We had such a lovely time. Chatting about sleep schedules and food consumption, running after our offspring, negotiating toy treaties, distributing snacks to each other’s kids, getting quickly to the ‘how’s your heart’ conversation because that’s how it rolls in this stage of motherhood (you gotta get to the depth quickly before nap time calls or someone starts to cry).
Then we said goodbye. And the doubts started to creep in. ‘Oh my goodness I shouldn’t have said it that way...she’ll think I was judging her mothering style’ or ‘Why on earth did I say that...that probably hurt her’ or ‘Maybe she misunderstood that and now hates me’. Thought after thought. Always ending with ‘Stupid. That was so stupid. Why did I say that? Why did I do that? Stupid stupid stupid. I’m so stupid.’
The voice of shame.
YOU are not enough. You’re not selfless enough, you’re not kind enough, you’re not a good enough listener. You’re not enough.
It’s so easy, especially in friendships, to allow the voice of shame to keep us from vulnerability. To keep us bound in fear. Fear of being known. And fear of being rejected.
I have been so convicted recently. And in the name of vulnerability, because that’s the tone we hope to set on this blog, felt like I should share....I’ve been convicted that I’ve allowed this voice of shame to mark so many of my friendships throughout my life. Looking to these friendships to give me the security and peace, love and grace, that my heart so yearns for. But there are hurts. Big betrayals and little ones. Deep wounds and harsh words spoken thoughtlessly. I’m so afraid of being hurt....And so afraid of hurting. I listen to both the voice of shame speaking to me, and also the voice of shame that judges and wounds others.
But what if there’s another way. A way that implodes this controlling voice of shame. That keeps us from looking inward for our sense of love and belonging. Jonathan Helser describes insecurity as this....looking inwardly for security. So simple, yet so profound.
What if the rumours are true? What if we are indeed understood at our deepest level. What if we are truly loved at our farthest and worst, not just at our best and kindest.
Tim Keller puts it this way in his book on marriage, ‘To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.’
When we know this very best and most faithful of Friends....we have the grace with which to see others clearly and love others truly. Not for the sense of love and security they can give to us. But for themselves.
And maybe, just maybe, this can be the beginning of a freedom from shame in our friendships, and the growth of deeply vulnerable love.