Do you want to hear a story?
My husband and I are having a house built. We know of a family that goes to our son’s school who also lives in the neighborhood. We were over checking on the progress of our house and just driving around last weekend. As we were driving down our street, I said to my husband, “Courtney apparently lives down our road somewhere not far from us!” And just as the words left my mouth, we saw her, standing on her front steps while her kids played in the driveway.
What a coincidence!
“You should go say hi!” my husband said. “No, no, no, please don’t make me!” was my reply. “The baby’s asleep and I don’t want to wake her. That’s weird anyway, right? Please don’t make me go over there!”
And I didn’t. As badly as I want friends, my shyness and introverted personality often win out. If you’ve read many of my other posts, you may know of my struggle. It’s sooo hard for me to put myself out there.
My pastor recently had a sermon entitled “Risk Being Known” that just hit me like a Mack truck. He was talking about the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), who was willing to risk being known by Jesus in order to have a relationship with him and the “living water” he told her about.
To quote my pastor, “She wasn’t just alone; she was lonely. She had defensive, self-protective mechanisms to manage her loneliness and to keep others away. She was hiding in plain sight. She went to the well at noon, in the heat of the sun, to avoid social contact. She was sarcastic and sharp with strangers, to avoid real connection.”
How often do I do the same. exact. things?
How often do I take another path as I’m walking to avoid contact with others? Or how often do I go places at off times so I don’t have to deal with people? Or how often do I make a joke or sarcastic comment so conversation doesn’t go any further?
Talk about convicting.
This sermon gave me the kick in the pants that I needed to be a friend. To “risk being known.” So I messaged Courtney (remember, the new neighbor from my story?) and told her how ridiculous I was being earlier that week. And you know what she said? She said she’s so excited for us to move into the neighborhood! We are excited to have friends down the street from our new house, and they are excited to have us there, as well!
But you have to make a move. You have to let yourself be available for relationship. We all want to feel like we belong, right? It’s easier said than done, I know. But being vulnerable with others lets them get to know who you are and love you for it.
To quote my pastor again, “Belonging, true belonging, is being known and being loved through and through. It can’t come so long as you live behind the mask. One way or another, you will have to risk being known to find true belonging.”
So what about you? Are you ready to belong? Are you ready to let others know and love you? Risk being known.