I've never felt so exposed. Not even the time I gained fifteen pounds at college, which made all my clothes too tight, so I wore my capris with no underwear, and then went to the bathroom and realized my PANTS HAD SPLIT at some point during the day.
Maybe it's a sign of maturity that I feel more naked and vulnerable than ever before, and yet, for the most part, I am fine. I am where I want to be. The last two weeks I have confessed something that, while not exactly secret, was not something I was comfortable being 100% open about. Until I realized that transparency was the only way to start the process of freedom.
Honesty. It's a concept that everyone agrees with in theory, but few have found the courage to practice. But I am believing more and more every day that it's the only way to move forward in life, and the only way to help others. The ripple effect I have produced by simply saying, Yeah, I am a slob, and I need HELP has been astounding. Not only have tons of people kindly and graciously offered to help me, but the amount of people who have confessed similar issues to me, or other issues of control that they have, or simply started their own de-cluttering projects blows me away. It makes me wonder what would happen if we all stood in the public square and confessed our weaknesses and sins.
Remember the old adage about conquering stage fright? "Just picture everyone in the audience naked!" It's supposed to give you the power. Standard operating procedure in this life...look for the weakness in others to boost yourself up. But just because we have this animal instinct doesn't mean we have to abide by it.
Now that I am exposed to the world, I feel a new freedom in my heart...a freedom to love. Life is no longer a competition. I know everyone is naked under their clothes, but I don't want to pull anybody's pants down. Ok, this analogy is getting a bit ridiculous but seriously...what if we were all truthful? We can have two reactions when we learn of the failings of others. We can use it as leverage for ourselves, or we can use it to bless those in need.
My little fantasy about all of us meeting in the public square to confess adultery, alcoholism, child abuse, hoarding, nose-picking or what have you is never going to happen on this earth. I get that. But it is my prayer that by being willing to be truthful that it will inspire others, and that we will all live without shame. Because really, it's the shame that gets ya. Which is silly. We have all fallen short of the glory. I am sure FAILBLOG could sustain itself for months on simply entries from my own life and past.
Pride is not the opposite of shame. I'm not proud of my failings, that would be ludicrous. I didn't tell people about this so I could conjure up some self-esteem. There is a reason I wasn't feeling too super great about being lil' ole me. We don't all deserve big fat pats on the back for just being people. But shame wasn't getting me anywhere either. Hiding out wasn't getting my house any cleaner, or making my life any happier. So I gave up on shame. I fell flat on my face, and begged for help. And look what happened. An outpouring of grace such that I have never seen before. A change in my life. In my heart. The smaller I am, the larger others become.
The Emperor and I, we are not so different. We loved our pretty things, and we both wound up exposed. But thanks to those who love me, I don't mind wearing his new clothes.