The Art of Avoidance
I’ve learned a lot through being “on the road”, but one of the most important things is that…. Jesus is funny! I’ve always been a joyful person, and even intentional conversations come easily, but it wasn’t until the road that I realized sometimes we can use other people’s problems to distract from our own.
One day, on a longer van ride, I was asked this simple question: “why do we never talk about your life?” And to be honest, I didn’t have a good answer at that moment. It wasn’t until I took that question to prayer that I realized why: I was using the desire my teammates had to share their hearts with me as a mechanism to avoid talking about myself.
The Ache in Our Hearts
Our hearts ache to be known and loved. This being said, it’s all too easy to stifle our own feelings simply by refusing to acknowledge them, or even by thinking of issues in the lives of others instead of our own. However, as humans, we desire community. We were made for community. So, if we were made for community, why is it so easy to avoid vulnerability with others? What makes avoidance natural?
Well, news flash: Avoidance isn’t natural. Avoidance is a distortion of prudence from Satan himself, and this is one of the easiest ways for him to convince you that the lie that you are alone is true. But you aren’t alone.
To Love Is To Be Vulnerable
We are called not just to love, but to love all. If this is true, then vulnerability, real vulnerability, is also a necessary part of love. Friendship is not meant to be a cookie cutter formula, but instead we are called to be the architects of the foundation of our friendships. That being said, mistakes are easy to make in architecture, and likewise in friendships. If someone designed a structure that was built on a weak foundation, the entire thing would eventually crash to the ground and have to be rebuilt. Similarly, believing lies about our friendships is like those cracks at the bottom of a building: without acknowledgment, they become the source of failure.
A good place to start is with avoiding avoidance. Speaking your heart to your close friends can sometimes be a burden, but allowing your loved ones to see into that hurt can absolutely be the way Christ wants to love you in that moment. Knowing this, Satan hates when you allow others to know the depths and desires of your heart, because if community is how Jesus loves us, isolation is how Satan destroys us.
Imperfection is a natural part of humanity, but God delights in the aspiration towards perfection, and vulnerability is one way we can do that. Satan’s greatest desire is for us to believe that we are completely alone, no one cares what we’re going through, and we need to earn the Father’s love. Well guess what: those are three of the biggest lies you can ever believe. As Pope Benedict the XVI says “we are made not for comfort but for greatness.” Vulnerability is uncomfortable at times, maybe even often, but it’s also necessary, because a relationship without vulnerability isn’t a relationship at all.
So, be vulnerable, seek others’ hearts, and fulfill your call to greatness!
With Love, Team 7