Friday, March 09, 2007

Dare I Be Vulnerable?

"There are things I want to write about, but I'm afraid some people won't understand," a friend shared. Her statement hit me square in the soul. "If I don't say everything, it just doesn't have the same impact," she continued. "But, if I write it all, I don't want some of the people who know me to read it." So, should she write from a safe distance? Or should she pour out her heart for others to abuse?

My friend speaks for so many of us who write. Not just writers, but also artists and musicians. Anybody who invests their heart and soul into a craft. The craft is birthed of the crafter. A crafter then guards and protects the craft because it is a piece, a picture, an expression of her heart and soul. The more a craftsman pours her heart into a craft, the deeper impact it has on those who experience it later.

This has me feeling nervous. I'm afraid you won't like what you see of my heart and soul. You might laugh. You might be disappointed in me. I'm afraid when I expose my heart and soul I will be hurt deeply. Is it worth the risk? I don't want you to read about my mistakes and failures. I don't want you to see the mess I've been in. It's embarrassing. I'm ashamed of some of the things in my past. I want them to all go away and be happy-go-lucky, fun loving Phil.

Over the last year, I've shared things on this blog that are deeply personal. After posting "Through the Valley of the Shadow" I wrestled with whether I should let people read it or delete it before anybody else gets a chance. It's one thing to express the darkness in my soul, it's an entirely different thing to share it with someone else. That posting I was so afraid of people reading elicited the most response from people. But not the response I was afraid of. People shared how they were encouraged by the post and how they could relate so well to what I had written.

There are people who are starving to know they are not alone in their struggles. Dying for hope. Only when we are willing to risk sharing our struggle can we touch their lives, giving them a morsel of hope to chew on. Only when we risk, when we become vulnerable do we dare make a meaningful difference in someone's world.

Yes, there will be people who don't get it. Some of them will be friends and family. We're not writing for them. Remember Jesus went through the same treatment. His hometown didn't want to hear what He had to say. Not all of His family understood Him and His message. Where did His strength come from? His Father in heaven. He was living for His Father's approval.

Paul had a physical pain that he begged God to take from him. What was God's response? "My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak." (2 Cor. 12:9 GNB) What is the blindness you've been healed of? What are the chains that held you captive? Jesus came to heal the sick and to set the captives free. It is for His glory that He has healed us. Let's not pretend we've never been sick, never been imprisoned by sin. What kind of story is, I was a pretty good guy, then Jesus came and saved me? Big deal. I was dead in my sin, and Jesus came and took my place!

God uses our weakness to show His strength. Hiding our weakness trying to hide the city on a hill. It isn't for our shame, it's for His glory. Is it worth the risk to share? Yes. Is it hard? Definately. Is it scary? Absolutely! If we have died to ourselves to become alive in Him, what do we really have to lose?