Today I gave my testimony at church, and I was scared to death. I was scared because there's a certain way that I believe others see me. I'm not sure how true this really is, but I figure that I look like someone who has their crap together. From the outside, to people who know present Lauren, I am a married mother of three who takes good care of her kids and is pretty white-bread. I know I come off a little left of June Cleaver, but I figure I look pretty put together.
And I like it.
I like thinking people look at me and see someone who is on the straight and narrow. I like thinking I come off as a soccer mom. I want people to think I'm righteous and good and such, even thought I know I'm really not. Sharing my brokenness scared the pants off of me because I didn't want to give up that feeling. Opening up about my past dredged up all sorts of feelings of shame and guilt and dirtiness and worthlessness. The only thing that made me go through with it was a knowledge that those feelings are not of the Lord. That those are the tools the darkness uses to keep us from doing what will set us free.
So today I told my church family about how totally screwed up I was before Christ was a part of my life, and how He protected me and waited for me all that time. I shared how He finally reached me, and how my life has been changed since I welcomed Him in. And you know what? They didn't throw me out.
For a while now I've harbored this secret belief that my story, my life, could have meaning if told to others. I've often thought that teen girls need to hear what I have to tell them. I've believed that maybe I could save some other girl a world of hurt and shame. In my head I've considered telling my story somehow, but when faced with actually telling my story I very nearly pussed out. Yet I find that, now that I've told it, I feel like I could tell it again. Maybe tell it better. Maybe get it to someone who needs to hear it. I don't know, maybe there's something of value in all the crap I went through for someone else.
This whole human experience is about sharing. It's about connection. We're all a part of one larger entity, wether we like it or not, and our experiences can benefit other people. At the end of the day, we're more alike than we are different and perhaps our similarity allows us to learn from and give to one another. Perhaps if more of us told our stories, and told them honestly, we could start to get away from all the crap that is making humanity so sick and distorted. Maybe we could start to believe in each other if we saw how similar we really are. Maybe we could start to truly value each other. And if we valued each other, then we could care for each other and if we cared for each other, then we could protect each other. And if the whole of humanity was vested in protecting each other, how different would this world be?
If we could be honest with each other, warts and all, we could begin to put things in their proper perspective. Maybe we could stop chasing the almighty dollar, or the next high, or the perfect mate, or a fancy car, or a bigger house, or a snazzier title. If we could be authentic, maybe we could give more lovingly. Perhaps we could love more readily. Maybe we could be more ready to give.
I swear, I'm not high. This sort of sounds like some hippy diatribe written under the influence of marijuana. I'm aware of that. I suppose I'm high on transparency, or wasted on opening up.