Last week, we posted a very simple question on Facebook: “How can we pray for you today?” I have to say that I truly wasn’t expecting the response and I have spent the last several days trying to find words for my heart that has been deeply moved. I have read each and every one and have been praying over each person as I read. I have been moved by many things — - the level of honesty. - the tremendous needs in our brothers and sisters. - there is a level of authenticity that exists on Facebook. - there is a freedom to speak deep personal truth. - there is a need for each of us to share our hurts. - it is a clear reminder that we are not alone in our pain. And it makes me pause to be puzzled at this thought… Why do we seem to feel more freedom to be open, raw and honest on Facebook, than we feel the freedom to be vulnerable in our church? It seems to me that one of the very things we desperately need in our church community is a space of grace to be real. It’s very hard to be real. I honestly spent the first many years of my life trying to pretend I had it all together — that I was perfect… my life was perfect. But truly, I was just hiding behind that mask of pretense. And then I fell… HARD! And made choices that people quickly surmised — “She is FAR from perfect.” But can I tell you, since that day, when I said, “I don’t care what people find out about me, I don’t care to whom I share the truth of my wounded-ness and wrong choices, I don’t care if it costs me my career… the ONLY thing that matters, is to be right and clean before the Lord. So I will be bold and I will be honest, truthful and confess…” When I got to that place in my life to FULLY surrender, THAT is when true freedom began to plant its seed in my heart. I felt that same sense of freedom on Facebook, as I read through message after message of gut level authenticity. I have come to believe this with my whole heart: Where there is truth (and often that truth is about ourselves and so hard to bear), there is freedom. Jesus says “The truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). That truth is God’s Word, but that truth is also about the honesty of our heart. Where there is truth, there is freedom, and where there is freedom, there is GOD, right smack dab in the middle! Because He is TRUTH and FREEDOM! So, here is what I’m learning from FACEBOOK ––
- We so desperately need community –– people to come along side and walk with us; people to whom we can simply say, “Here is where I am today; I just wanted someone to know.”
- Oh, how I pray that our churches will not only have a sanctuary but that churches can be a sanctuary! A safe place to cry out, “No I’m not okay! I just need someone to know!”
- We are not alone. While our hurts and wounds are unique to us, there are others who share similar pain. So often, it just helps me to know I am not alone.
- WE NEED EACH OTHER. It’s that simple.
- Keep sharing your story. In the pages of my own story, there are chapters I’d like to rip out. But I find that it is within those very pages, I have seen God most at work.
Lastly, I want to share one of the sweetest verses I have found in the past few weeks. Romans 15:13 (ESV): May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Be encouraged my friends — there is a hope that awaits us. Be encouraged, today!