He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
-Adam, speaking to God, Genesis 3:10
“Hey, is there any way we can meet up and talk?” I said, over the phone to a friend of mine.
“We can talk now, if you want,” he replies.
“No, I’d like to see you in person if that’s okay with you.”
“Sure, we can do that.”
The next day, I showed up early to the cafe, attempting to get my bearings. The conversation which was about to take place was something I had been hiding from for a long time now. Sitting there, waiting, I felt like a turtle on its back, slowly waving each leg in sequence trying to turn over. What was about to be discussed already had me in prayer, I started talking to Dad on the drive over.
“God, help me. Give me the words to say, and speak through me. Please, let healing happen. Bless this conversation and help me to be confident. I feel physically nervous, but I’m not worried about that because I know you’re with me. I know something good will come out of this, even if he doesn’t accept my apology.”
As my friend came in he greeted me, “Hey man. How are you?” He sat down across the table, still bewildered about why I wanted to see him.
After our brief pleasantries, I didn’t hesitate to get to the matter at hand.
“I know you’re wondering why I wanted to sit down with you and talk–and this isn’t easy for me. I hide from being vulnerable, I’m not very good at expressing my weaknesses.”
“Well, what is it?” He didn’t say this, but his face did.
“I just had to tell you in person that I’m sorry. I’m sorry for how I treated you. I’m sorry for how I attacked you. I’m sorry for everything. I was so wrong with what I did and I now know it. I’ve actually known it for a while now, but I just could never bring myself to say this to you.”
The fact was, I knew I was wrong when I verbally attacked my friend, years before. At the time, I was in a very bad place, a frustrating place. I was transitioning from completely ignoring God–as well as my own heaven-ready identity–to actually allowing Him to live through me. This was strange and I did not know how to handle it. The Holy Spirit was teaching me new things every single day, and as my mind was being renewed to the truth, I didn’t know how to release this new information properly.
I know now how I’m supposed to do it–which is with love, respect, and grace–but back then I couldn’t wrap my spiritually immature mind around such. I was like a bull who had just realized he was a bull. The China shoppe was being destroyed and I had no clue how to relax. Sadly, my good friend was a victim of my sharp horns.
This person had blocked me on social media, as well as my phone number, and rightfully so. I even had to reach out to him from a number he didn’t recognize. I know I had hurt him and I wanted to make sure I was clear about my remorse.
After my apology, he quickly replied, “Oh, it’s no big deal,” and kindly tried to change the subject. I expected this from him, because he’s such a nice guy, so I reiterated the importance of our meeting.
“No, it was a big deal. I need you to know that you were right for shutting me out. I was not doing good at all, and you were nothing but kind. I’m sorry.” I intentionally lock eyes with him, “I’m really sorry.”
Right then I could see he finally knew how serious I was. The sympathy in his expression told me he realized I wasn’t just trying to save face–I was trying to be as genuine as I possibly could be…and he got it.
“It’s okay. I forgive you.”
With those words, I felt the tension float up and away as the Holy Spirit blew in a small cloud of trust. We chatted and laughed for another 45 minutes or so, and then both went our separate ways. I forgot just how much I liked talking to him. He’s a good man and I’m glad we are real friends once again. It was a good meeting. It was a very good day.
None of this would have been possible without me becoming defenseless. Being defenseless is not part of my personality. Yes, it’s part of my spirit–a heavenly trait I’ve inherited from Dad–but my soul has learned to guard my ego like a lion over a fresh kill. I hide from being defenseless, and I shouldn’t. My stupid ego–my unrenewed thought pockets–is not needed in any way. It would be best if it walked into oncoming traffic, but that won’t be the case until I’m gone from planet earth.
Being exposed as weak easily inflames my thinking with fear. But it is in my weakness godly things happen in my life. It is in my weakness–when I allow it to be revealed–I feel more like myself than ever before. I don’t have to be addicted to being a pillar of strength and God’s Spirit teaches me this truth day by day.
I felt really good as I sat vulnerable across from my friend. Even though I was nervous, it was as if I had impenetrable armor on. It was in my weakness that I felt strong! It was in my weakness that God’s Holy Spirit mended a broken friendship! I didn’t have to call him! I didn’t have to let God fix this!
…But, I didn’t want to hide from being vulnerable any longer. I didn’t want to grieve my Dad. He would have still been proud of me either way, but He kept saying, “Matt, call him. Trust me. Don’t worry about how he’ll react, just trust me.”
When I trusted He who is in me, restoration happened. But even if restoration wasn’t reciprocated from my friend, Dad would have still said, “That was awesome. Thank you. I’m going to use that for a greater good than you can possibly understand. You did well, son.”
So today, my friends, know this: You don’t have to hide. It’s impossible to hide anything from God anyway, so why not come out into the open so healing can take place? Whether you are hiding the fact that you binge eat a whole box of Double Stuffed Oreos in one sitting–or like me, you hide from being sensitive and defenseless–expose yourself. Just do it. When you do, God takes you further into the halls of His grace. The more you expose your weaknesses, the more you’ll realize just how strong you truly are! The more you expose your weaknesses, the deeper God’s love for you goes.
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, thank you for teaching me how to become weak. It is in my weakest times that something strangely powerful happens–I reveal YOU. When my underbelly is exposed and I’m worried I might be devoured, you stand guard and say, “I’m protecting you. Don’t be afraid.” Teach me more about yourself. Teach me more about YOUR strength within me. Teach me who I am. Teach me more about your grace and live through me. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. Dad, so many of them were taught to hide growing up. Many were even FORCED to hide because of aggressive parents or parents who used guilt as a way to punish them. They’ve LEARNED to hide stuff, and you want to teach them differently. YOU are a good, good Father, and you never shame us or use scare tactics. We are secure. For some, hiding stuff is not only rampant in their own lives, but they also hide things for others. Release them today from such pressure. Let them know they can step out into the open because you’re there! Whether they are hiding a physical or emotional affair, or credit card bills; it could be an addiction or they could EVEN be hiding extreme criticism and legalism. Whatever it may be, empower them to become vulnerable! If they believe in Jesus as their Savior, that power is already in them! Teach them today how to let it come out! In His name, I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 3. Get your copy here!