Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday five: my face in this world

Sally from the RevGalBlogPals writes:

I have recently been reading a book entitled Jesus wept, it is all about vulnerability in leadership. The authors speak of how Jesus shared his earthly frustrations and vulnerabilities with a select group of people. To some he was the charismatic leader and teacher, to others words of wisdom were opened and explained and some frustrations shared, to his "inner circle of friends: Peter, James and John, he was most fully himself, and in all of these things he was open to God.

So I bring you this week's Friday 5:

1. Is vulnerability something that comes easily to you, or are you a private person?

I'm a pretty open person; I lead with my heart, sometimes too much so. It's great to be in my forties and to not care so much what people are thinking of me--that's such a barrier to really getting to know them (not to mention a festival of grandiosity...). :-) I value connection more than protection, I guess.

2.How important is it to keep up a professional persona in work/ ministry?

Depends on your definition of "professional," I suppose. I'm clear about what my standards are, but I'm much more comfortable being approachable and getting to know people, listening to them. I'm not formal, but I think I'm pretty good at what I do. Focus shouldn't be on me anyway!

One caveat: though I'm mostly pretty open, I think there are times for discretion about how I'm feeling. The good of the group and just-plain considerate behavior should come first.

3. Masks, a form of self protection: discuss...

I guess we all wear them in some situations. Since coming out of the closet, though, I really value the ability to be honest about who I am and what I'm doing. Concealment takes work. Sometimes it's necessary for safety, sometimes for maintenance of appropriate boundaries, but I find it exhausting over the long term. My internal editor has already done enough work for a lifetime!

4. Who knows you warts and all?

Beloved, as well as many friends--I'm honest enough that I think many people see as full a version of me as their lens and level of interest allow. I spent my early years sort of tying my own hands with worry about being liked, and thought of as smart/kind/interesting/etc. that I try not to spend a lot of energy on my "persona." I'm more interested in what's happening around me, and finding my contribution within that sphere. When I'm worrying about what people think, I try to confess that worry to a trustworthy person. There's often a connection that's made in that moment of trust. I'm reasonably good, most of the time, at intuiting who those people can be.

5. Share a book, a prayer, a piece of music, a poem or a person that touches the deep place in your soul, and calls you to be who you are most authentically.

Because so much of myself comes alive in each of those places, you'd think it'd be easy to come up with a book or song or poem. There are many. The most honest answer I can give, though, concerns paying attention to my places of discomfort and praying about them. If I'm uncomfortable, 97% of the time that means I'm in the process of growing up a little bit. If I can't work it out in prayer, and need a perspective check, I talk with Beloved or a trusted friend. Often, the answer will show up around me, maybe in a worship service--through preaching, scripture, hymnody, etc.

Thanks, Sally--this was a thinker!


Diane said...

I am still pondering this.... I think you have good answers/thoughts/just the right amount of vulnerability for this.

Turbo: said...

Whoa. I loved your answer for #5 and agree that my uncomfortability is leading me into another growth spirit.

But why does it have to be so painful?!

FranIAm said...

I so loved reading your very thoughtful and thought provoking replies here.

thank you so much.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I like answer #5 a lot too. I think it's a great insight that discomfort means it's a place one needs to work on. I'll have to think about that.