“With people, you can connect or you can compare, but you can’t do both.”
My fear of man and fear of rejection can cause me to hide the real me. I think others would reject me if they knew who I really was. And so I protect myself and act like how I think others want me to act in order to be accepted. We can either protect ourselves or connect with others. The choice is ours: protection or connection.
When I protect myself, then I’m loving myself more than the desire to connect with someone on a heart level. Hiding my true self results in filtering what I’m really thinking, feeling, and believing. Instead of being comfortable sharing my weaknesses and imperfections, I try to fit in and be someone else, in order to belong. Protection makes me weigh my words and actions based on what others’ may think.
Connection is all about intimacy and caring more about developing a closer and more authentic relationship with another person. Connecting with someone usually involves being vulnerable and transparent, letting my real self – the good, the bad, and the ugly – be seen. To truly connect one must be secure enough to display their whole self.
Jesus knew he’d rub some people the wrong way and that He wouldn’t please everyone. But He was okay with that because the only one He wanted to please, to make smile, and to receive an “atta boy” from, was God, His Father. “The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases Him” (John 8:29). Jesus didn’t need man’s approval when He already possessed the Father’s. He didn’t protect and hide who He really was; instead, He chose to be Himself, risking popularity.
The only way I can choose connection over my default of protection, is by establishing a secure relationship with Jesus. When I choose His opinion of me over peoples’ opinions and choose His beliefs about who He says I am and how He sees me, over others, then I am free to be myself, no longer choosing protection.
We each have a choice. Do you want to live a more fulfilled, free-er life? Then choose connection over protection. That’s where intimacy lies. When you’re free to be who God created you to be, then God receives the most glory. Be YOU! That leads to heart connection.
“Don't we all hope for connection but often choose protection instead?”
1. Reflecting on your life, which do you choose more often: protection or connection?
2. If you said protection, what steps can you take to switch to connection?