Life

Living Soul Bare In A Masked World

Hey hey!

I’m fresh out of our annual church conference and I’m blessed so ever so deeply by the sharing of a prophet who was our guest speaker. His heart and vulnerability, how he allowed God to bruise him (though we don’t have a choice in the matter, lol. Okay God) reminded me of this 2016 post that I thought to re-share.

The world carries vulnerability with the tag “my truth” that sets my eyes on an eye roll frenzy because this “truth” will change with new information that they receive. I digress. But the world is pro-vulnerability and I’ve found the church wanting on this. Very wanting. You see, I believe the way we’d wear vulnerability and a truth that doesn’t change even when things are tough is healing and evangelism. Ministry and fellowship is about being bonded by the gospel and also our lives (1 Thessalonians 2:8) The Samaritan woman at the well wore this well. And maybe we need to get over ourselves and stop self-preserving because lives are at stake. No need for shame. God wiped it clean with His blood.

I’ll let the post take over from here.

***

“I noticed something, and this is just me at 9, but nobody in my church had any problems. It was just me. Everybody in my church was sick and we prayed for hearts, and lungs and gizzards, and knees, everything you can think of. But nobody had any problems. There weren’t any marriages in trouble in our church. There wasn’t anyone dealing with bitterness or self-control or temper or unforgiveness. No one was addicted to anything. Everybody had it all together. And what that told me as a little kid was that I was messed up. It took me a little while to figure out that you guys are messed up too, aren’t ya? But you know what, your brothers and sisters in the body need to know that. They don’t need to think that you’ve got it together when you don’t. It’s so hard to hear from a perfect person. What I think we need to see in each other are broken people made whole, you know? I don’t think it bothers the world that we sin. It bothers the world that we act like we don’t.”

― Mark Hall

I’ve shared before how vulnerability wasn’t technically always my thing even if it kind of was. I grew up the kind of person that schemes through the small talk for the deep stuff only to switch off if there’s nothing to the pleasantries we start with. The I’m fine, I’m okay, life’s good always turned me off. I’ve always had an appetite for deep; a rounded hunger for it, so much that I let my art (mostly my poetry and music) become a place to metaphorically strip down to the real and raw just so others could find the courage to share their own stories. Because surely, I couldn’t be the only one hungry for depth and honesty, right?

It’s made some meetings and conversations harder. I’ve felt like Jonathan, disrobing in belief that I’ve found heart friends only to be hit by a gust of cold. Honestly, it’s not been easy. Not at all.

“When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bonded to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. Saul took David that day and did not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan stripped himself of the outer robe that he was wearing and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword, his bow, and his belt.”

― 1 Samuel 18:1-4 AMP

See that? That’s my heart’s desire in a nutshell. Those are the kind of friendships I pursue with my life and probably the reason why some friendships I had in the past waned or ended.

My soul has been knit with some of my friend’s souls because of that. They let me see right through them. This is how to be knit, one in mind, soul and spirit. It starts with transparency and a laying down. And never have I craved more of this than when I got married. As Marys, we all need an Elizabeth in our lives.

PS: It breaks my heart that sometimes church folk portray and only share the plastic, painted, pretty sanitized version of their lives. We’re doing no one any favour acting strong when we’re not. This post was birthed from a pent up dissatisfaction from it all. I want to be soul knit with brethren. And truthfully, love, charity begins at home. If I’m a part of brethren and I feel so small by my experiential not throwing spiritual truth (which I have) sharing unless it’s what I’m learning, how much more a non-believer? Maybe it’s just me, I’ve said, but my hubby gets it, thank God. Otherwise, I’d have been left reading Acts seeing a model of fellowship that I long to experience. Oh well. Meantime, I’ll be the one disrobing first whenever we gather, dropping my sword, arrows and belt having nothing to hide, well, until someone covers me. But if they don’t, I won’t shiver too long because there’s always Jesus. What a friend! He’ll share His robe with me.

I’m not sure if I’m expressing this to the best of my ability so I’ll just let Mark Hall from Casting Crowns bring it on home with a song that saved my wrecked heart back in 2006. It’ll leave you laughing, nodding and sighing.

