We talk about it quietly while my two year olds bounce with her three and five year olds on the trampoline.

How we’ve distanced ourselves from certain relationships because of the fear.

Not fear caused by the relationship.

Nor fear of the closeness of the relationship.

No: distanced ourselves because of the fear we see in them.

That fear making an impenetrable wall around their hearts.

Because when you fear others so much that you live to please them… you cease living as a unique creation of God… you cease living except as someone trying to determine and meet the expectations of others.

And I want to love and know the unique creation you were made to be.

I don’t care if you managed to put make-up and boots on the day I come over.

I don’t care if you have a beautiful snack platter set out on your meticulously clean counter when I come over.

I don’t care if your children are wearing designer clothes that match and play with all the best and safest toys.

In fact if you come over to my home, you’ll find books strewn all over my unvacuumed floor.

Toddler girls wearing mismatched tunics and pj pants because that’s what they wanted to wear (and I’m just pleased that they mostly dressed themselves!), and an infant son sleeping in a pink ladybug sleep sack because his sisters’ hand-me-downs are good enough for bedtime.

My hair might be done or I might not have showered in the last 36 hours due to choosing a nap or two over a shower. And I only own comfortable shoes (though some might be cute) because that’s what I like.

I let my two year olds jump on trampolines without nets and climb fearlessly atop their tunnel (and spot when necessary).  I doubt we have all the best recommended toys for their age.

I’m not saying that I’ve distanced myself from relationships because we’re different.   No, I welcome diversity; it’s what makes community beautiful. My closest friend Julia and I are somewhat night and day visibly.  So I’m not telling you that just because you dress stylishly, clean your home, and properly dress your kiddos, that you’re not a viable candidate for friendship.

But when you do all those things just to impress others, you’re living in fear.  You’re hiding your true self with its weaknesses made just to encourage me (and so many others).  And you make me want to hide, too. And because we’re both hiding… then we can’t genuinely love each other.

And that is sad.
Truly sad.

And I have to put a boundary on that relationship.
1. Because it makes me fear that Ill never measure up to your standard.
2. Because it tempts me to judge your actions and standards and elevate my own standards/myself as better than you.
3. Because it’s not a real relationship.  We’re not growing, changing, and becoming more like Christ together.

So let me challenge you (and me) once again: to be real.

To let someone love you.
Flaws and all.