hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:8-11
Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Psalm 32:1
I was recently asked to speak to the women in our church during a night of fellowship. I was directed to talk about our new identity as Christ followers and share the relevant parts of my story.
Those who really know me understand that I am a hardcore introvert. I love people - I just need regular time away from them! Perhaps it is because of my introverted-nature that speaking in front of people is absolutely terrifying for me. It never gets easier. I must have asked myself a million times leading up to that night, “Why did I say yes?”
Not only that, as I prepared for the event by spending time seeking God, I sensed Him asking me to tell the parts of my story that are the most embarrassing.
“Really, God? Not only do you want me to speak but you want me to tell the parts of my story that are the most humiliating? But Lord, I have so much I could talk about! I could speak about the journey to our adoptions, the work I do around racial literacy, parenting…I have many better ideas!”
I sensed a sure clarity that God was for real and that I needed to share those uncomfortable parts. Yay.
We constantly work to cover the worst parts of ourselves. We have a tendency to filter, edit, and hide the ugly truths and this modern day life has even given us great tools to make this happen. Hiding and covering is always easier than facing. This is why Adam and Eve hid from God. They hid behind trees but we might find ourselves hiding behind our phones, our stellar social media posts or those two words that dismiss those pesky questions: “I’m fine.” As Adam and Eve covered themselves by the shade of the tree, we are also prone to cover ourselves and stay in darkness.
Hiding may be easier in the short-term but in the long run it causes us to miss all of the good work that God wants to do in us. Yes, our enemy wants us to stay covered in darkness but God has promised that when we put our faith in Jesus Christ that He will cover us with His love, His mercy, and His forgiveness.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
Being vulnerable and and availing ourselves requires bravery, honesty with God and others, and a persistent trust that He can do more with our mess than we ever dared to imagine.
Owning our sins and our place in God’s story can be hard and even humiliating. But God did not ask me to share my story that night to humiliate me, I believe He asked me to share it so that others might know that His love will cover them too. All we have to do is come to Him with all of who we are. Instead of hiding my ugly parts from God and the world, I can trust God’s love to cover me.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10). The story that God is writing through your life is a gift. Spend time thinking about and talking to God about how you might use your story to serve others.
Brené Brown writes, “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” Previously I shared that prior to the night I shared my story, I asked myself a million times, “Why did I say yes?” When I expressed this sentiment to a friend she said, “You said yes because maybe it’s not about you.” Is God asking you to say yes to something today? Perhaps He is asking because it’s not about you. Be brave enough to show up and say yes.
God, thank you for the redemption that You have brought to my life. Lord, I know that as You redeemed me You also want to redeem and restore others so that they might become who You have created them to be. Help me to be brave and honest about those raw places that linger inside of me that I so desperately want to hide. Thank you for Your powerful love that covers and protects me. I pray that everyone would come to know this love. In Jesus name, Amen.
PC3 writer Gina Fimbel wrote today’s devotional.