My brain seems to be running on overdrive this week with all the random, fascinating tidbits running through it. The lectures, small group discussions and one on one chats have certainly provided fuel for the brain fires. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all that’s going on. Oh heck, I might as well admit that I have absolutely no clue what’s going on up there. Whatever it is, however, it’s certainly challenged me in many ways and made me think about how I respond in life and how others respond as well.
Through this whole process, I’d have to say that one phrase keeps coming to mind: “You first.” This can be in response to the ideas of sharing, caring, forgiving, repenting, talking etc. You name it, my brain has probably fired a couple neurons in response to it this week. In each and every one of these subjects, the idea of “you first” keeps coming to mind.
“I really want to forgive you for what you’ve done, but you go first.”
“I want to reach out to you and say that I’m there, but you first.”
“I want to discuss how I see God fitting into my life, but you first.”
“I need to tell you how scared I am, how helpless I feel, but you first.”
“I want to feel comfortable enough with you to cry, but you first.”
“I really think you’re cute and want to tell you, but you first.”
Now I’m not saying that these are all things that the people here are saying or thinking. Rather, “you first” seems to be the knee-jerk response in our culture today. We want to put ourselves out there and tell others how we feel and what we’re thinking, but we’re so afraid to start that dialogue with others because we might get rejected for it.
Think about it. Coming from a background in the grocery business, I have seen it become taboo to talk about almost anything besides the weather. Sometimes even that. As human beings, we need to interact with others, share our hopes and fears, our ups and downs, but we’re constantly afraid to do so. Society has often told us this is not okay.
So how do we break this barrier and let it all out? You may not like the answer. In order to get over this faux pas, sometime we have to go first. If you are waiting for someone to do or say something, sometimes you just have to go first. And not just because you expect them to reciprocate, because sometimes they aren’t going to. Sometimes they won’t want to. Sometimes they’ll be too afraid to.
Look at those statements again. Can you see yourself thinking them at one point or another? I know I can. I still struggle, even with people I know and love, and know they feel the same, to start the conversation. I am so terrified of being rejected by others for who I am, what I think, what I say, that I’m often silenced by my own fear. I’ve definitely come a long way, and have even started changing for the better. But there is still a long way from me to go.
Who knows, maybe you’re not wired like that. Maybe you have no problem starting the conversation and putting yourself out there. Maybe you can tell it like it is, despite the fact that others may think less of you for it. If that’s the case, great. Go ahead and say it. Because there is always someone out there that is too afraid to say it first. It might even be me.
And when you do, enjoy it. When we finally break past this barrier, that’s when we can truly communicate with others and share ourselves.
Break the barrier. God Bless!