As many readers may already know, I’ve been doing a journalistic approach (previous Shamefessionals here) to my discovery of shame, fear, and vulnerability. For those who may not be reading along with the series, we are defining shame based off the research of Dr. Brene Brown. She defines shame as:
Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.”
For years, the shame-driven necessity and desire to “be right,” “believe right,” and “prove right,” drove me to placing God within these flimsy man-made boxes of dogmatic certainty and impenetrable, often non-contrite, inflexible, self-rightousenss.
Intricately tied to my chronic shame (which is, per Dr. Brene Brown, “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging”), I looked for Jesus and God’s presence in “all the ‘RIGHT’ places,” among the dogma, Creeds, councils, Fathers, and in the end, ultimately, within the Orthodox faith tradition. I mean, what could be more right than the word Orthodox, which means “right belief; right worship?” I had arrived….
Or so I thought? Yes, I know Jesus is there and was there in that aspect of Christianity and religion. However, I’ve come to see, in light of my shame, I found Him only there, due to the dogmatic certainty and rightness inherent to the word “Orthodox,” because I simply wanted to be right, certain, and correct; I didn’t bother to look for Him elsewhere, among many, little long my own heart.
These days I find myself seeking to be comfortable with what Sarah Bessey calls “Evolving Faith!” I find myself opening myself up to the places and people I use to believe lacked Jesus, and above all, opening myself up to just simply being in community with others on this wild, ridiculous ride of spirituality, faith, belief, and wandering.
I find myself simply wanting to be with those who have community, trust, belonging, love, faith, and a sense of restoration about who they are as a community and what they do. This can be found in many manifestations and groups of people.
Sharon Salzberg talks about how we look at God as though we look at the sky with a straw. Sometimes we need to pay attention and be mindful that our straw isn’t the only one; nor necessarily the “right one” (as if it was ever about being “right”). Sometimes we can look through another straw. Sometimes we can simply lay aside all straws and just be in awe of this immense sky.
For me? I simply need and want to be with fellow seekers of the God-man we call and know as Jesus.