Stopping the "Shoulds"

I never noticed the book title details. I thought it was the Gift of Imperfection, by Brene Brown. Imperfection being the gift. It's actually the Gifts of Imperfection. There are gifts that come with being imperfect. It's challenging my paradigm today.

This week has been a really difficult week. Difficult conversations, trying to articulate my thoughts, and processing deep things relating to my identity, weighed me down. I'm trying to put into practice what my spiritual director has challenged me to do. Don't judge your responses to things. Be curious about them. Don't let shame circumvent the process of actually getting to know yourself better. Understanding the whys of why I respond to situations is more important and can produce growth. Shame is stunting and overall unhelpful. Usually I choose shame. Brown calls it the "shame storm". I'm trying to choose another path these days.

Stopping and breathing is one way I thing I need to do more of. 

Stopping the mad rush of thoughts- the "I shouldn't feel this way" or "I should know better" is another thing. 

Stopping my reactions based on what just happened which can hurt others. 

Digging deep and choosing to face whatever it is takes courage. I do need more of that.

As a believer I know so many things. I've been taught since I was young, have discovered more as an adult, and continue to learn. I know much about what I should be. Who I should become. But the shoulds sometime are a burden. Shoulds discourage. Shoulds bring shame and condemnation.

Why am I afraid of things like conflict, people's displeasure of me, and things that don't run smoothly? What triggers my heart responses? How can I actually change? 

I'm on a journey of courage. Choosing vulnerability and praying it will birth greater authenticity in my relationships with others and with God.

Authenticity and vulnerability are biblical truths. My Asian culture tells me that  conformity is important. My American culture  also tells me that conformity is important. The Christian subculture also encourages conformity, but we give it other names. My observation is that it leaves us disconnected and distracted from one another. We are busy. Busy conforming. Busy being someone we're not.

"Authenticity is letting go of who we think we are supposed to be. It means having the courage to be imperfect, to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. " ~Brown 

It's the start of a new week. I'm taking a breath this morning and choosing courage. I spoke at a women's brunch yesterday morning. In front of an amazing group of women I spoke of this journey and we shared many laughs over my story. It takes courage to let go of who we think we're supposed to be. We spend much of our life trying to be someone else. Our lives should be more spiritual, I should be more servant like, I should be a more patient and loving spouse, parent, friend, daughter, son....  After I finished my short talk I had to reach deep inside and pull out the strength to embrace the sense of "nakedness" I felt in front of these women, most of whom I'd never met before. I know that I serve One who knows my heart. Choosing vulnerability is countercultural in a setting like this.

We now have this light shining in our heart, but we are ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great Treasure. This make it clear the the power is from God and not from ourselves. II Cor 4:7

Maybe it's letting go and letting this Treasure shine through our cracks.
Maybe it's doing it in the safety of community where we know we're not alone.
Maybe it's sharing our stories and listening to others share theirs.

I'm on the journey. 
You ready to join me, too? 


  1. Wow, this is exactly what I was pondering this week, whether to be authentic and vulnerable with others or to hold back. Thank you! God really speaks through your insights in amazing ways!


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