"You connect closer to God through failure; if you're not failing, you're disconnected from your Creator and you're not living life."
"A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men." Proverbs 18:16 (KJV)
"And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.
Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads." Ezekiel 2:5-6 and 3:8 (ESV)
Today was the day I've been simultaneously dreading and looking forward to. After having a huge jam/create/reflection session, it was time to share our art with our tablemates. When my turn came, I sang a song that I wrote a couple of months ago called, "Grace of God". I thought I was in the clear; I had just finished the bridge and changed keys and then... I burst into tears. You don't understand how monumental this was for me. I was facing 3 of my biggest fears in succession: singing in front of people, singing something I'd written in front of people (essentially exposing myself), and I crying in front of people. You notice how these all have to do with appearances and what others think? Yeah, I'm working on it.
Anyway. So I sang and I cried and I couldn't finish my song, and I started to be disappointed in myself because I had broken one of the cardinal rules that I've used to guard myself for the past 13 years: Don't show people too much of yourself. Do NOT break character. Because you will fail, and they won't like you, and everything will fall apart. But then, something magical happened. The folks at my table supported and encouraged me. All of them listened intently as I sang, no one told me I sucked, and no one laughed at me when I cried. No one looked down on me. In fact, most of them gave me pretty awesome compliments. A dude named Warren patted me on the back. A girl named Mary told me she even envisioned a variety of beautiful colors in her mind as I sang.
As we closed for the day, that same Mary hugged me and said she was really glad that she met me this weekend, "I like the way you think about life. The things you were saying, the questions you were asking, they were all just... they made me think about a lot of things I've been struggling with. You're awesome." And I was awestruck. Someone actually benefited from meeting me in some way? Me? Really? Not only that, but I touched someone without even trying to. Wow.
And these were just small personal moments I experienced. There was so much more we discussed and that I reflected on, and it's going to take me some time to work through it all. I am accepting, however, that it's time for me to rethink everything. And I mean, everything. Maybe I'm making a breakthrough?