I’m just gonna be straightforward: I hate chapter 5. I hate it because it’s about change. And fear.
I’m going through a lot of change in my life right now. Most of the relationships in my life have changed recently. My job is changing significantly. My job has always been a bit chaotic, and so I relied on my relationships to get me through. To be the steady part of my life… the ease that I needed in the midst of a lot of unrest. And most of these relationships have shifted significantly or are simply gone. So the change in my life has been magnified by being alone with it all.
Never have I felt so lonely. And never have I felt so scared.
“What else keeps us from living a better story than fear?” Don asks. (pg. 41)
Not all of chapter 5 is about fear. There is more stuff in the chapter that is painful, like his realization that our flaws are the way in which we receive grace. And that perfectionists think the world will only love them when they are perfect.
But then he circles back around to fear, connecting risk and love to fear and the unknown.
I hate chapter 5.
I hate it because it’s all things I’ve heard before. Some a LONG time ago. I hate that it doesn’t seem as though much has changed for me in this area. I still struggle with conditional love, believing people don’t love me for who I really am. I still am afraid to take risks because I am far more afraid of rejection than I am of pretty much anything else.
Oh, and I hated chapter 6, too.
Because in chapter 6 Don tells about his inner and outer self. His outer self being him at age 9, and 9 year-old Don was expected to perform for the world.
I don’t really have a clearly defined inner and outer self, though I know I need to spend more time really thinking about it. But I do know there are certain people who don’t get the outer me – the façade. I’ve chosen to trust them with the real me.
Do you have any idea how much it hurts to put yourself – your real self – out there with someone only to not get what you need in return?
You probably do. We all have. I feel like I am living that just about every day, because the people I’ve shown my real self to are the ones who are leaving and changing and not with me anymore. So I have to start all over with some new people, I guess. That hurts my heart. A lot. It was hard enough the first time.
“God is going to reveal me as a flawed human being as fast as he can and he’s going to enjoy it because it will force me to grapple with real intimacy.” (pg. 56)
Yep. And all the hurt and risk that goes with being rejected for your flawed self.
This risk and rejection is real, and it also requires wisdom. “The ones we tend to stay in love with are, in the long run, the ones who do a decent job living us back.”
I once told a friend, who said he wanted to be enough for me, that life and friendship wasn’t about being enough. But maybe I was wrong. Maybe it is. Maybe it’s about being yourself and showing up. Maybe it’s about showing that you care by doing a decent job of loving each other back.