I am fascinated by the book “The Shack”. I realize it was written 8 years ago, but I am just now discovering its beauty and depth. Today I read some truly intriguing parts that spoke so clearly to me I almost started to cry.
I have been struggling with my lack of openness with my friends. Over the years, I have found that the closer I get to people the less they like me. I have successfully alienated every good friend I have ever had. It hurts to get close to someone and then find out that they didn’t really care to begin with. That their motivation for getting close was to use/manipulate/control you. I don’t want to regurgitate my past to gross out another human, but if something does surface from the dark recesses of what I was, I really don’t want them to snarl and judge and walk away.
I want to know and help the people in my life, and, occasionally, feel like they want to know me too. A lot to ask in this self-serving world.
I have been recently asked to share more of myself with a group of new friends, and I can’t do it. I can’t risk the pain of rejection one more time. The pain of having one more person turn their back on me and walk away. Like most people I desire a closeness with fellow humans and a camaraderie that will stand through time. I am not talking about replacing my fellowship with the trinity, it will always remain paramount. I am talking about wanting someone be “Jesus with skin on” and fellowship with me. A friendship based on a mutual love of God and each other. And that is where the book comes in.
During one of the conversations that the characters are having, Sarayu says “Trust is the fruit of a relationship in which you know you are loved.” Could it really be that simple? She then says “Because you do not know that I love you, you cannot trust me.” Have I been loving and trusting the wrong people for so long that when the right people come along, I can’t see them? Even my husband, whom I love, I have trouble trusting.
I guess the years of self-loathing and condemnation are harder to overcome than I originally thought. I want to be open and vulnerable, but my trust issues keep getting in the way.
One of the groups I have recently started volunteering with stated that they have an “upside down leadership” form of government. They don’t place one person ahead of another, all contribute, all needs are addressed before going further so that each individual is comfortable within the group. Sounds good, but is it possible? Then I started reading this book and it states a similar precept that is fundamentally hard to grasp. “We have no concept of final authority among us, only unity. We are in a circle of relationship, not a chain of command… What you’re seeing here is relationship without any overlay of power. We don’t need power over the other because we are always looking out for the best.” “Hierarchy imposes laws and rules and you end up missing the wonder of relationship that we intend for you.” This instance is referring to relationship with God as well as relationship with other people.
I think I will choose to be more trusting with those who claim to want to know me. Maybe I can’t risk the hurt again, but I can’t not risk the glory that that could be found either. I will trust God, and I will trust in my new fellowship of believers as well. If they walk away, I will wave goodbye while I cry; but if they choose to stay, I will attempt to have the kind of God centered fellowship that the Lord intends for every one of his beloved creatures.
Excerpts from The Shack by William P. Young
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, and a part-time basket case who wants to be a full time writer.