You know, today (Thursday) as I was reading, I realized that I don’t allow myself to feel as much pain as I should. And by that, I mean that I don’t give myself as much permission to deal with things as they come. I bury my disappointments and hurts under the earth of “Well, that didn’t work out. Moving on,” and plant pretty “funny story” flowers to decorate my unfinished issues.

It’s a fail safe. Cry at home in the dark but when asked, laugh with your eyes narrowed into slits as you water bend tears away then say, “Funny story.” Not that there’s no humour to the stories, but there’s also the pain we’d rather hide.

12 steps to recovery they say. I tend to teeter between anger and denial but never really get to grief. Sometimes I skip steps and make it to the final stage – recovery or moving on, but there tends to be baggage. A lot of baggage pent up from small things, small moments that stack up high with the years.

Then I get a series of dreams (often) in which I’m slain in the spirit and weeping, confronting things my awake self wouldn’t allow me to. Thursday was a sort of soul purge for me. And this is what came to the light.

“You’re a fragile, delicate soul.”

True. I can cue the waterworks as fast as I can blink. I feel more. I feel a lot and easily. And I learned to hide it and to become apathetic because I seem to FEEL EVERYTHING. My heart’s like a venus fly trap. If something lands on me, well then it’s kind of stuck.

I consciously stopped running away from it early March when it appeared like the interwebs conspired to put before me injustice after injustice of little girls and young women in this country. And I wept, cried out to God that I knew that He didn’t create us girls helpless and weak. I wept for those girls and prayed for healing, restoration and courage. And I prayed for the men, for God to show his justice. But my greater prayer was for all men in our country to be restored and healed by God. Rape, molestation and violent acts toward helpless girls and women are crimes of power. A man feels powerless and takes it out on a helpless little one or a voiceless, shy 15 year old in a bid to restore power. Mercy Jesus! There won’t be enough prisons to put men in when most are incarcerated. But we won’t need that many prisons if a revival sweeps the men of this country and the men become brave enough to seek Godly masculinity – what God means and intended for men. They would need to be brave enough to deal with the pain of feeling irrelevant or small or helpless because of joblessness, smaller paychecks and feeling like they have no voice. It’s only when we acknowledge our pain that we can recover and truly be empowered. Empowerment begins with acknowledging the truth and casting off a lie. Only then do we become. Only then can men become.

So yes. I have a heart that gets moved easily – paper like, featherlike. It feels more than most. And yes. My emotional intelligence is off the charts. I can read people in a snap. I am fluent in the frequency of heart and anything that’s deeply true.

I was born and created that way and that’s one of my superpowers. I’m done apologizing for it and the tears that often accompany it.

“My job situation”

I only realized, as I wrote this, that my interview history has left me a little wounded. Not every job, but the ones I really wanted. The no response to email, the called me for an interview once a year for 3 years because the company was restructuring but I still didn’t get the job, plus how can I forget the ‘why am I sending this CV again’? I so badly want to be myself doing what I do best. I don’t want to have my heart patter like a ticking time bomb the moment I walk into work for it to be diffused once I walk out. I want to work/or create a workplace where I can be free and create freely. Some of my best work comes from such moments. And maybe that’s the problem.

Ever since I took business class in high school I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. If it were up to me, I was going to get grinding from the moment KCSE results came out, but a degree was a must so I did it. Then God dropped it into my heart that I am to go all the way till PhD level and I’ve been blank a long time.

I’ve dabbled here and there career wise but I think because I didn’t get chosen for the things I wanted, I decided that I had to choose myself. Kind of like being the last kid picked in a game. You just finally get tired of it and decide to pick yourself. Then, with time, you discover that you’re a little bruised by it. You know, coz football isn’t fun when it’s played solo, metaphorically speaking. I ended up realizing that the not getting chosen picked away at an old scab about believing that I matter and that I’m good. But you know, that happens.

I feel a lot and I feel it fast, so that makes my recovery time (the time it takes me to heal) a while only because I do it in small doses. I made peace with that.

The moment I get to thinking that I’m done and dusted dealing with something, it’s only a matter of time before it surfaces again. Story of my life.

It gets hard to share about a progressive thing you’re going through when you’re in between ellipses with the full details taking quite some time to load. So instead, I’ve taken to blogging and tracking my journey, as authentically as I can. That’s why my work and financial situation isn’t a surprise over here. I talk about my rooted out perceptions, how I’m growing to see myself and how I’m kicking out the voices in my head that sometimes tell me how my life sucks.

