I went to a camp/retreat this weekend as a favor to a friend. During those few days, I was reminded how incredibly beautiful God's creation was, not only in the changing leaves of Fall, or the sky full of stars, but in His people.
God's been teaching me to be aware that everyone I come into contact with has a story of their own and ways that they're broken. Instead of simply taking the person at face value, I need to acknowledge their journey, whether I know the details or not. Thinking that way seems to make the people all around me more 3D.
At camp, I saw some of the girls open up. My friends were also honest about some of their struggles. And then it hit me again. A few years ago, I was struck by the seeming contradiction I beheld when a strong friend confessed that she was afraid. At that moment, I realized that I was seeing her as she truly was for the first time. It's odd. Here she was, telling me that she was afraid, almost like airing a dirty secret, and in that moment, I realized how beautiful she was. That's what I saw again this weekend.
For some reason, we humans like to pretend that we're invincible and perfect. When life is hard, we "grin and bear it" so no one will guess that we really don't have it all together. And that's just it. We all know we're just pretending, but we want to keep up appearances and so we let others keep their masks so we can keep ours. I've often wondered about this. Here's my "discovery":
When we take off our mask, when we open up to others and show them our fears, we're not really showing them our ugliness.
God has created each of us and put everything within: weaknesses, fears, strengths, positives. He knows what's there because He put it there. When we acknowledge our whole, entire selves, that is, the good as well as the weak parts of us, we finally embrace who God created us to be. We can begin to see ourselves and others how God sees us. And it's incredibly beautiful.
God has created everything in this world and has declared it to be good. Unfortunately, because of sin, we have distorted some of the beautiful things. "But God's ways are not our ways, and God's thoughts are not our thoughts." Our weaknesses exist to point us back to Him, so we don't try to accomplish anything with our own strength. And our strengths exist to help build each other up.
I guess all this is to say that being vulnerable is beautiful because it's showing others who you truly are.
Acknowledge and embrace all of you, because God has declared you to be good.