gentle with myself on the journey.

I find Psalm 139 to be grounding -- considering myself to be fearfully and wonderfully made, uniquely gifted and richly flawed. The total package that is my life doesn't lend itself to was-lost-but-now-am-found plot lines. The image that makes the psalm huge for me is the loving creator who is on the journey with me. God isn't perched on a mountaintop, watching and waiting for me to greet him after I've wrestled my flaws into submission and achieved superhuman feats. God is with me in the ordinariness of life, knowing me more intimately and accepting me more completely than I do myself.

Take care, OK? It's great to see you writing...

Steve said...

Definitely great to have you posting again.

You are exactly what God needs for you to be, nothing less and nothing more. You are exactly what your friends and community need you to be, nothing less and nothing more. Your struggles and your reflections, and your sharing of them with us, is what we need from you; is what inspires and encourages and helps us!

I love you with all my heart, Eric my friend.

BentonQuest said...

Is it wrong to have a personal motive in trying to "give"?

Martin would say that there is nothing we can do that does not involve the sin of pride. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't do it anyway.

I have also heard it that the best ministry occurs when our needs and talents fit with the needs and talents of those we encounter.

Just keep going! God can guide us when we are moving.

The Blogger said...

Welcome back! I am completely empathizing with you in this struggle of paradoxical values playing tug of war with us as we journey toward authenticity.

I have been battling this in my own life over the last few weeks.

Thanks as always for your deep openness and willingness to be vulnerable even when you don't "feel" safe.

You're an inspiration to me as always.

-Steve (ps403)

Anonymous said...

Hi Eric... Just wanted to say that I'm glad you're blogging again my friend.

Others has commented to much more profoundly than I'm able to right now...

Hugs Bro


Eric said...

Thank you soooo much for the encouragement everyone! The messages and emails are awesome. =)