PS: They’re so wrong.

Pain commands attention. It demands you to deal with it. And maybe us hiding ones have learned to run from it, to ignore and forget the sound of our own voices saying this needs your attention. What are the secret things that keep you up at night? What are those things you faced that you wouldn’t want to uncover because you’re afraid of it all coming at you like a waterfall or a landslide? Would you allow yourself, your awake self, to face it? To face your fears? That’s the only way you’ll find courage, or like me, it might help you to understand a part of yourself, your make up, and perhaps your calling. After all, some pain tends to be a big signpost to discovering your calling.

I’m dreaming of meetings, both with friends, strangers and acquaintances, that are soul deep and soul bare. The “this is where my life is at right now” in real time, no photoshop, no make up, just a well of sighs and a mountain stack of Kleenex. Because I can’t be the only one who wonders if life is hard in my head. I mean, everyone looks like they’re having it easy. Everyone seems to have it together while most days I’m here melting. And those that manage to say something might often humble brag and say, “It wasn’t easy getting here, but I’m so glad I made it.” Right. Awesome. Would you mind expanding on the not easy part? How was it hard for you? I’m talking prequels, in between the lines, inferences, the works.

I love a good story ending, but my God! Where are the brave in-between story tellers? Because it gets a little lonely and crazy (inside your head) on the journey to becoming. And all of us are in-between, really. You only get to the finish line when you cross over into the other side. Where are the journalers? The story keepers keeping a steady pace in the story God’s writing in their lives? Where are the ones pausing for a breather under a tree, and yes, a breather here is a loooooooong time because of a major hit to their dreams? Where are you? Because I’m trudging up the hill of my life holding onto the promise that you’re out there too – unmasked, never giving up, wearing courage like the heartbeat in your chest just like me.

And maybe this revolution birthed in my heart is unraveling low and slow. That desire to see this country, this world, taken over by an epidemic of kindness, honesty and vulnerability is slow moving against the pace of this world, what with the social media updates, real time feeds and technology. That longing in my heart for people to live soul bare, to see my neighbour, anyone next to me, as my David and to be tied together soul deep, to do community and life together even if it takes all of 5 minutes or an entire bus ride will come to pass. Drip by drip, right? Until it turns ocean. I just have to let Christ, my ever-flowing tap of living water fill me deep and running over till I leak. I just have to leak and let it melt away my covering (robe) that keeps my walls up, my weapon (sword) that guards me and pierces anyone looking to draw closer and my belt (that man-made thing and security) that I hold on to that holds me together.

Won’t you be brave enough to be soul bare with me, dear Jonathan? You’ll find a David in me.

xo with all my heart,

  • Reply
    Anna Smit
    July 2, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Oh my. Thank you. Just thank you. I so needed to hear I am not alone. And I have shared the youtube clip with several friends who I am sure it will encourage too- they choose to be vulnerable, but it has not been easy for them.

    This is me too: “True. I can cue the waterworks as fast as I can blink. I feel more. I feel a lot and easily. And I learned to hide it and to become apathetic because I seem to FEEL EVERYTHING. My heart’s like a venus fly trap. If something lands on me, well then it’s kind of stuck.”

    • Reply
      Koki
      July 2, 2018 at 4:32 pm

      Aaaaaw. All the hearts Anna <3 It's necessary to be vulnerable with our successes and our failings.

      Besos mama

  • Reply
    Alice Walters
    July 3, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    Wow, Koki, you are so brave! And challenging. ..and strong. My walls are high and thick. I’ve listened to the lessons life has had to teach me instead of leaning into the Savior more. I have become jaded and convinced that when I struggle or hurt those around me either don’t really care about my pain or can’t be trusted not to use it against me. In a warp way, perhaps I am putting more “faith” in the ways of people than trust in the power of God to bond us together through the chinks in our armor. Thanks and blessings for helping to shift that perspective a bit closer to where the Lord wants us to be.

    • Reply
      Koki
      July 3, 2018 at 3:17 pm

      Thank you so much for reading Alice. It’s never easy, but God wants the good, the bad, the happy and sad. And we shouldn’t be embarrassed of our limitations and struggles. He can bear them all.

      Here’s to you being brave!

