Sunday, October 03, 2004


I spent the weekend in Nashville at the Zoe Conference. The theme for this year was "Desperate." I got to spend time with friends -- old and new: Christopher, David, Jefferson, Randy, Brian, Eddie, Gary, Tammy. Faces from the past. Conversations about life and struggle and joy. We change so much, but it's often so subtle that we don't realize it until we run into someone from our past.

I keep forgetting just how many desperate people there are -- particularly people who do church for a living. They walk around with emotion so close to the surface that it doesn't take much to start the avalanche. I spent time with people who are just dry. They've been beaten and abused so's almost as if they've come to expect it and live as if that's normal.

I presented a workshop yesterday. One woman actually started to cry during my presentation. She wasn't disruptive; she just sat there with tears streaming down her face. Afterwards, all she could say was, "Thank you. You have no idea.... Thank you." These people seemed to seek me out. They seemed so desperate and wanted so badly to know that someone understands.

When I got there Thursday morning, I didn't think I was desperate. Not me. I was just angry. Angry about a lot of things that some of you know about, some of you don't. This isn't the forum for that. Suffice to say, I was angry...and...frustrated. So, all the talk about being desperate -- I just let it touch all the other folks. They were the ones who needed all that talk. Not me.

But while I was sitting there listening to Mike Cope yesterday, it dawned on me: my anger is a form of desperation. I am angry because I am afraid. That's a level of honesty I don't muster very often.

Deep breath.

I struggle with imposter syndrome. I am so afraid that if people really knew me -- really knew the real me -- the one who says terrible things to other my people right after I hang up the phone -- the one who does the wrong thing about as often as he does the right thing -- if people knew that guy...well...they wouldn't like me very much. And they might leave me.

And here's something else: I can't stand the thought of being cut off and excluded -- not invited into the inner ring. I am afraid that people will not value me or respect me. Any hint of that, and BOOM the anger explodes out of me.

I am desperate to be accepted and valued and loved! To be completely known and still completely embraced -- that's what I am desperate for.

I am not desperate for God. I have come to trust him in a way I cannot put into words. I am desperate for two things: someone(s) who will love, accept, champion and value me like God does; and the bravery to say this out loud to others.