Don't worry! This blog isn't for mature audiences only. In fact, it would help if you were at least a little immature. Think junior high. You know that classic ice-breaker question, "What was your most embarrassing moment?" I HATED that question...and we don't use the "H" word lightly in our home. Just ask my 5yr old.
Who does that to a 12 year old girl anyway? Apparently it's in the How to Torment Preteens lesson of youth leader and camp director training.
Twenty years old and sensing the irony of being both a Youth Ministry major AND a camp counselor who was unable to embrace humiliation, I decided to do something. That something consisted of my then most embarrassing moment--peeing my pants in the woods as a grown-up--being trumped almost immediately by a new champ as I loudly confessed the event to my fellow male and female counselors. The response was thick, awkward silence. Not my most successful attempt at personal growth.
I'd like to say my aversion to embarrassment dissipated in adulthood. Instead, if you are present one of these rare moments (rare because I avoid them at all costs), you will witness me turn a blotchy violet and fuchsia as I run to the nearest bathroom to splash water on my face in an attempt to regain my cherished composure.
Maybe that's the reason, I wonder to myself.
I've been trying to figure it out. Why would God ask me to tell my story with excerpts from my journal? Don't get me wrong, I've been waiting for a chance to tell about the good stuff-the healing and transformation. Sure, there are rough patches in my journey, but mostly those were someone else's fault anyway, right? I could certainly spin it that way.
I hear Holy Spirit whisper, whitewashed tomb.
You may not know what that means, but I know exactly.
Jesus is probably best known for his love and mercy and kindness. Going directly against the culture of the time, he spent time with very "un-churchy" folks and celebrated women publicly.
You know who he was harsh with? Religious leaders and teachers of the scriptures. Jesus used the "whitewashed tomb" analogy to confront their hypocritical facade of a squeaky clean exterior, while neglecting to acknowledge the stench in their hearts (Matthew 23: 27-28).
Am I thrilled with being grouped in with this lot? Not especially. But I know it was said without an iota of condemnation. I am being called to something higher.
Or lower, for starters.
"So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor."
1 Peter 5:6 (NLT)
So, pen and coffee in hand, I find a quiet moment to step into my oasis in the desert. The presence of my Daddy.
Unable to shake the feeling that this assignment is too much for me, I breathe deeply and ask Holy Spirit, "What is TRUE?" (Do you know there is a difference between reality and truth?...but that's a blog post for another time.)
This is what flows from my spirit as I put pen to paper:
I am loved.
I am safe.
I am generous.
I love without holding back.
Then a still, small voice says clearly, Vulnerable is the new strong.
A shock wave courses through my body.
This feels...significant. Not only is this true for me in this moment, but this statement has that "new wineskin" feel (Mark 2:22). This is a truth that represents this season...not only in my own life but on a larger scale.
Vulnerable is the new strong.
What would it look like to trust one another enough to share our burdens? What would it look like to trust God with our innermost fears?
Could it be that vulnerability leads to healing and healing to a glorious bride?
Imagine this: it's two days before your wedding day. The day you've been waiting for, preparing months for. Maybe preparing a lifetime for. You notice a monster pimple on your forehead. Ugh! (wedding stress, amiright?) You dig up some concealer and dab it on. Now your cover-up attempt is just accentuating how BIG this sucker is! You start to panic. Then you remember your second cousin is an esthetician. The problem is, she stays booked months in advance. You don't want to bother her. Plus, she ALWAYS looks amazing. You bet she didn't have this problem on her wedding week. Probably did some kind of wheatgrass cleanse for prevention. That's what you should have done. Prepare for this. "What is wrong with me?" you moan.
So...you have a choice. Do you expose your flaws and ask for help or go with the cover-up and hope the photographer is a master at Photoshop?
Are you following me here? Being vulnerable is HARD. Even thinking about it might make you queasy. You could get hurt.
Or you just may get healed.
One thing is certain. The coverup is cheap and easy, but it is only good for one thing--creating a facade that temporarily hides what's underneath, but will never bring wholeness.
I'm here to tell you something very important:
You. Can. Do. This.
No, you aren't strong enough. You're real enough. Real enough to ask a trusted friend to coffee, drop the mask and bare it all. Real enough to need a hand to hold.
Real enough to need Jesus.
Not Jesus still on the cross, or even sandal-wearing hippie guru Jesus. You need the REAL Jesus. The present, alive, "you in me and I in you" Jesus who never stops interceding for you and with whom you are seated in heavenly places.
(John 14:20, Hebrews 7:25, Ephesians 2:6).
It's not just me saying it. Can you feel all of Heaven cheering you on?
Come to me.
It's your turn. Take 10 minutes to sit in God's Presence. Maybe you have a pen, Bible and journal. Maybe it's just you, Jesus, and a cup of coffee.
Ask Him this: "What am I covering up that you want to heal?" You may hear some words in your heart, be taken to a memory, or just have a sense of knowing. Once you get your answer, ask Him, "Who do you want me to share this with?"
We are in this together and I want to hear from you! Message me, comment, share. Let's make this a conversation, not a monologue.
In Him we live and move and have our being.