In a digital world where we are trying to be someone who will gain more likes, or get more followers, Don Miller‘s book, Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy, is timely. We need transparency and intimacy today in our world if we are going to lead real and authentic people. People know when you are not being true to your self. They know when you are trying to be someone your not.
I am going to look at one chapter that really impacted me. Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy is a book that will have me thinking for a long time about how I develop health relationships in ministry and life.
Stop Being Someone Else
Don Miller does a great job explaining the problem with finding our identities in our work performance. In one of the most powerful parts of the book he shares how he attends a therapy camp. One of the hardest rules he talks about was that he, “couldn’t tell people what we did for a living…It’s a genius rule, if you think about it. Right from the start we weren’t allowed to wear a costume. And let’s face it, most of us wear our jobs like a costume. My entire identity –my distorted sense of value — came almost exclusively from the fact that I wrote books.” I appreciate Don Miller’s honesty about how he was finding his identity from what he did.
This gets me thinking about youth ministry. When was the last time you went to a youth ministry conference? I am always amazed at how many times people ask me how big my youth ministry is. I will very rarely say a number. Why? Because my value or my worth isn’t in what I do, it’s in Jesus. Don Miller later on in that chapter shares how it felt not tell people what he did, “Slowly, over the next week, I realized I was addicted to my outer shell, that without my costume I felt vulnerable.”
We are all wearing a costume. We are all wearing a disguise. We all want to be like someone, or do something a certain way. I remember in high school wanting so badly to skateboard a certain way with a certain style. In ministry I have found myself trying to be like someone else. In the last 2-3 years I have been trying to be myself. Why? Because that is enough. I can still grow, and learn as a leader, but I need to be me.
The book, Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy, is perfect for anyone. Actually, I read this book on a flight home from catalyst west and right away I knew that people I knew needed to read it. They didn’t need to read it to be fixed or learn how to have amazing relationships, it’s just a great book that impact you as it impacted me. It’s a book that I want leaders, students, and especially grads to read. This book would be the perfect grad gift.
I was surprised at how easy the book, Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy, was to read. If you are a fast reader, you could finish it off in 2-3 hours. It’s Don Miller at his finest. This is one of Don Miller‘s best books. You need to read it first, and then you will want to give it to everyone you know.
Here are some quotes from Scary Close:
“Sometimes the story we’re telling the world isn’t half as endearing as the one that lives inside us.”
“Grace only sticks to our imperfections. Those who can’t accept their imperfections can’t accept grace either.”
“It costs personal fear to be authentic but the reward is integrity, and by that I mean a soul fully integrated, no difference between his act and his actual person. Having integrity is about being the same person on the inside that we are on the outside, and if we don’t have integrity, life becomes exhausting.”
“Remarkably, the most common regret of the dying was this: they wish they’d had the courage to live a life true to themselves and not the life others expected of them.”
“Love can’t be earned, it can only be given. And it can only be exchanged by people who are completely true with each other.”
“It’s all connected with the belief human love is conditional. But human love isn’t conditional. No love is conditional. If love is conditional, it’s just some sort of manipulation masquerading as love.”
“I’d learned my default mode was to perform. Even in small groups I feel like I have to be “on.” But when I’m alone my energy comes back. When I’m alone I don’t have to perform for anybody.”