Reblogged from a wonderful new blog I just found….I’m lovin’ this sister! So…are you too careful? Many times we convince ourselves that we are exercising self control (ah, the heart is deceitful!), but really it is the conceited worry that people will not think as highly of us as we want them to. Lovely painful truth there, isn’t it? It is if you are honest with yourself (surely your heart is not so deceitful that you cannot do that!). Some who know me may find it ironic that I am posting this article, because I tend to be a bit blunt in my speech and I am known to share whatever is going on with me, good, bad or ugly….to those I gotta say…You’d be surprised how much I DON’T say! And why. Mostly it DOES come back to this issue, well defined by Ruth….and that is just as bad as not filtering at all…..If we are careful it should be biblically defined…not “heart” defined or self defined. It should actually be because the Lord has taught us some self discipline. It should be…how about you? If you are completely honest, no pious sounding words to impress those around you or in church….are you too careful? And why?

The links to Beautifully Rooted and Grace Laced blogs are found at the bottom of this article…go check them out!~AGM†

 I hang up the phone and begin analyzing. Did she understand what I was trying to say? Did I offend her? Maybe I should have said this, but not that. What if…?

Some of us struggle with fear more than others. Sometimes we’re so careful to say enough, but not say too much. Love, but not blubber too vulnerably. Give, but not lose it all. Controlled and orchestrated feels safe to us; not being able to control what someone else thinks of you…is not. 

Being careful is a result of fear. Fear of man, fear of failure, fear of making a wrong move, fear that someone will be upset with you, will misunderstand, or misjudge. Fear that forgiveness is not real. Fear that recklessness will be too costly.

The only way to ensure that you will never be misunderstood is to not be known at all. Most of my life has been lived out publicly–even if only within my community. I was a pastor’s daughter from my teen years, then a ministry leader, a pastor’s wife, a blogger, and now as a wife of a Headmaster. In a life that is accessible and publicly viewed, where relationships are at the core of all effort…you can only be careful for so long, and only to a certain extentYou simply can’t say everything to everyone’s liking or live for everyone’s approval. You will fail. You will disappoint. You will experience conflict. Public or not, that is at the heart of every relationship. The deeper the relationship, the greater the potential to reveal yourself as the weak and sinful person you really are. And, frankly, I just don’t really like that.

But I do like deep relationships. In fact, I thrive on them. 

And so, there is no way around it…I must walk straight into the beautiful, tender, vulnerable, grace-giving, grace-receiving, pruning, weeding, brick-laying, edge-sharpening, soul-satisfying arena that is community.

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3) 

Is it possible that our carefulness, our well-controlled responses, our resistance to vulnerability, has less to do with the wisdom of self-control, and more to do with a conceited worry of wanting others to think more highly of us? Could it be that we are motivated by fearful rivalry?

Here’s the good news: God didn’t call us to a life of carefulness, but rather a life of faith in the midst of utter failure.He’s called us to humility. The life we live is to be lived out void of fear and guilt; it is to be lived out in forgiveness. The fellowship we are meant to have with brothers and sisters in Christ was intended to be messy (on account of sin), but possible in rebirth. It is based on grace, not perfection. 
It is not reckless to be in genuine relationship with others when we are tethered to Christ. What freedom we have, therefor, to abandon the caution, the guardedness–the carefulness–and to embrace deep and meaningful relationships with joy and confidence.