Tuesday, 22 April 2014

On Daring Greatly - Some Vulnerable Thoughts

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. 
Not so much a book review as an attempt to sort out my thoughts about it. There is so much good in this book. Yet, I kept feeling that it's only a part of the puzzle, and some pieces are missing.

Then I got it. Of course, Brown is not writing a "Christian book" - she's addressing people of all faiths and worldviews, so that everyone can apply the principles to their own lives.

And I need to do just that. "Fill in the blanks" with my own convictions, and work out how the good stuff in her book is applicable to my life. Because I do, of course, recognize the patterns of shame in my life, the ways I am hiding my vulnerability.

And as I kept thinking about this, I realized: I've been learning about "daring greatly", as Brown defines it, all along my faith journey: from the Bible, from good Bible teachers, from the conviction of Holy Spirit.
I can't hide behind a facade of good deeds, "perfection" and people-pleasing. I am a sinner in need of God's love and grace. And it's only by God's love and grace that I can have the strength and courage to actually embrace vulnerability and keep living it consistently. Jesus is the "enough" for me.

The love and grace of Jesus are the missing puzzle pieces in daring greatly.

And as far as these have been present in my life, something has been happening. By the grace of God, I am no longer the same nervous people-pleaser that I was fifteen, twenty years ago. I think and act differently. God has made great progress in healing me, even if I'm still far from full "whole-heartedness". I can't take the credit for my maturity. Or whatever vulnerability I have been able to put into practice. And I admit there is still a long way to go. I keep needing God's grace.

Books like this are a help along the way, because they prompt me to ask myself the right kinds of questions. My heart beat faster when I got to the chapter on parenting and read the question:
"Are you the adult you want your child to grow up to be?"

This is what I want to keep from this book. Write it in big letters on the chalkboard of my soul. Keep asking myself these questions, and asking God to help me grow into a healthier direction.

Do I show respect to all the people I meet? Do I show love, in all the love languages there are?
Do I give my child the sense that he is valuable as a person? Do I model a healthy marriage relationship, too?

Do I admit my mistakes, and ask for forgiveness and make amends when appropriate?
Am I a person of integrity?

Am I ready to get out of my comfort zone?
To try new things without being stopped by fear of failure? And to put effort into doing things, into learning, growing, developing - even though it's not easy and I'm not instantly good?
Do I use my talents in a positive, fruitful way; set goals and work hard to reach them?

Am I worried about what other people think of me, trying to perform to expectations, and easily ashamed?
Or do I let other people see me as I am, do I put my real self and real thoughts out there, do I take the risk of being rejected?

Is my faith important to me, in deeds as well as in words?
Am I passionate about loving and following Jesus?
Do I pray, praise God, and read the Bible regularly, every day, not because I'm fulfilling a duty and trying to 'please' God, but because I truly believe that my relationship with God is the core and foundation of my life?

I know which questions I want to answer with "Yes" - what sort of person I want to be - and how I want my son to be. Whatever our talents, interests, temperaments, personalities.
And when we fail? Grace.
And when we succeed? All the more to the glory of God.

Thanks for the book, Brené Brown.

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