I was at work the other day doing some stuff before we opened, when a young man walks up to the door and peeks in. He doesn’t know that I see him. I start walking to the door as he wipes the condensation away from the window created by his breathing. I pop the door open and he rushes in.
Speaking quickly, he tells me that he needs to talk to me because there is some stuff going on. He goes on to tell me about some relationship stuff he’s going through and how he wants to help, but he doesn’t know exactly what to do. We talked for about an hour.
Somewhere in the conversation I made a statement that surprised even me. I said:
“It’s one thing to give of yourself to help others, it’s something completely different to ruin your own life just to keep somebody else from being offended.”
He looked at me like a hurricane of words just hit him the face and stomach. I realized that the statement had a lot of weight to it because of the situation he was in. So I repeated, hoping it would really sink in.
Than I thought about it for myself. How do I do with that? Do I compromise too much? Do I try to keep other people from being offended that I sacrifice parts of who I am?
Author John Eldredge says it much better, he says, “Let people feel the weight of who you are and let them deal with it.” What a freeing concept! Let people know who I am, let them feel the presence of Andy, and if they don’t like it, I can’t be caught up in defense of who I am. I need to just let them deal with it.
There’s a young man that comes to Refuge that is full or amazing promise and potential. He was at the computer doing some work and he calls me over and asks me if he could print something. I walk over to help him out and he shows me what he wants to print:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
-Marianne Williamson A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principals of A Course in Miracles
Let people feel the weight of who YOU are, and let them deal with it.