This is Day 30 of the 31 Days of Small series.
We've almost come to the end of this series, and I've realized small is a lot bigger than it seems. I could probably write a whole book on small, and still have things left to say. I've seen the smallness in people move mountains, and I've listened to what you have said and have been so thankful that you were willing to work through this topic with me. You have encouraged me and you have given me so much to consider this month. I love writing in this space and I hope that when you arrive at Seriously you feel welcome and safe. I hope these words give you community and encouragement. I want this blog to be a small place where we can walk together.
Russian nesting dolls have always been a little creepy to me. Ok, dolls in general are a little creepy, but these dolls get smaller and smaller until you open the next to last doll and you find the smallest doll who has been waiting for you (insert creepy laugh). Perhaps it's their faces or the way they have been painted, but something is always a little off about them to me.
Maybe you have a whole collection of them. If so, I apologize for offending you.
And don't ever invite me to your house.
But, as creepy as they make me feel, I believe they are so much like us. We have our smallest, intimate selves that we protect with multiple layers from the world to keep people from seeing what we truly are inside. We protect our smallness with facades and paint over our insecurities because we wonder if the world would really like us if they knew everything about our smallness. Would they find us precious and important, or would they find us scary, ugly, and not ok?
I've seen people so small who not only keep the world from finding out their worst, they do everything they can to point your attention in the opposite direction. They paint their lives and words and actions in such a way that you believe they have it all together on the inside, too. They are quick to call attention to others' faults and choose words that convince you to be suspicious of the offenders. We've seen it in this political season. We've seen it at work. We've seen it in our social circles. We've sadly seen it in our churches. These people feel so incredibly rotten on the inside, and they do their best to take others down with them.
This is the dark side of smallness. This smallness is hateful and brings harm to relationships. Left unchecked, these people can do immense harm. They claw and spew and bring hate. They whisper and plot and gossip. They are hot-headed and prideful and keep a long list of others' wrongs. Nobody's got it all together, and they want you to remember that about everyone else because hopefully you will fail to see their own mistakes and sins.
But, I've also seen the beautiful moment when people let you into the smallest parts of their hearts. I feel like if we spent less time holding people away from seeing our true selves, then perhaps the world would be a lot easier to deal with. When we spend less time trying to manage our reputations and just admit that we're no better than everyone else, people are more willing to be gracious with our smallest selves. When we know others feel the same insecurities and are also scared about the state of affairs, we are relieved. We are stronger together, even when the world would tell us otherwise.
And our smallness is magnified when Grace floods our relationships.