Throughout my adult life, it’s been my goal to be a person of integrity. Initially, that meant to be an honest person – someone trustworthy and not two-faced. I still want to be that person.
As years have gone by I’ve expanded my view of integrity to mean that I want to be an unimpaired, whole, undivided person. I want every part of me to be fully integrated into who I am in my daily life and interactions.
What I mean is that I want to live in such a way that no part of my soul is hidden away, or broken, or kept in the dark for fear of exposure.
I want to live out of the best parts of myself, while not hiding the worst parts. We all have places that need to grow. We’ve had pain, loss and shame that cause us to push aside the tender or unattractive parts of ourselves.
The danger of forgetting those parts of us is that we become someone else. In extreme cases we might see a truly traumatized and fractured soul with multiple personality disorder.
Most of us don’t get that far. We simply are not ourselves – or at least not our best selves. We are acting when we push aside the “ugly.” We also limit the healing and love that may come by exposing it.
Something I’ve realized is that I’m not always living out of the best parts of myself. For various reasons I’m often leading with protective devices, like anger or defensiveness, rather than tenderness and vulnerability. I don’t think I can really love people well, as long as I feel like I need to do that.
In certain relationships I protect my heart by not being myself, because I don’t feel myself is acceptable. I’m constantly trying to prove myself.
I don’t want to live that way. I don’t think God wants me to live that way. I believe we are made with a need to be fully known and loved – simulatenously. Not everyone is capable of meeting that need. Some people are not safe, usually because of their own pain.
However, God is safe. Jesus is safe. The Holy Spirit is working on our behalf. I actually think these three-yet-one, are the only ones who can fully know us and love us.
Because of that I think I can begin to rest and just be who I am. As God’s image bearers we are meant to be whole. We are meant to love, which involves risk. We are meant to be open and wholehearted.
I want that.