I swear, the more I open up my mouth and tell my story, the more people do the same. It’s freeing for us both.
I’ve said before that since it’s easier to say, “Me too,” I’m willing to share first and give the other person that benefit. It’s been a tremendous blessing in my life to finally be unmasked.
Look, I know that the world is not a safe place. I’m not saying that you have to announce your secrets to the world. And I’m definitely not saying that you should feel ashamed if you choose to keep them.
But that said, telling my story has taken away much of my shame and given me freedom and joy. I want that for you too.
I dare you to find one person– one safe person– and take off your mask this week. Tell your story; it’s okay if you’re timid. I was a mouse about my OCD once upon another life. Now I get to be the lion.
For my 31st birthday, my delightful friend Elyse made a list of 31 things she liked about me. I had done this for Elyse’s birthday because my roommate Desiree did it for me when I turned 30. It’s such a fun idea!
One of the things Elyse wrote about me was this:
26. Your integrity—everyone I talk to only has the BEST things to say about you because you are so consistent wherever you are and whomever you are with
I am deeply humbled and honored that she would say this, but I do have to say that I am really glad she did because my integrity is something I think about a lot. I make a concerted effort to always be only and exactly who I am. I keep only one Facebook account (instead of keeping a second one just for work, as many of my students add me) precisely for this reason. If it’s not something I should post on my wall or on my blog, then I have to stop and consider if I should be posting it at all. I want my online presence to match my real life presence, my work presence to match my home presence to match my church presence. I have this strong, strong desire to be only one person and for people to love me for exactly who I am.
It’s not that hard to have integrity when you like who you are. Thankfully, God (and the VlogBrothers) has given me confidence to be the silly, nerdy, passionate English geek that I am. To not take myself too seriously, to give grace, to care deeply about whatever I really do care deeply about. To take risks in walking around without the normal masks people like to wear. To trust that I have intrinsic value. To be unashamed of my OCD. To vocalize my shortcomings. To be real with people in the hopes that they will be drawn to the honest me.
I’m not perfect by any means. (Of course not! Don’t be ridiculous.) I have secrets and faults and things I am ashamed of. But as I grow with Christ, I am more and more confident that my identity is found in him and that I am free to be exactly who he made me to be– and only that person.