I’m getting feedback on a writing project. It’s a devotional for Lent. I’m dealing with prayer and endurance. I’m listening to Hannah’s story and being her student. The other night my friend and colleague brought my pages and over tea told me many things I needed to hear.

I’ve done that before: shown my pages and asked for feedback. Linda and Aja commented on my Advent devotional. Aja will see the next draft of the forming work. Feedback is always a discovery. I never know what I’ll hear. I never know how I’ll react.

In my current educational process to become a CPE Supervisor, I’ve learned a lot about defensiveness. I know that there are times when I’m more susceptible to being defensive. I know when I feel secure enough to be open. In my developing personality theory (which draws from interpersonal psychology and Carl Jung), I’m spending time thinking about anxiety and how it can either motivate a person to become or close a person off from becoming. Anxiety can make me open to what’s said. Anxiety can shut me down before words are spoken.

I think one of the critical features for my being anxious is when I don’t feel secure. When Allie talked with me at our kitchen table, I knew she was contributing for my good. I knew she was a friend. I knew I didn’t need to defend. The same is true with Aja and Linda. They’ve read my stuff but, more importantly, they’ve known me so well, that I know there’s no reason to fear. I can be secure enough to be open to what they say.

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