Making Yourself Vulnerable to God's Love
I went to Colombia for a “mission trip”. Because I had traveled to Medellin before, I was eager to have others come along and experience it too. But maybe I subconsciously had the idea that, “I’ve done this before: been to this specific country, worked alongside these missionaries, walked up those same hills, eaten their food (which is really good), and loved on their neighbors.” I was prepared. Really?? Well, God was prepared too.
I don’t think any one of us actually expected to be impacted in such a powerful way. Especially someone who had already done this... But we each had powerful moments of God’s presence that will affect things for a long time. I can’t share details for anyone else, but I’ll open the door a little bit for myself and let you peek inside. It’ll just be our secret, OK?
Part of the teaching that is presented at the 911 Life missions’ base is a simple instruction on hearing God’s voice, both for yourself, and for others. It’s intended to be basic enough that even the kids can grasp it and put it into practice. I’ve heard Tom teach it before, so I wasn’t shocked at his insight into hearing the voice of God. But I wasn’t really prepared for what God would tell me as we sat there waiting on Him. He reminded me of a word that He gave me years ago, maybe close to 20 years ago. In my heart over the last couple of years, I had contemplated that word, and wondered if that was ‘completed’...if it was time to ‘move on from there’, but I hadn’t actually prayed about it. I just knew it was something that came up every now and then, but this time He was the one that highlighted it and spoke into it. He breathed on it, and life began to instantly return to those dry bones.
How do I know it was His voice? And not mine...or not the voice of the enemy? My voice typically is concerned with me...how I’m going to look...what people may think of me...if I’ll be embarrassed...and so on. The voice of the enemy will usually be one of accusation, or condemnation...and it often produces fear or guilt. But when the Lord speaks... He affirms, He builds up, He brings encouragement, He restores... and He brings peace. In that moment when I heard His voice, I had no doubt it was Him. My heart felt alive and completely at peace. I knew He was with me.
One of the other powerful moments was allowing the Father to access my heart and reveal a lie that I had believed... one He wanted to heal. Don’t be so quick to dismiss this, and think it’s just some whack charismatic emotional stuff that doesn’t apply to you. The teaching included a very simple – yet profound truth, in that, how can you serve God with your whole heart, when part of it is wounded and you locked it away? How can you love God wholeheartedly when you don’t open up those hurt places of your heart? Hmmm...anybody relate? I sure could. How easy it is, especially for leaders, to put on the good face and act like everything is OK. We certainly don’t want to be on the floor crying, because that might make us look weak.
Just perhaps, our perspective is a bit off. What we might view as weakness, Heaven may see as humility. What we see as brokenness, Heaven may call it surrender. I’m learning that there is often a vulnerability that precedes healing. But it means you have to let down your guard a bit... and be real. I don’t mean you need to take a microphone and blast every detail of your life from the pulpit on Sunday. God help us! People would be running for the doors! But when the Lord speaks in that tender moment of worship, or in your quiet time, or even through the voice of a trusted friend, what is the right response? The only one I’ve found that brings healing is to yield to that nudge from His Spirit, say yes and open up to Him. If He wants to heal that wound, then He is fully capable of caring for you in that vulnerable state. I know we all want that instant healing, instead of walking out the process of healing, step by step. But the process is not any less God... it just means we get to rely on Him more.
So, back to Colombia; the Lord revealed a lie in that moment for me, and it took me all the way back to when I was about 8 or 9 years old. He showed me the very moment where that lie took root in my life. And in order for that lie to be exposed, I had to see it, and feel the pain of that moment all over again. I think that’s where we often bail out. "Uh, no thanks Lord, I’m good. I don’t need to revisit that."
But when I allowed Him access and opened that place of pain in my heart to Him, He stepped in and felt the pain with me. And then His love poured in and brought healing to that decades-old wound.
Tears flowed until it turned into one of those ugly cries. You know the kind! That’s the vulnerable part. And you know what? I was met with hugs and love. Because you see, it wasn’t just me. That’s another lie that the enemy will tell you: ‘You’re the only one who deals with stuff like this... Everybody else has it all together... Nobody else has deep wounds of the heart...’ and the ramble goes on. But the truth is, everybody has been hurt, and everybody needs to be healed. And in that room, there were numerous people encountering the love of the Father, and hearts were being healed. It was life changing.
Those moments resulted in our team going out into the street and generously loving those we encountered... because what you receive, you can release. Everything changes when love is the foundation. We loved on single moms, and neighborhood kids. We released love to little grandma ladies. We visited strangers in their homes and loved them. And we walked into some dark places full of drug addicts, prostitutes, and sex traffickers... not with fear, but with love and light. Love became the goal.
You may be thinking “that all sounds great...but I didn’t go to Colombia with you”. No worries. You can go with us next year...I’ll meet you at the airport. :) But – you don’t have to wait for a foreign country to hear God’s voice, or experience His healing. This is supposed to be normal living for us as children of a loving Father.
Let’s glean a few things from our time in Colombia, and apply them now in our daily lives:
1 - Find some time to be still and ask God to speak to you. Don’t overthink it or judge it. Just write down whatever comes first, and ask Him to give you insight. Wait on Him.
2 - Spend some time in worship, and give Him permission to reveal any lie that He wants to heal. Remember, He’s a good Father. He loves you, and He knows what is best. You can trust Him.
3 – And then I would add – share your journey with a trusted friend. Not with the whole town... believe me, they aren’t ready. But someone is. I was blessed to have a few friends along for this journey, and we are closer because of what God was doing in each of us. We were willing to let the walls down...we were real...we were honest...we were loved.
4 – Make love the goal. Not performance...not ministry...not healing. Just His love.
That’s Kingdom living. Scriptures for additional reflection:
Psalm 62:5 “For God alone my soul waits in silence, and my hope is from Him.”
John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
Matthew 10:8 “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Worship Moments: