Belly-Button Gazing


One of the things I absolutely love and believe is so important to the spiritual journey is the emphasis the 12-step programs put on self-reflection.  I like to call it “belly-button gazing.”   Step 4 is a step that encourages a time to evaluate ourselves honestly. Nearly every Alcoholic Anonymous participant will agree—this honest reflection takes unusual courage and uncommon humility.

 Brene Brown, one of my favorite authors, writes books on how to live well, and she believes that we must walk through vulnerability to get to courage, therefore… “embrace the suck.” She encourages us to be grateful every day, and her current moto is, “Courage over comfort.”  This action of honesty to the point of being uncomfortable is shared by both 12-steppers and Brene Brown lovers.


But what about churches?  Sure, we have a time of confession, but in my experience that time feels more like something we read together during worship rather than it being a true reflection of who we are and whose we are.  Where we are broken and when do we shine.  Are church people aware that it is through vulnerability and humility that we move into a place of finding our perfect, beautiful True Self created by our Creator?  I’m not sure.  But I do believe that the churches that DO emphasize this aspect of our spirituality and DO practice it “religiously,” thrive.  


Although it is difficult to muster this level of vulnerability, there are lots of people out there in the world who are seeking a safe and supportive place to do so.  So, it’s not a bad question to consider, “Does my church offer space for people to be vulnerable to the point of being uncomfortable with the purpose of growing closer to the heart of God?”

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