“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16 NIV
Vulnerability had become nearly impossible for me: letting someone into the inner parts of me, to know my fears and sorrows, to know my joys and dreams, to let anyone see what’s going on in my heart. In January of this year, I was healed of crippling anxiety. In one breath, I could breathe again. I triumphantly announced this on Instagram for all the world to see – but no one had a clue it was happening. Not a single friend of mine, on Instagram or real life, knew that I was struggling to breathe for no apparent reason. That my social anxiety had paralyzed me to the point that having a conversation with someone was like running a marathon. Why was it so much easier for me to be transparent on Instagram instead of vulnerable with my friends? I’ve come to see that this is for one reason, and one reason only – my neglect of the Holy Scriptures.
I know something to be true about the Holy Scriptures – “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 ESV.
I know this to be true. I know that the Word of God does not return void, that God is teacher and will show us His truth through His word. I know this, and I still neglect it. Why? Because of verse 13.
“And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13 ESV
For the word of God discerns the thoughts and intentions of the heart… and all are naked and exposed in the eyes of the one to whom we must give account.
Just writing that makes my heart race. Do I truly want God to see the intentions of my heart? Do I truly want to be naked and exposed in front of the one who holds me accountable? Do I truly want my deep dark secrets to be exposed? My apathy for justice? My jealousy and contempt? My materialism? My constant need for human affirmation and recognition? My laziness? My manipulative nature? Do I really want him to see all of that? For all the human-ness of me to be naked and exposed in front of the perfect God? No. The answer was no. I do not want him to see me as I truly am. I want him to see the Instagram version of me. The version that I want everyone else to see…
My refusal to engage in His Word was no more apathy than it was fear. Fear of being corrected, rebuked and taught. Fear of letting the dirty parts of me be pruned and thrown into the fire. Fear of refinement.
I knew that if I opened up to God, I would be forced to open up to others who wanted to know and love me. And that would prove that the now permanent fixture in my thoughts, “No one actually cares what you’re going through, it’s selfish to share about your own life,” was a lie that I had believed for far too long.
The verse in 2 Timothy has always been something I agree with. “Yeah! The scriptures are there to teach (everyone else), to rebuke (everyone else) and to correct (everyone else)!” I get so gung-ho about this, because I thing of everyone else that needs correction and rebuking. Has my desire for perfection become so deformed that I cannot even see that those words apply to me?
The next verse, again, is the kicker for all of this. “so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:17
Isn’t that what I want? Isn’t that what we all want? To be equipped as followers of God for every good work that he has set out for us?
I can no longer be afraid to be naked and exposed in front of the one to whom I am held accountable. I can no longer reject teaching, rebuking and correction. The only way to do away with the idea of perfection, control and my false Instagram life, is to let the Holy Scriptures pierce “to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
If I cannot let God see me exposed, then how can I be expected to be vulnerable with anyone else?
The lesson I am learning is that vulnerability starts with God, and His Word, His living Word, tells us it is GOOD to be corrected, rebuked and taught, that it is GOOD to have our hearts exposed (even the ugly parts) to Him. If I know anything, it is that God’s grace is beyond my imagination. My small, perfectionist, controlling mind, in all its fault, can comprehend that with the whisper of the Holy Spirit. So here’s to correction, rebuking and exposure. Here’s to being vulnerable and open and in turn, free. Here’s to breaking off the chains of fear and self-loathing. Here’s to the breath of God, written as His Word, and engaging in it, living in it, needing it like oxygen.