Over the last 12+ years I have had my hands in something that I hoped to be inspiring to another human being. Whether that be rap-rocking the shit out of a microphone back in the old bloodbaught days [and yes, I know it is spelled incorrectly], or spending hours in middle and high school class rooms baring my entire soul to tens of thousands of students, or by writing, tweeting, facebooking, instagramming and any other excuse I can find to use words. I genuinely enjoy the battle of hypocrisy… knowing that if I’m not who I say I am [and I haven’t always been] then I would likely get found out [and I always do]. I believe with all of my heart that there is no better version of yourself to be than the absolute best version, while fully disclosing all of the ignorant, shady, painful things you’ve done or experience with anyone that will listen.
That said, there are a lot of things about being “vulnerable” and sharing my story that are some weird mix of emotionally exhausting and totally self indulgent. But, there are also very rewarding aspects to this journey that I’m on as well. One of the most rewarding aspects of being able to share my story with thousands of teens is the moment when one of them comes up to me, obviously nervous, and says “You’re the only adult who knows this, but I’ve had an abortion too.”
I started on this journey because very early on in my journey of being a Christian [which probably had very little to do with being like Jesus back then] I got really fed up with fake-ass Sunday smiles, bible study super kids, and a paralyzing fear of reality. Don’t get me wrong, I often smile on Sundays whether I am at church or not, but that’s because I also smile on Thursdays. And there is nothing wrong with having a love and passion for learning, studying and knowing the bible… as long as you have some interest in being who He would ask you to be [this will likely be a rant of it’s own really soon]. Lastly, I know that being honest is scary, and I realize that not everyone needs to know your business and blah blah blah… My response to that very real truth is: stop being so damn selfish!
When you do or don’t do something because of how it makes you feel, there is some level of selfishness attached to it, and that may not be a bad thing; I think it brings The Lord great joy in some heavenly way to know that His kids are really enjoying their time on earth. However, when it comes down to not sharing your story because of how it makes you feel I think you should probably just get over it in anyway you need to, solely for the benefit of those around you. I have been reading a daily devotional that was written by one of my spiritual fathers and he captures the weight of being selfless with your story by sharing an aspect of his:
One weekend, I had my first real encounter with alcohol. Southern Comfort might be its name, but it took me on a trip to the pain zone. I was hung over for two days! I did all the things that a sick person does and more. I could not get out of bed because of the freight train that was clickity-clacking in my head. It was horrible.
Those two days, my parents did not say a word to me. They took care of me, but nothing was ever mentioned. A couple days later, Dad invited me to his office. He wanted to talk to me in private. I was in great dread of that meeting!
To my surprise, he shared some things with me out of his childhood along with a few of the lessons he had learned around his own mistakes with alcohol. Things I never knew, stories I never imagined. I still recall what he wore that day, I remember how he smelled, and I was deeply impacted by the fact that he did not demean me, but instead challenged me to responsibility.
All that to say this:
Regardless of what you believe or don’t believe, the fine print of our story has an unfathomable worth to someone that tries to hide the same details. And with that I encourage you to share the most painful, scary details of your story with someone else when you feel like you should. If you are a Christian, your life should be lived to the service and sacrifice of your fellow [wo]man for the Glory of God… If you believe that God can/has redeemed you from your story then what in the hell are you so afraid of anyway?