When I was a teenager growing up in an affluent suburb outside Minneapolis, I felt it was not cool to be from this place when I visited the city or other towns. There was a sense of entitlement that people felt went with living in this town and I did not want to be one of “those” entitled people. I wanted to fit in with the immediate crowd around me.
I have witnessed various relationships fall apart because one of the people found themselves wanting to please others in situations outside their relationship, and ultimately loose both relationships.
Being comfortable with who one is, where one comes from, with whom one is in relationship is a gift one gives to others. It opens up an honest beginning to first impressions, which is important. Being comfortable with oneself is not always easy, though. I have been working hard at accepting what my voice sounds like in recordings, and my image in photography. Over a number of years of deliberate effort I have come to a place of moderate comfort with my voice and looks.
Even more crucial and vulnerable is our comfort with that which is deeper and more intimate to our being, that being our faith. There is an aversion to not wanting to be seen as a radical or extremist, or perhaps an escape into such a role so as to avoid a more extended relationship. Simply stating that one is a Christian can lead being stereotyped by others. Revealing one’s hope in Jesus, or that one will pray for someone opens up a deep vulnerability. It is also a great gift. Most people want to know what motivates others. Simply stating that I will pray for someone is almost always appreciated. It is a sign that we care. But letting someone else know that this relationship with God is important also means that they will remember this when we do not feel very holy or are not living up to the higher standards others may feel goes with such belief. Being vague leaves us more wiggle room in our infidelities, it also endangers our intimacies. Loving God means loving God. In the same way as wanting the world to know about one’s romantic joy; so, too, is it important to come to the place of openness and comfort with our deepest and most defining love.