Last fall I received an Advance Reader's Copy of Scary Close while at a conference in Chicago. I kept putting off reading it though, because Donald Miller kept talking about how it was about finding true intimacy and how we'll never feel loved until we drop the act. I didn't really feel like that applied to me. I have found love and I already thrive in an intimate relationship with my family.
I thought the book wasn't for me.
I was wrong.
It's a book full of truths and peeling away the onion-like layers of a life even like mine.
You can't not grow from reading it.
I love chapter two and I adore Bob Goff. If you've read Love Does, I have no doubt you adore him too. He and Donald are longtime friends and is probably the most encouraging person on the planet. Saying "You are good at relationships" to someone who thought he was about as good at them as an elephant could be a good ballet dancer, it stopped Donald cold.
And really it was the beginning of the change. The beginning of realizing the root of all his insecurities and selfishness and pretending.
I've since begun using this with my kids. When they're struggling with something, I'll look them straight into the eye and tell them they're good at it. Not like I'm lying to them and a have false view of reality, but rather that they know I believe in them so fully that I know deep down in the depths, they're good at it. And come time and hard work, that which is down deep, will come bubbling up.
What do you think? Would that work for you? Just having someone believe in you so fully that you realize they see something in you that you just can't possibly see?
Or in Chapter five...
I never leave a workout satisfied or proud of myself. And for that matter, I never quit a writing session thinking I've worked hard enough either. Or a teaching gig or a business meeting or anything else. I'm so bad about this I used to mow my lawn then crawl around on the grass with a pair of scissors, cutting uneven blades of grass.
No kidding. I might have a problem.
There are really only two things a person can do when they're that much of a perfectionist. They can either live in the torture and push themselves to excel or they can quit. I tend to go back and for the between the torture of working too hard and the sloth of quitting.
YES! Me too!
Alright, I've never taken scissors to the grass but I have definitely moved something on my bookcase about 1/4 inch to get it just right. Or rewrote a card because the handwriting wasn't straight enough. I've also quit something (ok many things) because I wasn't good at it right away. I wasn't instantly perfect like I thought I should be. Needed to be.
The thing is that Don's right, The problem is this: those of us who are never satisfied with our accomplishments secretly believe nobody will love us unless we're perfect.
...We don't think of our flaws as the glue that binds us to the people we love, but they are. Grace only sticks to our imperfections. Those who can't accept their imperfections can't accept grace either.
I'm sitting here with my computer and coffee realizing how every chapter is brilliant and my pages are full of highlights and underlines and notes and stars in the margins. But another section that really stood out to me was in chapter twelve. (By the way, I'm not giving you page numbers in all of this because I'm fairly certain mine will be different than yours since it's not a final, finished copy).
Chapter twelve is titled, Great Parents Do This Well.
I'm noticing a common characteristic of healthy families, though. The characteristic is this: kids with parents who are honest about their shortcomings seem to do better in life.
What I mean is parents who aren't trying to be perfect or pretend they're perfect have kids who trust and respect them more. It's as though vulnerability and openness is the soil that fosters security. And I'd say that's the quality I most often see in the children of honest, open parents. I see security.
...If you think about it, parents who are open and honest with their kids create an environment in which children are allowed to be human.
...(Don's friend Paul speaking) God said this: "God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. When you are with God, there is no darkness, no hiding, no pretending. When you are with God, you have the freedom and courage to be yourself."
That is 100% the type of relationship I want with my kids, with my husband. I want this in all areas of my friendships. Truth telling, being raw and real even if it's uncomfortable.
So I'm raising my coffee cup to authenticity. Because I want security and grace and freedom and the courage to be myself.
What did you think? What jumped out at you? Even if you've only read a little so far, what have you learned?
Let's chat via the Comments Section...because I'm so excited to delve even deeper into it all!