and no, I’m not talking about what you think I’m talking about. get your mind out of the gutter.
this morning I was talking to a friend on office communicator (basically IM for the office. and I can’t get in trouble for being on it … all day) about some breakthroughs that we’ve been having in our personal spiritual walks- dealing with the way that we view god- and now, sitting in class (yes, I’m blogging in class. deal with it.) I’ve been catching up on stuffchristianslike.com and laughing my face off quietly so I don’t get into trouble. jon posted the other day about confessing ‘safe sins’- like “I’m not praying enough;” or “I’m not reading my bible enough”. don’t get me wrong, these things can be indicative of serious spiritual problems and should be confessed to people we trust and who will hold us accountable. but as jon also points out, no one wants to be the next person- the one with something real to confess. if the person in front of me confesses to having skipped her devos that morning, how likely am I to be honest and confess that I am struggling with impurity in a relationship, or that I’m a pathological liar … insert your sin here.
I have the amazing privilege of co-leading a small group of 5 ladies. probably one of the highlights of my week. I love monday nights! college night at chick-fil-a (which means that you get cheap awesome chicken sangwiches!) and then small group. I love those girls so much, and its been such a blessing to get to teach and learn and grown with them. a few months ago, we were talking about the desire for our small group to be a ‘safe place’ where we could be spiritually naked with each other. we desired to create an environment where we could confess our issues and sins to each other, and know that we wouldn’t be judged, but rather loved on and held accountable for change. the next week, the lord had been working on me about some things and prompted me to confess some sin areas to the girls. I fought with the lord about it (if you had heard the conversation going on in my head, you’d have sworn that I have multiple personalities . . . and who knows? maybe I do! just kidding.): lord, these girls need to believe that as their leader, I’ve got it together! they need to see that walking with you can be done! if I’ve got issues, they won’t respect me as a leader! [which is all TOTAL bull, by the way.] so I cleared my throat and spoke up. read my first blog post (funk) to see what was going on at the time. that post was basically birthed out of what I confessed to them.
the point here is not that I was going through a spiritual funk of my own making. it matters, because it prompted me to be spiritually naked with my small group. it was without a doubt the best step I have ever taken as a leader- letting the girls see my heart and my struggles. there was a collective breath around the room, and then another one of the girls spoke up. and then another. two of the girls spoke up and confessed to us as a group of sisters that they were struggling with some HARD things. things that kept them awake and night, things that were eating away at them with regret and sorrow. things that will affect them for the rest of their lives. things that satan is using to make them feel less than who they are- forgiven children of god almighty. the point here is that god worked in me to overcome my fear and moved me to make that move toward spiritual nakedness. jon calls it ‘the gift of going second’. because I had taken that plunge, those girls were given the boldness to ‘get naked’ with us and confess their sin issues to us. and the level of love nad trust that has come out of that is incredible! there is some accountability now, and the freedom that comes with knowing that people love you regardless of your baggage. we don’t have to ‘dress up’ for each other any more. the level of openness went through the roof.
for myself, I know that I am more apt to trust a leader if I know that they aren’t perfect. I need to know that whoever I’m following is also still being sanctified. i need to know that although they’re a few steps ahead of me, that they still have not arrived yet either. in preparing to head to florida with this church plant team, I’ve come to trust chip and the rest of the team so much more when we’ve been honest with each other. chip has some family things that really stress him out, and he struggles with keeping up with school as much as I do. the glory of it all is that we are all on this journey together! while there are levels of leadership within life and teams, we’re all still human, and we’re all still in the sanctification process. and when we are naked about that process playing itself out in us, we pave the way for others to experience that freedom as well.
share the love. get naked.