After hearing an amazing message by Kasey Van Norman about the Samaritan woman, I have been processing the difference between being transparent and being vulnerable — and how they both play out in my life.
To boil it down, transparency is telling the facts, while vulnerability is digging deep beneath the surface of those facts to the roots. There is a bit of distance that we keep when only being transparent with God or others. Vulnerability invites God and others into the heart of our situation. There is a chance for rejection when we are vulnerable. We run the risk of people seeing the real us and possibly unfriending us. And y’all, that is downright scary!
Growing up, I was more of a loner. I kept to myself a great deal. I had a few friends, but I only allowed them into my life at arm’s length. Now, I have seen and experienced both the beauty and pain of community. Often my instinct is to go back to doing life alone, but I know that I can’t. I know that is not what is best for me. I know that is not God’s design.
Over the last couple of months, there has been this war in my mind. You’re probably familiar with it. It’s the one where old memories and wounds and trauma and sins flood your every thought. At moments, this war has physically felt like a weight on my chest. I honestly don’t know that I have ever felt this type of attack from the enemy before. But, here I am, in the middle of it. I’ve been trying to fight this battle on my own. I can be really prideful at times. I’m too self-sufficient for my own good. Jesus and I are working on that.
The Lord, in all of His love and kindness, won’t let me get away with this solo game plan. He has gone behind my back and laid me on several of my friends’ hearts. They, in turn, were obedient to pray for me and reach out to tell me they were praying for me. Then, I was intentional about sharing my struggles.
There is so much of our relationship with the Father that is worked in the secret place with Him, but there is just as much work that happens within life-on-life relationships.
Although I know better, I default to thinking that if I pretend like something isn’t happening, it’s not really happening. I pretend that God doesn’t see and know everything. Why I do that, I have no idea. Actually, I might. Kasey defined sin as any area of our lives where we are distrusting God. If we’re honest, there’s at least one area in all of our lives where we think we know better than Him, where we think we could manufacture a better outcome. This is sin, and sin must be confessed.
As not fun or appealing as confession is, it is the key to lasting victory.
Cleansing is found in confession.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
The very nature of sin lends itself to an onslaught of shame and guilt. Whether that sin was 10 years ago or 10 minutes ago, the enemy wants to heap that shame and guilt all over us. But God is incredibly gracious and provides new mercies and fresh starts. His heart for us is not to be perfect, but to live forgiven. All we have to do is get gut-level honest and vulnerable with Him. When we lay ourselves before Him, we can live whole and healed and restored.
Freedom is found in confession.
Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And You forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:5)
Guilt is heavy. It feels like a ball and chain dragging us to the bottom of a dark and deep ocean. That ocean is filled with despair and condemnation and regret. It doesn’t matter whether we sinned on purpose or not, that sin keeps us a prisoner in our minds and sometimes in our flesh. The enemy knows that only free people free people. We were created to live free in Christ and point others to the real freedom that only He can provide.
Healing is found in confession.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect. (James 5:16)
I’m not sure which is harder, pretending to be fine in front of God or in front of others. After a while, we all become really good at wearing masks and being okay. When we are trapped in cycles of sin or struggle, the last thing we are is okay.
But it is okay to admit we’re not okay — to say we don’t have it all together, we have a thorn in our flesh. The best of the best in God’s Word were far from perfect. Remember David and Paul and Abraham and Mary Magdalene and the Samaritan woman? When did we begin to think that perfection was the goal? A heart after His is the true prize.
I have met a man that has told me everything I have ever done. His name is Jesus. He loves me and He loves you despite our sin or failures. He won’t ever love us less.
If we trust Him to, He will place us within a body of believers who will tangibly model this love and grace with us. They will stand beside us in prayer without judgement. They will speak to our healing, freedom, and potential.
I’m not completely out from the weight of this oppression, but I’m on my way. He is giving me hope. Maybe you need a bit of hope for yourself or for someone you care about.
If you or someone in your life is in a cycle of sin or struggle, I’d love to pray for you!