  • Reply
    Tea With Jennifer
    July 4, 2018 at 4:59 am

    Visiting from #LMM link up today Koki,
    I have found that allowing God to direct our place & times of vulnerability is great wisdom, not all places are safe to bare our souls, especially in the Christian world & sadly too many have had this same experience.

    This is why we have the church that we have… unsafe…sad…masked & hidden as a safe place but in denial that it is not!

    Jesus is safe of course but the institution of the church has come down with a great sickness upon it…which is highlighted in your post…focusing on the great physician will bring healing, if we acknowledge that the sickness is there & that the church needs His healing touch…then it will become a safer place to be vulnerable with each other without judgement, condemnation or piety of others.

    In the meantime we can be vulnerable with the Jonathans in our lives, praise God!
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

    • Reply
      Koki
      July 5, 2018 at 2:44 pm

      Hi Jennifer.

      I agree. Much wisdom is needed

  • Reply
    Gayl
    July 4, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    My friend, Anna, who commented above shared that clip with me recently. I am so with you, Koki! It’s hard to live soul bare but so rewarding, too, because people see our authenticity and know that they are not alone. May God help us to continue to be vulnerable in a way that allows us to connect with people and help each other on this road of life. “I love a good story ending, but my God! Where are the brave in-between story tellers? Because it gets a little lonely and crazy (inside your head) on the journey to becoming. And all of us are in-between, really. You only get to the finish line when you cross over into the other side.”
    Thank you for your meaningful post! Blessings to you, my sister in Christ!

    • Reply
      Koki
      July 5, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      Hi Gayl.

      Yaaaay. Anna is a gem.

      Yes and yes. Vulnerability and connection. So needed in our time!

  • Reply
    Tammy L Kennington
    July 4, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    Ah, yes! I believe that living soul bare draws others to Christ because we become real and transformed by Him. Thank you for sharing your beautiful words. Visiting from Coffee for YOur Heat

    Grace and peace,
    Tammy

    • Reply
      Koki
      July 5, 2018 at 2:46 pm

      Thank you so much Tammy!

  • Reply
    Debbie Kitterman
    July 5, 2018 at 12:01 am

    Koki –

    This is such a great post, power packed too! I think authenticity and vulnerability have been missing in the church for far too long.. As you said, people put on the plastic, painted, pretty sanitized version of their lives. We’re doing no one any favour acting strong when we’re not. Oh and you rightly called it- pain does demand attention – a lot of it! Especially if we want to minister and share the love of Jesus with others from a pure heart. I am so glad we are neighbors at #TellHistory Blessings to you!

    PS.. if you are looking for another place to link to on Thursday’s I would love if you would consider joining my linkup #TuneInThursday – it opens Thursday 3am PST and runs through Sunday night. you can find it at debbiekitterman.com/blog (Please feel free to delete the link if you think it inappropriate).

    • Reply
      Koki
      July 5, 2018 at 2:47 pm

      Hi Debbie. I’m a regular at #TuneInThursday and congrats on your book! Looking forward to reading it! So not inappropriate at all.

      So glad that more believers will be able to share the gift of prophetic encouragement through your teachings.

      xo

      • Reply
        Debbie Kitterman
        July 11, 2018 at 6:49 pm

        Koki – I am so glad you are a regular, sorry, I missed that…. I have been so busy with the book and all the details, I haven’t been able to visit everyone like I usually do.. Thanks for extending me grace and for being a part of the #TuneInThursday community. I am excited to be able to share about the gift of prophetic encouragement with others, but as I have been on this journey, I am finding that people react to the word prophetic in funny ways. But, I feel as if God has called me to bridge the gap so His bride and walk in the power He has called her too. Blessings and I look forward to the post you will share this week. Oh by the way, can I just say you are beautiful! You just glow with the joy and love of Jesus, but your are a natural beauty as well and Jesus just makes you sparkle all the more. 🙂

        • Reply
          Koki
          July 11, 2018 at 8:02 pm

          Aaaaaw Debbie. Thank you for your honey words!

          Looking forward to the book.

          Sending grace for rest through this.

          Prophecy is needed. God is restoring and resetting the foundations of the church by aligning and revealing His purpose for our time to apostles and prophets before His millennial reign.

          I love prophetic encouragement because it’s like God’s word over someone on tap but conversational.

          All the hearts and cheers Debbie

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