Sharing your life hurts. Not sharing your highlight reel on social media, but sharing it all. Truly bearing your soul hurts a little, because it forces you to be seen just as you are.
The author Donald Miller once said, “Vulnerability is like handing a loaded gun to somebody.”
Not everyone will turn your vulnerability into a weapon, but some will. However, the risk of pain cannot withhold us from the opportunity of intimacy and abundant life.
For me, this is a season of inconvenience, healing, and shaking off comfortable masks that I’ve used to keep myself from being totally seen in all my humanity.
This generation is all about authenticity. Yet, it is ironic because we polish this authenticity up with slight honesty and filters to hide what really lies within. I especially tend to pride myself on being authentic. I have adopted this adjective in the way I write, ask theological questions, and act. But our attempts at authenticity can be a mask too. We can “be authentic” without actually bearing our full heart and soul for a minute in real life.
I want my heart to know what it feels like to be seen again. I want to know that I didn’t walk around this earth with a lock, barbed wire gate, and plastic bubble over my heart not letting anyone in that had the potential to damage it.
We are called to guard our hearts well, but not puppy dog guard them in a way that gives no one an opportunity to see what’s on the inside–even God.
If we shut others out, we will eventually section parts of our hearts off and away from God. We can adopt cultural authenticity and good ministerial tweets/sayings but have soul wounds tucked away like dirty laundry for no one to help us with. This does not work in the Kingdom of God… at least not for long.
God is our Father and not a distant one at that. When He comes in close, He comes in closer than you thought. He inspects and knows every area–good or bad. And guess what? He signed up for it all. And He stays through it all.
When God created this universe and humanity foreknowing the mess we would make, He chose to do it anyway for the sake of loving us with all He’s got (and He’s God, so He’s got the force of everything we could ever think of and more to wildly love the heck out of us). With that being said, you are safe being seen by the God of all who chose your mess before you made it. Best of all, He doesn’t just focus on where we have fallen. He is bent on staying in awe of who He has made us to be. What a reckless kind of grace and love.
Allowing ourselves to love and be loved hurts a lot less than a lifetime of fear and regret. When we allow ourselves to be seen, we open ourselves up to the chance of grace and love of Christ.
Romans 5:8 states that while we were sinners Christ died for us. Before we were clean. Before we acknowledged His love. Before we even felt a conviction of how we chose death over abundant life, He completely set His heart on us.
When we step into that love and anchor our whole hearts on the island of unconditional grace, we are free to be seen by others and to overcome the fear of potential hurts because we are secure already in being so loved–John 3:16 so loved.
Embracing grace fully, not just the idea of it, but holding it closely in our hearts as truth is dangerous. It means coming to terms with the flaws in your life and accepting that God the Father has loved you in spite of that. When we embrace grace, we are free to embrace others in their lacking of perfection. When we allow ourselves to be seen, we grant people the gift of being seen and loved, just as Jesus does for us.