One of our sons just came into my office to talk to me about how he is keeping someone in his world at a distance. They should be like family to him, but through unfortunate circumstances he doesn’t feel like they are any more than a distant family friend.
I guess our son has decided for himself what his “circles of disclosure” are going to be. By circles of disclosure I mean that he is setting boundaries in his relationships with others and as a result his circle has become smaller in an effort to protect himself, which is sadly what most of us can end up doing as adults.
Circles of disclosure relate to the proximity and intimacy we allow in relation to ourselves and others. The closest circle, extending outwards consists of our dealings with firstly our family, then friends, colleagues, acquaintances and finally strangers. The greater the distance the circles extend from us the less those people know of who we truly are.
As an adult I am constantly working on my circles of disclosure and trust issue. I know that God wants us to have real connection both with Him and with those around us. Relationship is key to God and it’s why He created us in the first place.
He wanted to have a family and to share His creation with us. He is the God who at the end of the day walked in the garden with Adam and Eve wanting to hear about their day and to share His heart with them. When relationship was broken God continually reached out to reconnect with us in any way He could, and even called Abraham His friend. Jesus gathered his twelve disciples around them, and John his disciple is especially referred to as the one whom Jesus loved. (John 13:23)
“Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.” (James 2:23)
Relationships, self disclosure and the proximity we allow others to get to who we truly are can be challenging. Primarily because it makes us vulnerable, and vulnerability can be a scary thing. But a full life always includes sharing our lives with other people and letting them into our world. Without disclosure and people getting close to us we will fail to really know what love is or live the full enriched life God desires for us.
The journey of letting people into our world is a process of communication by which one person reveals information about themself to another, and is reciprocated in kind. It includes the sharing of thoughts, our heart, feelings, aspirations, goals, failures, successes, fears, and dreams, as well as one’s likes, dislikes, and favorites.
The journey of self disclosure is one that takes time, often includes confronting our fears and learning to trust both God, ourselves and those He brings into our world.
As I look at Jesus and study how He relates to others and his efforts with me, I know that He really wants us to grow to trust; to be open, vulnerable and become people who can love and be loved freely. It’s who He is, and how He wants His friends to be too.
Today, I encouraged our son that it’s okay and really important to be honest about how he feels, but to continue to work at being vulnerable too. I really want him to be able to love and to be loved, and for him to let God fully heal his heart and grow his emotional capacity so that he can freely do that. I’m praying we can all do that too.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7-8)
Jesus said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
Prayer: Lord please help me to love and be loved. That I wouldn’t keep people at a distance all the time, but will allow myself to feel, to trust and to be more vulnerable. I know I can do that because you have my back, will give me wisdom on who is being real and who isn’t to be trusted and that I can always rely on you. In Jesus name Amen.