Whole - Where are you?
Over the next few days I will be releasing a series of five blog posts as I journey through my friends new book, Whole. Steve is a pastor and friend and we have a very dear mutual friend in Rabbi Alan. I think it is fair to say that our lives were changed when we met this fun loving, caring and beautiful teacher. I met Steve in the summer of 2016. We have had great conversations and his work has been a real blessing to my walk of faith. He is a writer and also has a weekly podcast called This Good Word.
Whole is Steve’s second book. His first book called Beginnings, explores the seven days of creation from a generative perspective, the understanding that the seven days are always present in our lives. It is well worth a read, can be a book for small group studies (offering questions at the end of each chapter) and really steps into a socratic way of teaching and explaining the ever expanding word of God.
Whole is about restoring what is broken in me, you and the entire world. That’s the tag line. It is a beautiful piece of writing and came at a time when I was struggling with the brokenness in my heart, and if I am really honest coming face to face with the fact that brokenness even existed in the first place. I was deeply asking the question, where am I?
For many years I have worked to remain as whole as possible. I thought that brokenness meant that I would never have access to truly bringing forth dreams and hopes in my heart. Reading this book has started me on a journey to deal with pain, trauma and healing in a new way. The kind of healing that seems to be leading to a more authentic, centred and wise young woman who I enjoy being around.
I have had many years of journeying the word “shalom” which actually comes from a word meaning wholeness, not just peace. For some reason though the full experience of really seeing what might be broken, or not whole, was usually covered by the beauty of this truth but not actually letting it fully touch my insides. As a consequence and gracious trail of discovery over the past year, I have started to experience shalom in a whole new way. What does it mean to be touched by shalom? To be asked questions that seek your wholeness? And what does it mean to finally let go of all the broken pieces that seemed like weakness?
I think that it actually comes down to a very deep seated wrestling point for me and the fact that I have thought I would only experience love and approval if I did all I could to be loved. That just being me with all my many weaknesses and strengths wasn’t enough and projected perfection on myself and others made more sense. That this need for approval in all the areas of my life had been a narrow place that had restricted really living life to the fullest.
“If you’re addicted to approval, you’ve hidden your true self
so well that you can’t find it anymore. As more people like you,
you realise that few people love you, because you’ve never
given them anything real to love.” Whole – Pg 26
This quote appears early in the book. It reminded me of a conversation I had AT my brother once, oh gosh, cringe. I couldn’t understand where he was and what made our relationship uneasy. I ended the conversation with these painful words, “ I know you love me, but I am not sure you really like me” What did I say? What did I do to my brother as I said this with such guile and pain in my voice. I thought I was seeking HISwholeness but I was actually just covering pain in MY heart that would not go away. Well, maybe it did go away for a few minutes, I guess that’s the definition of an addiction though. It numbs pain for a while but never heals it. I realised that as the quote says, my addiction to approval meant my true self was being hidden. How long have I been hiding?
The truth is that I am very loved, VERY, by many friends and family, but I don’t always experience myself as being seen. I think that this seen is actually more connected to being valued and accepted rather than being celebrated for who I am. I do experience that in a pure way more and more these days.
All friendships are different and family dynamics can be full of very sore points, we all have our stuff, and we all live by expectations that can often do more damage than not. But, I think I am coming to see that “being seen”, actually hasn’t got anything to do with the “other”, as much as it does with my own addiction and defence mechanisms. The walls that I have created for various reasons. I have been trying to see the way the “other” was seeing me from the other side of a wall and there was no way I could see the way they were really seeing me. I wasn’t living into the wholeness of my true self. I cried out for approval, I still do, but things are becoming clearer as the walls start to come down.
So, where am I? I have been inside a fortified city and I have wandered the streets looking for something to satisfy my hurting heart. I have loved and broken things, I have searched for approval in the eyes of those I love and have had expectations that have harmed me more than the other. Where am I? I have been hiding behind addiction to approval. I believed the lie that I didn’t have everything that I needed to make me, me. I interacted way to many times with the question, did God really say? and I have been trying my best to pretend I wasn’t still in the midst of that conversation.
At the end of the first chapter of Whole, Steve offers five questions/statements. Here is one of them.
Finish the sentence and explain your answer. Vulnerability is…………………………………………………………………..
I hope that I have started to answer this question for myself. I hope with a greater hope and I actually have a smile on my face for the process Can you hear the whisper? Where are you?
You can purchase your copy of Whole by clicking here