If You Really Knew Me…

Before two very tragic and public deaths occurred last week–I penned this blog. I realized after re-reading my words–they felt even more relevant today–as we truly do not know the battles that can often rage within. After hearing a powerful message this week surrounding suicide at CoM–I realized this was an important time to share what I had written:

Over the past few years I have witnessed college folks playing an intriguing game called, if you REALLY knew me. When I first encountered the game I was slightly disturbed by what was being shared as I was concerned that it might encourage forced vulnerability. Pushing participants to disclose intimate stories from their very real lives. But in a culture that is chocked full of perfectly polished Instagram stories; where we continue to post our highlight reels, maybe this is exactly what is needed to remedy all those shiny selfies. We rarely reveal what often is just under the surface. I realized that this little game of “if you really knew me” is actually a helpful tool to allow honesty to be shared in an (ideally) safe space. We can take off the mask and allow others to peek in to the window of our humanity…revealing our hurts…and  provide a place where others can respond with a hearty, “I see you…I hear you…you are known…you are loved.”  When culture is carving out online space for us to daily consume the very best portrait of others’ lives–no wonder we are hearing reports of deep depression and loneliness? We actually are craving someone who “REALLY KNOWS US”…and things would be better off in our own psyche if we really knew others stories because we would feel way more NORMAL and certainly not alone.

So to celebrate my 42 years of life I decided to get as raw as I possibly could–and share 24* things you may not know and might not believe about my life. (*42 would be WAY too boring…but 24 is digestible!)

Here goes…

If you really knew me…you would know…

  1. I often feel like I am not enough.
  2. I have a difficult relationship with my mom.
  3. I am not a fan of concerts. My first concert was the Bangles…and the second? Chicago! I should have been hooked for life. Instead I would rather listen in my car or while cleaning my home.
  4. My plastic version/understanding of God was shattered in Uganda. But I believe I am better for it.
  5. I often wonder if this whole faith and God thing is far more gray–less black and white than I ever knew or understood.
  6. I have a lot of gay friends and am grieved by how mishandled the hearts of my brothers and sisters have been…and I am sure I haven’t navigated this perfectly…but want to do better. Our friends deserve better.
  7. I love to laugh…I married a super funny guy…but I am not funny.
  8. I do not laugh enough.
  9. Chris and I watch New Girl…like its our job.
  10. I kinda wish I had an “I’d rather be reading” bumper sticker.
  11. I  get a little squirmy being classified as an “evangelical Christian” because…well…the stigma. “I don’t lead people to God…the Spirit does that.” (words borrowed from Bob Goff)
  12. I didn’t share “Me too” on social media but: me too.
  13. I am a friendly introvert. I think my friendliness is confused as extroversion…but extended human interaction saps me. This has been especially difficult as a mom raising little humans. I wish I had a larger “tank” at times.
  14. I am disturbed by the polarizing positions we have embraced in our world today. Our states do not feel united.
  15. I love Christmas and start decorating in early November.
  16. I am an emotional eater. And it has been an emotional couple of years.
  17. I can sing with my mouth closed.
  18. I thought I didn’t like flowers because my grandmother told me they were a waste of money. I actually DO like flowers. Who cares if they die? Everything dies eventually. Flowers are really beautiful. Chris likes to call them, “God’s unnecessary creativity.”
  19. I hate to run
  20. I love yoga
  21. This was super scary to write…
  22. I am learning that faith is less about certainty and more about trust. (Thank you BBT.) This is revolutionizing my faith journey.
  23. I deeply desire to make a difference in the world–but often feel like I have little to bring to the table–or am paralyzed by where to begin.
  24. I recently turned 42 and I am just now figuring out the secret sauce of this life…we are all works in progress…we cannot and will not be perfect this side of heaven. (I so appreciate Erwin McMannus’ words: “We are all hypocrites in transition. I am not who I want to be, but I am on the journey there, and thankfully I am not whom I used to be.”)

If you made it through my list…then wow…I am so humbled that you would care enough to read this. We all have an if you REALLY knew me list. Your list resides deep inside…and I believe that the world would be a better place if it knew the REAL you. So if you have the time or the courage and could share just ONE “if you really knew me” truth…I would be honored to know it. You may be able to find a close friend or confidante who would better take care of that piece of your story. It is not about who you tell…but that you share your real heart and real life.  Let’s be brave…find our authentic voice and be vulnerable with one another.

Much Love from Me to You,

Jenni

(Photo Cred Dreamstime.com)

 

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