Julie joined her Confessional Community craving authentic relationships, but she wasn't entirely sure what to expect.
Written by Julie
Curt’s words remind us that babies arrive in this world looking for someone looking for them. As child number five, I cannot say that I was sought after. Little did I know that this unmet need trailed after me well into adulthood. I have often heard that we are wounded in relationships. And relationships are where we can grow through past hurts that have leaked into our present. I joined a Confessional Community longing to find others who would care to know me. I judged my need inconsequential and somewhat selfish, not knowing what I could possibly contribute in return.
An Uncertain Risk
“Would their voices reveal shame when they heard of my regrets? How could they really know me and still accept me?”
I was reluctant to band together with strangers in Zoom gatherings for a Confessional Community including men and women of varying ages and stages of life from across the country. Would they dip their chins when I shared how my brokenness had hurt others? Would they avert their glance when they noticed the weight of contained trauma beneath my words? Would their voices reveal shame when they heard of my regrets? How could they really know me and still accept me?
Taking the Leap
The first time I participated in my story sharing liturgy, their silence gave me space to peel back my angst along with my story. I stammered. I left pieces out. I told too many details. My nose dribbled. My eyes teared up. When I stopped talking, after what seemed like an hour (even though it was about twenty minutes) I dreaded looking at the faces on my screen.
No one left the Zoom room. Not one person grimaced. No one jumped in to fix me. Instead, their faces reflected kind attention. Their responses noted my courage in being vulnerable with them. One person acknowledged the hurt he felt when I spoke neglect. One man mentioned the hope he felt in his marriage when I shared a forgiveness offered my husband several years ago.
“No one left the Zoom room. Not one person grimaced. No one jumped in to fix me. Instead, their faces reflected kind attention.”
I could imagine myself as the one who was lost and my Confessional Community leaving the 99 in pursuit of me. Receiving their grace and acceptance is still a challenge. But showing up to listen, validate and affirm the stories of others while extending acceptance and grace unfolds easier amongst this group where I now belong.
Stay tuned to the CBK website for updates about Confessional Communities.