A Greater Safety

reach outHow would you describe yourself? Not the outside appearance: the inside.  YOU. What parts do you love? And what bits do you hate?

Chances are, the bits you like least are the very parts that God can use most.

The soft heart that’s easily crushed.

The fears that turn you to prayer.

The grief that helps you comfort.

The weakness that looks to His strength.

 

Sparrow hearts, fluttering in our palms.

The unlikely

The lesser

The least presentable.

These things we hide – sometimes, they’re what’s most real about us. And in God’s hands, they’re the most precious.

But these are the parts we’re tempted to squash – or take for granted.

 

Sometimes I feel I have a dirty secret – and the secret is me. I don’t want to be in the light because I hate what I might see.

Little things terrify me. Being out of control. New people. New places. Honesty.  Vulnerability.

Why do I despise them? Because the enemy attacks the bits of us that are best and brightest.

A hunger for justice – that spills into anger.

The desire to bless – that becomes a need to be needed.

A quick wit – that crushes and cuts.

 

I’m ashamed and fearful and doubting and weak. I don’t want anyone to see it.  So I put my head down and keep small and safe. I turn inwards.  I listen to the lies.

Except that occasionally, I don’t.

Sometimes I step out. That’s when I’m most real. That’s what draws me to the community I fear.

 

This weekend I shared some of my experiences at a youth conference. I was interviewed beforehand, and they asked me why. Blinking into the lights, my first thought was, “good question. Why am I doing this?” But I knew the answer.

Stronger than the fear is the freedom that Christ has bought. And deeper than the shame, is the truth.

I’m a mess. But the the blood of Jesus is for me as well. And if He covers over me, He covers over you. I’d stake my life on it. Because He’s already  staked His.

On the cross, the greatest wickedness became the most stunning redemption. But if you’d asked those Calvary bystanders, “do you see the beauty here?” they’d have thought the question in poor taste. As we follow Jesus, crosses become resurrections, shame becomes glory, the parts we despise are redeemed.  What looks like weakness is turned to strength.

We reach across to others – because we see them limping too. We see in them the things we hate in ourselves: softness, the neediness, the feeling too much. But now, it looks different.

And now, more than we want safety, we want to say:

All I once thought gain I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now, compared to this

Knowing you, Jesus
Knowing you, there is no greater thing
You’re my all, you’re the best
You’re my joy, my righteousness
And I love you, Lord.

Graham Kendrick
Copyright © 1993 Make Way Music,

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8 thoughts on “A Greater Safety

  1. I think God has been challenging me lately to speak out more about the parts of my story I’d rather not- I just have a growing sense that he wants to use them… and then I see this post- and it scares me, but also encourages me this is probably what I have to do.
    I love this: “Stronger than the fear is the freedom that Christ has bought. And deeper than the shame, is the truth.”

  2. Yes – it’s scary when God’s calling us out of our comfort zones, isn’t it? (Especially if, like me, they’re just a few centimetres wide). But risk with Him is the safest place to be – and the path to real life.

  3. thanks Emma. Have a real opportunity to let the times of grief and brokenness count in ministry to others, but the fear, the fear holds me back. How to find the resources to not let the fear, the bits not yet healed and the sense of inadequacy triumph and cause me to stay safe. .. Tips?

  4. Hmmm. Great question.

    Here’s what helps me:
    1. it’s not about taking risks or not. All of life is risky, whether it’s staying in our routines or stepping out. But stepping out in God’s strength is safer than hiding in our own.
    2. Folks like Moses who say to God ‘send someone else!’ He doesn’t. But He promises to help and equip us.
    3. Seeing need in others. The people your words can help – they need you.
    4. You’re not being called to be perfect. Just weak in Him – and real.

  5. Your words are so timely, Emma – thank you :) The Lord speaks powerfully through you and through your weakness – I am grateful for how you step out in faith, and in doing so, minister to my soul.

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