Tonight is my first official small group meeting. We will be using a book called Freeway: A Not-So-Perfect-Guide to Freedom. What I’ve read so far is pretty inspiring. Here is one of the intros, which I believe anyone can benefit from reading!
‘Life is a weird but wonderful mystery that none of us can fully understand. We just believe that we’re meant to show up each morning, throw on a pot of coffee, hurry out the door, try our best to survive, and accept that both good and suffering will equally share the stage of our frail and beautiful stories.
There are good parts–having birthday parties, running faster in new shoes, being debt free, going to springtime weddings, and smelling the sweetness of newborn babies. These are everyday gifts for us to savor and enjoy.
Then there are really hard parts–our battles with loneliness, the fight with our muffin top, kids who need chemo again, that affair and the divorce, our silent suffering, and our unseen addictions. These are the parts we want to begin to talk about.
For it is the dings, the skinned knees, and the broken bones of life that Jesus is most interested in. We hustle to be noticed and long to be accepted as we are. We’ve become what everyone else wants us to be–yet the best gift we could bring the world is being people God created us to be. As writer Henri Nouwen once said, ‘One of the tragedies of our life is that we keep forgetting who we are.’
Too many of us believe the lie that we need to sanitize our scandals, brush away our grief, and cover up our scars. We’re frightened that our fumbling, stumbling mess of hypocrisy and shame will soon be exposed.
Like a birthday-party magician protecting all of his tricks, we worry that someone might catch us screaming at our kids before church or snicker at our sexual history or discover we take Prozac. We hold tight to the secrets that we sneak Hershey bars into movie theaters, lied about our SAT scores, and love eating those shiny hot dogs from the local gas station.
We’re scared that if the world sees how messy our lives really are, they won’t like us one bit. They’ll leave us out of the cool kids party and our invitation will surprisingly get lost in the mail. So we bury all of our hurts and struggles underneath lies of perfection. We pretend to be OK when really we’re not. And then we eventually go nuts and become fed up that we start throwing things at our poor dog…or worse.
And if right now, we sat together at a Starbucks and you told me your story–
how you’re scared that you’re not enough, and that you feel like a screw up, and how you lie about this and that, or how you wish your friends would invite you over more often
–I would hold your hand in a non-weird sorta way, look you straight in the eye, and tell you this:
You are loved more than you could possibly know, and everything is going to be OK.’
-Mike Foster, Garry Poole