“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” John 8:36
I used to have this desire to one day write my life story. I loved to write as a child and teen, and I loved to read books about the lives of others, especially those who had overcome obstacles.
But this past week, made me want to change my mind.
Why? Another week long counseling intensive at Liberty University. Another look at my past hurts. An activity that consisted of writing my autobiography had me changing my mind.
You want me to do what? You want me to write down events from my life and tell you how they impacted me? You want me to get physically sick, right?
And, that is exactly how I felt. Physically sick. I wanted to toss my cookies right then and there. Not because all the events of my past were bad, but because the ones that God had placed on my heart to write in this autobiography were the ones I thought I had done a great job of hiding.
And now you want me to do what?
As I willed my pen to write, I was immediately taken back to a conversation I had participated in not 30 minutes before. The one where I had said: “Those are not our burdens to carry. So many times we carry around the sins of others, and become burdened and shamed by them. But, they are not our sins to carry. They are their’s to take to the cross.”
Now, God wanted me to live out these words. Here I sat. Physically sick, still carrying around the burdens of someone else’s sin…along with a deep dread in the pit of my stomach!
Give your burdens to the Lord and He will take care of you. He will not allow the godly to fall. Psalm 55:22
I knew at that moment what God was asking me to do. I knew at that moment I had to stop carrying around the weight of other’s sins. As uncomfortable as it was, and as sick as I felt about it, I began to write down the burdens that had plagued me, shamed me, and made me a slave for years.
So, I let it go. And, I still felt uncomfortable writing the words. I still felt a little sick saying them out loud. But, I also felt peace. I also felt relieved. I also felt lighter.
As I looked up at the people around me, the people I had only met a couple days before, and the people with whom I had just shared my heaviest burdens, I did not feel condemnation and shame. I felt connected, and I felt acceptance. I felt free.
It is never easy to be vulnerable, to be completely honest and admit we don’t have it all together. We tell ourselves it is so much easier to put on a happy face, and shove the struggles and burdens we carry deep down inside so no one can see them. So no one can judge us. So no one can make us feel any more shame.
But, it is vulnerability that often connects people in a mighty way. It’s vulnerability and honesty that helps others who are carrying the same burdens heal. It’s vulnerability that allows our own hearts to heal.
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it will remain alone. But its death will produce new kernels-a plentiful harvest of new lives.” John 12:24
See, God wants us to be vulnerable, even in the face of fear, rejection, or shame. He expects us to bear each others burdens. He wants us to pour our hearts and souls out to others so they can see the saving power of God at work in our lives. To show how they too can truly be set free.
Freedom that comes from releasing our burdens. Freedom that comes in giving up our need to be “perfect” and “put together.” Freedom that comes in sharing our brokenness.
Freedom that comes from laying our burdens at the cross.
So, I now know what God wants me to do. He wants me to embrace my autobiography. To share my story. To become completely vulnerable. Just as the man who showed the ultimate expression of vulnerability-the one who was left alone, naked, bleeding, and dying…left completely vulnerable for all of our burdens.