Over the last 5 weeks or so, we’ve had a lot of visitors to our apartment. Without a doubt, one of the very first things people say upon entering our humble abode is “ooh, that’s a lot of shoes.” You see, here’s the deal, we live in about a 1,000 square foot apartment (we love it and we love living literally RIGHT ON White Rock Lake). We don’t have large closets and thus no where to really hide our shoes. We also don’t want to track germs all through our place so we leave our shoes on a rack by the door. I just counted and there are about 35 pairs of shoes (and that is not even counting my work/hospital shoes that I keep downstairs in our garage).
Here is what I am learning, far too many people live closeted lives. This is especially true in the church.
**Please note, I am in no way trying to be insensitive or make light of an important term/phrase to my LGBTQ brothers and sisters. I actually believe the LGBTQ community can help us, and most importantly the church, learn the significance of freedom, joy, and the vulnerability of not living closeted lives.**
A while back one of my good friends asked me: “What is the distinct witness that [the LGBTQ community] can offer about the gospel?” This is such an important question because my LGBTQ friends and acquaintances are the most courageous, vulnerable, and authentic people I know. We (the church) have so much to learn from our LGBTQ brothers and sisters!
Parenting and newborn/infant life with Jimmie has been far more difficult than we could have ever imagined. We have somehow experienced both our brightest and darkest days over the last 5 weeks. We have shed more tears and said more curse words than I care to think about or count.
Instead of putting on a happy face and only sharing the good moments on social media, we’ve embraced vulnerability and we have been very open about our joys and struggles. It was incredibly scary to do this and we experienced some vulnerability regret (most of my thoughts about vulnerability come from Brene’ Brown’s book: Daring Greatly).
Here is what we are learning though: there is freedom in vulnerability. Vulnerability is not weakness or throwing in the towel. In fact, I believe vulnerability is the most courageous thing any of us can do.
I cannot tell you the number of people who have joined us in vulnerability and said, “me too.” I believe our embracing vulnerability has given others room and freedom they have never felt before to be vulnerable too. Continually people have shared with us “I never had anyone to talk about this with when I was going through (fill in the blank).” My friends, this should not be so!
This got me thinking, how many of us, including those of us who follow the way of Christ, live a closeted life in some form or fashion? I am guessing nearly all of us have something we are fearful might spill out of our closet. Yet, in the midst of the fear, it is really our deepest longing and desire (this is one thing I have learned from my LGBTQ brothers and sisters) to be fully known and loved! We are not meant to live in the closet! We are meant to live in FREEDOM!! We are not meant to live in darkness and isolation. We are meant to live in light and community!
We are choosing to embrace vulnerability and freedom regarding our struggles figuring out parenting and life with a newborn/infant. In the last five weeks I have had people come out to me about their own struggles with parenting, alcohol, their sex life, depression, loneliness, doubts about God, public image, finances, and many other areas where they have for far too long lived in shame and fear but are now embracing vulnerability and freedom.
Vulnerability is courageous and vulnerability is contagious.
So yes, we do have a lot of shoes by our front door. We will leave them there unashamedly as we figure out this whole new season of life, one day at a time.
Here’s to vulnerable living outside of the closet.