Go Ahead and Put Yourself Out There
In High School I remember being legitimately terrified at the idea of being rejected, unwanted or uninvited by my peers. I was so consumed by this fear, that I became what I felt people wanted me to be. I used humor and tenacity to draw people in, but also to keep them at a distance. I would entertain so they’d focus on that, rather than seeing me.
An interesting dynamic that came with this, is those who were closest to me saw a much sadder and needier version of me. When I wasn’t in the light and on display, rather, choosing to dare to be a little more open and vulnerable, this fear of rejection grew and I was utterly desperate to keep these people close to me. The trouble was, keeping them close was centered around me, and protecting my brokenness; rather than pursuing a mutually beneficial friendship. It still makes me a little sad to consider and remember this version of me, and the people I was close to back then.
Fast forward a couple years into my marriage at the mature and wise age of 20, the problem didn’t magically go away.
Through the years, and unfortunately through many heart breaking moments, usually at the cost of those closest to me, as well as more broken and lost friendships than I ever wanted; I have learned some really valuable and powerful lessons.
I paid dearly for these lessons, I know their value, so I hold them very close to my heart now.
I also want to share them freely with others who may struggle with similar challenges.
People are imperfect, and sometimes they will hurt you. Sometimes on purpose, and sometimes on accident. That pain feels pretty similar either way. Remember, you are people too; and you are hurting people, accidentally and on purpose too. We need grace from others, we need to extend grace to others.
People are amazing and valuable and beautiful. We are “made in the image of God” Genesis 1:27. We don’t decide who is valuable, worthy, or acceptable. This means, people’s ability to see or not see our value, doesn’t determine whether or not we are valuable. We are. You are. It’s nice when people notice, but it’s true even when they don’t.
You are the way you are on purpose. God didn’t create you the way you are on accident. Now, do we need to grow, learn, adjust, develop, and mature? Of course. We have pretty clear descriptions in the Word of what people made in the image of God are supposed to look like. We are to be people of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When we aren’t walking in these, we need to aim to get back on track. But, I’m talking about the foundational building blocks of who we are. I am a person that gets lost in thought. I am a person who naturally challenges the way things are, and it’s hard for me to just go along. I enjoy a challenge, an adventure, and impossible odds. God made me that way, He likes that about me. You are unique and awesome and beautiful and He made you that way. You don’t need to look like someone else, we need you to be the complete and whole version of you God created you to be.
The challenge for each of us, is to be the kind of person you hope, want, and need others to be for you. Not with an exchange mentality. “I’ll do this if you do too.” But with a genuine heart to be the kind of person the world needs. We can’t wait for someone else to do it first. We can’t measure how well everyone else is doing to determine how faithfully we walk it out. The comfort I can offer you, if you dare to live this, you will change the world for the people around you, and you’ll begin to see others risking and stepping out to be the person the world needs as well.
There is so much more to say concerning all this, but I’ll stop here for now. Allow me to close with this last thought. If you’ve been hurt and you find yourself disconnected and defensive, I see you, I feel you, and I’m really sorry. Your pain is real and I wish it never happened; but if you stay there, that will be the end of your story, and it doesn’t have to be. Consider the story of this broken imperfect guy, who is making it through. Go ahead and put yourself out there, consider and keep these few insights in your heart, and see what good things happen as a result of your courage. I’m excited to see it, and the world desperately needs that version of you.
Love you all!
- Daniel Sabo