I’ve been thinking for the past few days about the gamble of self disclosure.
The negative sides of letting it all hang out are pretty obvious. Jerry Springer comes to mind, or the reality tv shows like “The Bachelor”. Narcissists who make everything about them. The very phrase, “airing our dirty laundry”…it exists because we all know there is a line somewhere that shouldn’t be crossed, a line of giving others too much information.
And, of course, there’s the personal fear involved in self disclosure: feeling vulnerable, open to be wounded, exposed. There is the reality of being naked and ashamed.
Someone used my blog to publicly question my motives about NFC. It’s made me want to pull my head back into my turtle shell, to hide, to cover up, to gloss over. It’s made me want to not be honest, but rather to put on a safe mask that is presentable to anyone. There’s such risk and vulnerability in being open.
I believe that the God of the universe, our creator, has powerfully revealed God’s character in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. The apostle Paul calls Jesus the second Adam, the one who brings healing to the horror of the garden in Genesis 3. The first Adam in Eden shows the relational cost of choosing our way instead of God’s. The first Adam boldly chooses to reject God’s wisdom, and ends up hiding in the cool of the evening from the voice of the one calling his name; ends up frantically covering himself from the woman who is bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. The cost of our rejection of God is seen in the first Adam as he hides, cutting himself off from the God who calls, as he hides from the woman in whom he had finally found kinship. Going against God leaves human beings with the fear of self disclosure. Naked and ashamed.
The healing second Adam opened God’s self to the pain of rejection, the abuse and hatred of the self-righteous, the anguish of watching friends die. Jesus, the second Adam, opened God’s arms wide to embrace those who rejected him, and was nailed half-naked to an undeserved cross. He opened himself, made himself vulnerable, showed us what the heart of God could look like wrapped in frail flesh, and suffered horribly because he took that risk. Christ’s gamble to show us the heart of God and the depth of God’s love for us makes my gambles of honesty and vulnerability pale in comparison.
So I choose to take the risk. I choose to follow the example of Jesus, our healer, and risk opening myself and my struggles and my joys to the world. I don’t know all who will read this, but I will choose self-disclosure, in the hopes that by my risk, you may see signs of the presence of Jesus in my life. Because today, I experienced things I have never experienced before in my life. I won’t share them all, because there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. But I will share part, because today, I tangibly felt the real presence of Jesus to a depth that I never have before.
As I lay with my face flat on the floor of my office, my body racked with sobs, while two friends prayed over me, Jesus healed an ache deep inside me. I could barely speak, but my friends did the speaking in prayer for me. I could barely think, but the Spirit of God prayed for me. I could feel God lifting a weight of emotion on my shoulders that has been years in the making, and all I could do was rest, rest in his presence, breathing out, “I love you, Jesus.” Over and over again.
I was, in front of God and my two friends, naked and unashamed. It was the most freeing feeling in the world.