I decided to do a follow up post on to this subject because I had such a great response. Of all the posts that I have made to date this one has had the most comments. I ended up posting this on an online pastors forum that I frequent and my blog automatically posts to a site called Multiply. Between this blog and the other places I ended up with 10 different people who commented with many people leaving multiple comments. I gleaned a lot from everyone’s comments. Thank-you to everyone who took the time to comment!!!
Out of all of the comments there was one that really resonated with me. It was from a fellow named Keith. I met Keith on Multiply through my blog. Here’s what Keith had to say (I got his permission to share this):
When I went to live in Europe I found for the first time in my life I did not know what to say to people and would be struggling in the company of others which was a very painful experience for me – and still is. I thought that there was something psychologically wrong with me and was in need of some help. What I discovered about this was that when I lived here in Australia or NZ with my work I had a sort of persona I could act out and I was totally confident with absolutely no shyness and readily had something to share. I also noticed that I had this problem when not working except at that stage it was a matter that I spent my spare time in bars and clubs after work and alcohol and drugs had that way of loosening the tongue and personality. My days off were usually spent with close friends so this relating problem really was not that noticeable to me.
What Europe showed me was that I was not in my normal routines which included my usual employment, due to the initial language barriers, so for the first time I was really me!! I was stuck with myself and I discovered I was a bit strange. (smile) I have a sort of understanding of this from the point of view that because of earlier traumas in my life I had become the observer of life rather than a partaker so spent all my life living in an Ivory Tower as a form of protection if you like observing those around me as I was wary of people and what they could inflict on me. I did not know or have the skills to commune with people but I can tell you I had and have a very refined uncanny ability to read people even for a distance even where I cannot see them – weird? Without going into a very lengthy witness I sense there that, as with me, perhaps you have found that you can hide behind your collar or uniform or church and for some reason have a need to protect the vulnerable Kevin.
The Lord has been sharing with me this insight into my ivory tower – in particular to do with Christianity. I have been a Christan or turned back to God about 25 years ago and up until say a year ago I was the observer of this life too and stayed in my tower watching and learning and never mixing with Christians. The Lord put it on my heart to change this so about a year to 18 months ago I came down from my tower and started to mix with the Body which has been a trip and a half as you can imagine and again is a lengthy witness in itself. I think here of lots wife who became a pillar of salt and as an observer we can easily become recalcitrant or calcified in our minds and body with too much observation. I am not saying at all that it was not good to be in the tower because I have some wonderful gifts that only such an experience can give but the result can be likened top someone, having lived in the darkness of a cave, suddenly being exposed to daylight – it is a gradual process to customise the eyes to light and many tears are needed in that process. This observance of yours is perhaps your time to leave the tower and bring all those wonderful gifts you have learned to the body of your church. It may take a while but I am feeling here this is all the about what the Lord requires from you as He leads you into this new world that I see is opening around you with all your questioning of late. In a sense I see this as a renewal a new Kevin is emerging from the old.
Hope this is not too out there but food for thought.
This is what I said is response to Keith’s comments:
Wow Keith! You related VERY much how I am feeling. Thank you for sharing your heart! Vulnerability is definitely an issue for me – one that God is working on in my life right now. I have been a very guarded person. I am slowly beginning to change this about my life and I am recognizing that it is definitely not easy. I think that is where my initial thoughts were coming from. I choose to “guard” my heart from outsiders by relating what I do instead of how I am REALLY doing in my heart (or I am at least mixing the two right now as I begin to learn to become more vulnerable). Thanks for helping me clarify this in my heart!
I know that I still struggle with sharing what is truly on my heart. I like Keith’s description of someone coming out of a cave into the light. This has been me for the last year. Unfortunately, I have lived as someone who has distanced himself from others (even Lauren). Sharing my emotions is still very new to me and I am still learning how to do this well. I know that I have grown tremendously in the whole area of transparency since this time last year. I am in no way beating myself up here. I am just continuing to dig below the surface in order to be the man that God has created me to be.