When many of us hear the world sheltered it reminds us of something we’ve missed out on. An experience, song, television show, or piece of culture that someone decided to “protect” us from. If I had to give my opinion [which I will do], I think parents too often try and shelter their children, in other words, attempt to protect their children from the world out there. I agree with protecting those who God has placed in your life and under your care, such as your children [biological, adopted, foster, etc…], but there is also a reality that life happens, and no matter how much we shelter children become adults and experience life as they desire. It saddens me a bit when I hear stories from friends of mine that their parents didn’t allow them to watch The Simpson’s, or television in general for that matter, and I could make an extensive list of things like this. Not that television is really worth watching, but it isn’t inherently evil either.
I did not live a sheltered life by any means… there are few things in this world that I have had the privilege of being naive about. Because of this I didn’t really have the feeling to “rebel” against my parents, mainly because they let me do whatever I wanted. However, I do have many friends who have lived what many of us would consider a sheltered life in regards to their up-bringing and things that they were not allowed to experience. From this group of people, most of them have rebelled in a serious way, or have been socially awkward in response to their lack of exposure… The purpose of this post, isn’t about childhood, or being sheltered by anyone in particular, it isn’t about rebellion, and it surely isn’t about mass media.
So, what is it about?
Let’s look at it like this… your heart is your child, the one who you feel you need to protect from this crazy, evil, ugly world… and your heart is the carefree, experiential type who is waiting for you to just let it be free! A lot of times, sheltering children only hurts them worse, because they begin to know that they need things and want to experience things, but there is a barricade and a boundary around how that is supposed to happen. Your heart is the same way… keeping it closed does is not the most healthy thing for it.
Will it keep certain pain out, yes.
Will it keep certain joy out, yes.
And here is my point… Pain is inevitable on numerous levels; we experience it many times throughout our lives, whether self-inflicted or inflicted on us by someone we trust [even if that trust was only for a night]. Joy on the other hand is [for some reason] more difficult to stumble upon. It is fairly easy to find enjoyment, and even happiness, but it takes effort to really find joy. In all of our attempts to keep pain out, my fear is that we are doing a better job or keeping joy out.
Your heart is going to be broken, by someone or something, at some point, and if we’re being honest… probably already has been. This is just an unfortunate fact of life… And I hope no-one feels as if I am simply glancing over the reality of the pain we feel, because I am not. However, I am trying to encourage your heart to be exposed…
A few months ago I started a site called A Vulnerable Life, the purpose of the site was to give people an anonymous forum to share their heart, to finally expose the darkest pains and secrets without anyone knowing whose words they were actually reading… There are only a few posts on AVL, and my fear is because you’re allowing the pain to root itself so deep into your soul that it chokes out any joy you are seeking.
There aren’t many things that I personally advocate, mainly because if I was an advocate for everything that broke my heart, I would spend every waking moment advocating… but, one of the things I do advocate is vulnerability and the willingness to have your heart shattered into a million pieces as a risk to experience joy. Open your heart to someone… I promise that you are not alone in your story… AND, you’ll probably be surprised at how much your open heart allows someone else to do the same.