this is my chest, wide open. | guest post by jessica

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hello, my name is Jess, and I have a bad habit of always trying to please people. Being the oldest sister in a big family, I grew up with strong sense of responsibility and duty. I learned how to be a mediator ─ to deal with sibling rivalry without being the bad guy to either party. I also learned that the quickest way to resolve a dispute with someone was (usually) just to give them what they wanted. (It's rarely worth it.)

I'm known for losing sleep over the littlest of interactions. When someone is upset or in pain, it bothers me deeply. I'm adverse to confrontations of any kind ─ they make a big impression on my heart. And when someone feels wronged by me, (whether rightly or not) I obsess over how to make things right with them as soon as possible. My major life decisions are often influenced by how they'll make others feel, and whether or not I'll be accepted by them.

(I guess you could say I have a tendency to be a doormat.)

I have a sensitivity for human emotion. When someone is having a bad day, or just has something they need to say, I can feel it. Which comes in handy, but can also leave me feeling bombarded by the thoughts, emotions and judgments of those around me. I spend so much time analyzing my interactions with people. When someone expresses disapproval over something I've said or done, it sticks with me. Likewise, if I can say or do something that makes someone laugh, it puts a smile on my face for days. I mull over relationships with individuals I'll probably never see again, just as often as I think about my long-term friendships and family ties.

I have a very hard time forgiving myself & letting go. The little mistakes I make tend to get locked up in the back room of my mind, and plague me for years to come. I still remember (and physically cringe at) embarrassing things I did ten years ago. I tend to worry ─ a lot. I worry about losing friends, about my loved ones being hurt or taken away from me. I worry about what people say about me behind my back. I worry about death ─ how I'll die, if it will hurt, and who will miss me. I worry about whether or not I've made the right choices. (The coulda-woulda-shoulda's get me every time.) I worry about what the future holds, what's happened in the past, what I might have done differently. I even worry about mistakes I may never make.

And do you wanna know something really ridiculous? When I intentionally try not to worry about something, I often feel guilty for putting it out of my mind. As if by stressing out about it, I could help anyone or anything.

This is my chest, wide open.
Tell me friend, what looks familiar?
We all have faults, awkward tendencies, failures. We all have those things hidden in the dark corners of our hearts, clenched inside dirty hands, blood dried under fingernails, desperate to keep it inside. Keep it hidden. Keep it safe.

Why? Because we're ashamed.
I've realized that shame is what keeps us from knowing what we need from our brother, and what they need from us. Shame is that which keeps us feeling isolated and alone. We think, 'I must be the only person in this world who's ever felt this way.' But I can promise you that right now, someone is out there, waiting desperately, needing to know that they're not 'the only one.'

What kind of place would the world be if we stopped holding back? If we stopped letting the fear of what others would think keep us from baring our hearts to one another?

"Therefore, if anyone is in Yeshua (Christ), he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17

Because of Him, there is nothing to be afraid of, nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to hide anymore.
So tell me something about yourself, friend.



  1. So much of this is just like me. Especially the way things stay with me for days afterwards...and the way I can "feel" people's emotions...and the worry. Thanks for sharing so's good to know I'm not alone.

  2. UMM pretty good for waiting til the last minute, yeah?

    This is my chest, wide open. I love that. I love that you can be so vulnerable and courageous and surround it all with peace. Yes, this post does look familiar, all of it, and I'm ashamed I am such a worrier, but I'm not ashamed to allow God to shape my heart into a peace-filled, loving, stress free, Godly woman, and I'm not ashamed to share my struggles so God can use beautiful people to encourage and keep me accountable and keep my eyes on God.

    This is my chest, wide open. Thanks for being the beautiful human being you are, Jess.

  3. Honest + true. (Also, I love this.)

  4. Jess, this is such a truthful post. I felt like I was reading about myself the whole time. I'm the oldest in my family, too, and one of my biggest problems is over-analyzing EVERYTHING and worrying about things that shouldn't really matter. I have trouble making small talk and lots of times I get nervous when I have to be around people I don't know very well. It is so, so comforting to know I'm not alone - and more importantly, that we are new creatures in Christ. Thank you for the encouragement. <3

  5. I'm the oldest of my family as well. Right now especially I feel the need to make sure everything is in shape. I was telling my mom sometimes I feel the need to be the mom, the cook, the laundry guy, the teacher, the encourager, the exhorter, the cook, the daughter... i feel like i have to do everything sometime since at this moment my mom is often unable to do a lot of work around the house. i over analyze everything and i want to do everything. but why? i really don't know..

    thank you for sharing your heart. x

  6. loved this... jessica is so beautiful, heart and soul


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