What makes us so hesitant to be ourselves with others? Why do we close ourselves off, only showing what we want others to see?
There are so many possible answers to these questions, but I think it all boils down to fear. Whether it is fear of being judged, laughed at, cheated, or even fear of being hurt. It is likely the basis of why we only open a few windows to our inner selves.
This is especially true around strangers.
It could stem back to how we were raised and it could also result from experiences we have had in life. Painful moments mold us as much - if not more - than joyful moments do. Without getting into too much of the intricacies, we will just say that all of our life experiences make us who we are -- and thus can reveal a lot about why we only show certain parts of ourselves.
Let me tell you why this has been on my mind. See, I discovered this Christian writer's conference I would really like to go to. It is at a camp -- similar to a retreat. They have what they refer to as "hotel rooms" that come in single and double occupancy. When I attempted to book it, it looked as though the private rooms were sold out -- which leaves me with a double, should I choose to go.
The very idea of sharing personal space with a complete stranger just doesn't sit well with me. At all. In fact, I'd love to go to this conference but the mere fact that I may be sleeping next to Jane Doe just, well -- let's just say it is enough for me to think ahead to booking early for the 2018 conference.
This whole scenario has made me think -- why am I having such a hard time sharing a personal space with a stranger? What am I afraid of? (People have done this for years, I know)
I thought about Jesus and how he was, in a sense, homeless. He would stay with people as they welcomed him into their home. He embraced people. He loved people. Even people he didn't know.
Jesus didn't put a wall up around himself to protect himself from strangers. Jesus spent time with people he didn't know without fear. In fact, Jesus even kept company with the outcasts and the undesirables -- the people you think would be feared the most.
Jesus shared himself with everyone.
How did he let himself be comforted by strangers and be himself - Jesus - without worry? He lived breathed, and walked on the earth just as we have. So why wasn't he scarred or bruised from years of living. Why did he not feel the need to protect himself? (Duh.. he is Jesus).
Jesus knew that he wasn't alone. He knew his Father was with him and that his father would protect him. He knew not to fear -- for real. We quote verses from the bible and we talk about not fearing, but we do anyways. But, Jesus -- he didn't. He lived out the peace spoken in his words, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." - John 14:27 (NIV)
Jesus knew he had nothing to fear. He knew there was a purpose and a plan for everyone he met. We should know this, too. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9