Originally published Thursday, 15 August 2013.
There is really nothing scarier than claims of a robotic perfection.
I say, give me your messy!
Becoming one with a body of believers is like kneading dough.
God says knead this dough. Go ahead and get busy with loving those whom I have loved first.
Pack in the flour and the water. Slap it in the palm of your hand until it sounds hollow. Stretch, wax and wane each other. Until together you're like the tide of the ocean. Growing with goodness. Receding with sin.
Cover your palms with flour. Get this bread of life–this perplexing, loving symbol of life and love–in the crevices of your palms.
Get messy with the way you love and grow vulnerable with others.
I know a man who does this with his pizza dough.
I'm falling in love with watching him work in the kitchen. The way he spreads flour on the smooth surface of the cutting board. He gets so excited about things like how the dough rises when you use different kinds of flour. When he adds a certain kind of water to the mix, or even an ounce or two of beer.
He tends to it.
And when the pizza is hot, cut and ready to eat, he always saves all of his crusts for last. If he had four slices of pizza, four semi-circle pieces of bread would be scattered on his plate like leaves on the sidewalk.
Then, after he finishes the thick, warm melted mozzarella portion of each of his slices, he studies each each bit of crust, nibbling on its ends. Savoring it like wine. His handsome face darkened by deep concentration.
Mmmmmm. He says, stopping mid-chew. I think I'll try self-rising flour next time.
He lets me watch him be vulnerable, experimental even, in the kitchen. He shows me how beautiful, and imperfect this process can be.
(And homeboy can make a pretty mean pizza to boot.)
He shows me that there's fun and life and community in the mess of it all.
A few days ago, I was unexpectedly submerged in the process of kneading community. I'm still in awe of the good, messiness of it. We were in the process of sharing our "be" goals with one another: telling each other what we want to be rather than what we want to do.
We shared things like be more patient, be more understanding, be more thankful and content with this current season.
And our leader said,
What are you people talking about? Who are these people? I don't see this. Y'all are the most patient, understanding folks I know!
But, we all smiled because community was happening. Real community. We were showing each other our messy, imperfections. We were sharing our inner struggles. The things that the outside world wouldn't see.
We were kneading each other.
And that's the kind of friend, the sort of sister in Christ that I want to be. A friend through the messy. And growing in my own.
Do y'all have a community group to be vulnerable with? Have you ever been a part of a friendship with someone who didn't let you see their messy? Why is vulnerability important? Leave your thoughts below!