This past weekend, Kurt & I were at Mark Oestreicher’s Middle School Campference. Â I was asked to talk for a few minutes on something that I wish every Jr. High leader would either start or stop. Â It seemed to get some good traction with the people there — so I thought I’d post it here, too.
Lots of us work pretty hard creating places to â€œPUT OUR BEST FOOT FORWARDâ€.
– to â€œManage our Brandâ€
– to get a bunch of â€œfollowersâ€ â€¦. by tweeting clever things
– to have a bunch of Facebook â€œfriendsâ€ â€¦ or Instagram â€œlikesâ€
And Iâ€™m definitely one of these people, too! Â Â Just this week, I posted a few Instagram photos.
-One that might make me seem witty.
– One that might make me seem like a really good youth pastor.
– One that might make me seem like a romantic husband. (boy, those kind of posts always get a lot of response, donâ€™t they?)
And I wouldnâ€™t want you to know how many times I checked back to see how many people â€œLIKEDâ€ what I put out there. Every time someone did â€¦ it gave me a little jolt.
BUT â€¦ LEST YOU THINK Iâ€™m HERE TO RANT AGAINST SOCIAL MEDIA â€¦
Hereâ€™s what I am here to ask:
In addition to us being so preoccupied with having places toÂ â€œput our best foot forwardâ€â€¦
What if we all worked just as hard to find places to PUT OUR WORST FOOT FORWARD?
But when I say â€œplacesâ€, I donâ€™t mean virtual places.
I mean â€œSafe Peopleâ€.
People who can KNOW THE WORST PARTS OF US.
People who can KNOW WHERE WE FAIL,
WHERE WEâ€™RE VULNERABLE
WHERE WE MOST NEED HELP.
And they love us anyway.
Who knows the crud that you struggle with?
Â Can you name names?
It takes decision â€¦ and effort.
If a struggle is pretty easy for you to talk with someone about â€“ that’s probably not the kind of struggle Iâ€™m referring to. Â I’m talking about the kind that you’re REALLY rather keep to yourself.
This one of those subjects that weâ€™re quick to tell students that they needâ€¦
But thatâ€™s one of the TOUGHEST for us to actually do ourselves.
Maybe youâ€™ve even taught students this verse before:
JAMES 5:16 Â “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
And we â€œbelieve itâ€ â€¦ we really do.
BUT ITâ€™S ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS I KNOW TO PUT INTO PRACTICE.
We work HARD to get a LOT of people to know us A LITTLE BIT.
We might be better served if we worked as hard to get a COUPLE people to know us ENTIRELY. Â Â Â Embarrassingly entirely.
Who KNOWS you? Â Â REALLY knows you? Â Â Â Can you name names?
Not your facebook profile, or just the cleverness that we saturate Twitter with. Â â€œthat guyâ€™s so funny! ” Â “that girl has the wisest comments!â€
Who knows the last time you spoke to someone you love in a way that would HUMBLE you if it got shown on a screen at your church?
Who knows the last time you saw a pornographic image on your computer?
(Not just that â€œporn is a challenge for meâ€â€¦ Â but specifically, when the last time you saw a naked image?)
Who knows the last time you did that thing that you never want to do again?
NOT so that you can feel shamed. But so that you can â€œbe healedâ€.
Itâ€™s tough. It really is.
And not everyone is ready to hear this kind of confession from you.
Iâ€™ve tried it â€¦ and had people run away.
People who I love. And they listened. But then they never brought it up again.
Maybe because they have their own struggles, too, and theyâ€™re scared?
Maybe because they wanted an image of me that was more perfect?
Iâ€™m not sure. But it stung.
And yet still â€“ I know I need this.
Hereâ€™s what we know is true â€¦ but often refuse to acknowledge:
Not getting 100 more twitter followers by Christmas isnâ€™t going to disqualify you from ministry.
Not having someone who knows your secret world could bring your ministry – and life – to a grinding halt one day.
There are people I know who are Out Of The Game because they kept secretsâ€¦
You probably know some, too.
I HATE THIS.
I hate telling someone where Iâ€™m weak.
I hate telling someone where Iâ€™ve failed.
I hate telling someone Iâ€™m tempted, or vulnerable.
I imagine what theyâ€™ll think.
But then someone confesses something to me, of their own free choice.
And you know what? I respect them more.
I want to root for them. I want to pray for them. I want to help them heal.
I love to have places to put my best foot forward.
But also I wish everyone would decide to find a place to put their worst foot forward, too.