We all have edges. Our experiences, preferences, desires, and limitations cause us to exist in a particular way. When we come into a space with others, our edges can bump against each other in a way that causes you or the other to wish their edges away.
Many of us have lived with our best intentions to soften our edges, and slip under the radar. We do not dare to be an inconvenience and wish to keep ourselves moldable so that we can bend around the needs of others.
For much of my life, I have lived without an appreciation for the edges I bring. I have tried my best to shrink myself in hopes that my life will not ever be an inconvenience to others. I don’t speak up when I want to, or I say yes to things I shouldn’t.
I was at Commons with my friends yesterday, and one of them offered to buy me a drink. I declined politely and they walked away to buy theirs and in my head, I went, “Why did you say that? You would love an iced vanilla latte right now…”. Turns out Commons was closed so it wouldn’t have mattered much anyway, but ever since that event I have been thinking a lot about why I communicated something that wasn’t true but felt nicer.
I fear that as Christians we often opt for the “kinder” answer than the honest one. However, kindness is void without honesty. Whatever is true is what is good, and when we withhold that good for another false “good”, we lie. Being agreeable is not why we exist. We were created by God, to take up space in the world. He made us for His enjoyment and that we may find joy in Him and His creation. When we withhold the truth of who we are, we risk being less than who God created us to be.
This pervasive agreeableness that Christians feel pressured to hold is not sustainable. It is not what we were made for. God has handcrafted each of us for individual and collective purposes. If God didn’t want His people to take up space, then He would have made us smaller.
Hiding yourself and making yourself smaller may protect you from being known and rejected, but it also keeps you from being known and loved.
So, I dare you to take up space today. Tell your friend what you want from Commons when they offer to treat you. Put up a boundary in that friendship, or initiate that hard conversation. You are immensely valuable and treasured by God, and that should invite you into freedom to take up space in the big and the small things.