Thursday, February 10, 2011

What It Takes to be Vulnerable

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

I'm pretty sure I've used this verse before in a post. If I haven't, I'm very surprised, because it's one of my favorite passages. Kyle and I talk a lot about this section of scripture because we love the call and the realization: 1. we are surrounded by a great cloud of watching witnesses--looking at us waiting to see HIM, 2. it's a call to throw off the sin that hinders us from being that witness, and 3. to run the race that He has ordained for us.

Last night Kyle and I got out of Bible study and went to Whataburger to eat and be together before we had to go back to our separate houses. He was telling me about what they had learned and he brought this to my attention: when this text was written the runners of the day were olympiads--champions--athletes. And how did they run? They ran naked.

Excuse me?

Yep, you heard me. They ran just like their mama birthed em! What this did was reveal them to their audience for who they were. If they were athletic and fit, it showed. If they were unfit and those who bumbled around the games falling on their faces, it revealed that too. Basically, they were vulnerable. They removed what entangled them and they competed just as they were.

This makes me get a pit in my stomach. I'm in a tennis class right now, and I PROMISE that removing my clothing wouldn't do my athletic ability (or the lack thereof) any good. My professor things I'm making great progress!....because I'm actually making contact with the ball. If I took off my clothing I'd be even more embarrassed because there are more flaws beneath my coverings than I want to admit or reveal. I don't even like my mirror--why would I want to show that off?!!

What does it mean for me to run naked as the athetes did?

DON'T TOUCH THAT DRAWSTRING! Ain't no one here that wants to see yo drawers.

But spiritually, we are called to remove the covering that hides us and run just as we are. Yes, there is a world watching. And YES, there is a church body watching. But in removing the clothes we strip away the protective covering and reveal what we are underneath--be that perfect or very unperfect. We make ourselves vulnerable in order to effectively run the race.

Does that make you nervous like it does me? I know if I stripped away my spiritual coverings and ran as vulnerable and naked as I truly am, I wouldn't be comfortable with everyone knowing who I was. I would be so aware of what my church family would see. And in truth, that's exactly what God wants us to do. If we don't make ourselves open and reveal who we are, then:
1. we don't grow and become holy as He is holy
2. no one else grows from our mistakes
3. we live the lie of perfection with a body of imperfection.

So what clothing are you hiding behind? What race are you to be running that you are currently unable to effectively complete because of the cloaks of self-protection that hide you? What would it take to remove them and run spiritually naked before a watching world, before a watching church family, and especially before HIM.

God, grant me the wisdom to run vulnerable the race before You and before Your people. May I use my lessons to help others, but not confuse that with boasting in my sin. Make me a useful athlete, God. That YOU may use me.

Surviving by grace,

1 comment:

Becky Dietz said...

I've asked my Daddy for Truth. As a result, He consistently uncovers me. I think He must want us to get used to that fresh air!!