“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.” – Alice Walker

I had some company this past weekend. When they arrived, I handed them a set of keys and told them to make themselves at home. I had everything out I thought they might need (i.e., bedding, blankets, extra towels and pillows, etc.). Every door was open, except the door to my room. I kept that shut because I did not want them to have to see that I did not make my bed, put away laundry that was folded, or that I had a couple storage containers stacked along one wall as I was sorting out what needs to go in the basement for past seasons and what my daughter was outgrowing.

How interesting that the definition of “open” according to dictionary.com is “allowing access, passage, or a view through an empty space; not closed or blocked up: “the door was wide open”.” Being open requires being vulnerable. That is hard for some. I’ve had difficulty being open. I used to have a fear of looking bad and in honoring looking good I would not open myself up fully because I was ashamed of what I thought to be the dark and ugly places in my life. I didn’t want anyone to see that about me. While I’ve had a lot of breakthrough in this area, it still shows up…this past weekend in the form of closing my bedroom door.

More often than I’d like to admit I am not vulnerable with people. I’m not even vulnerable with myself. The parts of myself I don’t like I keep hidden away like they don’t exist. This looks like choices I’ve made in the past, not saying I’m not okay when I’m really not okay, not sharing myself with the world in fear that I don’t have as much to offer as the next person. It makes sense when I look at part of identity. It screams “I don’t need you. I can do this all by myself.” That’s totally how I have lived my life.

I’m now at a place where I acknowledge I need others and I can’t do it by myself. I need God. I need my friends and my family. My life has been so richly blessed since I’ve entered this space and began to open myself up to others and to God and not kept myself silent or hidden. I have also grown so much – mentally, socially, emotionally, and spiritually – since taking on the practice of being vulnerable and open and have learned to begin accepting all of me.

We’ve heard it said that we are our own worst enemies. I definitely have not been my own friend when I’ve denied my needs and desires and dark places. I’ve denied my right to grow. I’ve denied myself of a close and personal relationship full of vulnerability with God—with my friends and family, my daughter, or myself. I’ve denied the world of the contribution I’ve been created to be by not sharing myself openly and vulnerably.

In the midst of learning to accept myself more, I’ve learned to trust God more with my “ugly” places…my untidy rooms and closed doors. Trusting God is not a onetime event. It is a hard posture. We need to continuously pour our hearts out to Him.

By keeping my bedroom door shut most of this weekend, I kept my guests from seeing that I am human also and sometimes the integrity in my life is out due to living a big life. In hindsight, there’s nothing bad or ugly or wrong with not getting laundry put away or having my daughter’s clothing sorted through before company arrived. It’s just where I’m at.

Go…be open. Open the doors and windows to the dark places in your life to air out the stink and allow others to contribute. Allow God to contribute. Accept that you’re where you’re at and you have what you have. Don’t hold on to that which needs cleaned out. Don’t rely on yourselves to get that sorted through. Trust that God will help with that when you let Him.

Ironically, Craig has a new book coming out entitled Open. If you would like to purchase the book click here. If you’d like to read more about the book click here and if you’d like to check out a trailer for the book click here. Yes, lots of ways to get in on being more “open”. Here’s hoping that you’ll take advantage of at least one or two!