"and I don't know if my soul is safe"

I sat there, amazed and overwhelmed. So this is what true friendship feels like, I said to myself.

I've been so blessed to have friends who are willing to love, care, and listen to me but, through the years I've noticed a pattern in my life. I've began to realize that each time I start getting close to someone, every time we get past the fun "new friend" stage and it starts getting messy, deeper or just plain boring I fall out.

I don't think I did this on purpose. I made excuses. I convinced myself that it was their fault and they had too many issues. But, in fact, it was me all along.

I'm not a naturally guarded person. Sure, I have boundaries---if I just met you I am not going to tell you every little detail---but at the same time I don't feel inhibited to connect with you and share stories.... even if it reveals secrets in my own life.

But then I was betrayed. Someone I really trusted did a horrible thing and it became a catalyst for other people to do horrible things and tell my secrets and my stories.

My open heart became little more closed. I started not sharing too much in fear that too much would be revealed. 

Then, I became a Christian. Yeah, I know. If you become a Christian you should suddenly be a-okay with life and you can tell everyone everything and they won't judge you, gossip, or betray you. Or so that's what they tell you. But, in all honesty, the more I got involved in church the more I started feeling like I couldn't say how I was feeling, what I was going through, and how it affected me.

I heard my friend's stories, "The girls in my small group told everyone about what I told them last week... I thought this was a 'What's said in this room, stays in this room' sort of thing, but I guess I was wrong," and "Don't tell anyone I told you this but... did you hear about so-and-so?" And the more they shared their experiences or the secrets of others the more I began fearful that those would soon be my experiences and soon they would be sharing my secrets with others.

So I closed my heart even more. And as more and more secrets I told people in confidence came out, the more my trust for others diminished. Until, finally, I stopped sharing all together. I mean, who would want to share the messy bits of their life that haunts them only to find them being on the lips of everyone they see each day?

And I know that you know how I feel. I've spoken with a lot of you and connected with you on this. We know how we all do it, too. We say how much we can't stand someone behind their back, but to their face we call them our best friend. It's sick, it's ungodly, and it's wicked.

And I don't want to live this closed up life or wear this two faced mask anymore. Because I have experienced moments of true openness and the intimacy and the freedom it brings... and it's beautiful. It's like a moment of heaven---a taste of what is yet to come.

And maybe there are things I don't tell everyone. There are things that I only trust with the ears of my family or really close friend because it's just plain wise to not share it with the world. And, heck, there are things that only God knows and that's okay. But it's also okay to say, I'm really struggling with this and I need to tell someone...

So, as I write this, I am slowly opening my heart again. And maybe you are like me and you know your nature is to be open, but experience and hurt has over ridden it. Or maybe it's hard for you to be open and you don't think you can do it. But, still, I encourage you: take a risk. Jump off the cliff and close your eyes prayerfully expectant---expectant of the healing God can bring you through bearing your soul out to one of His children. It's a leap of faith, sure, but it's worth it.

And guess what? The painful truth is you may get hurt. You may get betrayed. You may pray through your actions, decide that you think God is guiding you to tell someone about your pain, and they may turn around and reveal your secret, but life isn't worth living without hope. Hope that certain people are worthy of your trust. Hope that sharing and connecting can be a step into Christ's own heart. Hope that by sharing and revealing and connecting you can get to know a brother or sister in a deeper, more intimate way and through this get to know Christ in a deeper and more intimate way.

So, don't be afraid. 

Because when we share and we help and strive to make another person's hurt a little less painful, we are filling in the gap of what was lost. We are completing what Christ has started. We are truly exemplifying Him.

Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it]. -Galatians 6:2

P.S. A good way to get trust, is to be trustworthy. So don't go revealing things at another's expense.

image: source