Saturday, November 9, 2013

Compelling! Day 2

I was overwhelmed today, but in a good way. I've been going since 9:30 this morning and I had to leave the conference early tonight because I was overwhelmed, and I just needed to sit by myself and process a number of things. Because I am so out of sorts (in a good way), I won't get too much into the details of everything we did today. Here are a few thoughts and verses that came up in our discussions, though:

"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.

Fear not.
And then, to top it off, one of the staff members from our table took me aside and prayed for me. I was leaving, but this staff member, Bianca, stopped me before I got out the door and said, "Can I pray for you? I'd really like to pray for you right now." And she did. No one's ever done that for me before. No one's ever stopped me like that, as if to say Hey, I see you. I care about you. Let's take a minute to hold hands as I speak to God on your behalf. It was absolutely beautiful. To be honest I felt a little awkward, and after she finished I rushed out of there so I wouldn't start crying again. But it really was beautiful.

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?

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