Growing up, I was always the type of person to embrace vulnerability. I had a knack for initiating genuine connections with others by being open and showing a desire to truly know them. In church, my youth pastors would always come to me to make friends with the new girl or have me introduce her to others. In school, I approached those who sat alone. I wanted everyone to have someone who knew them and loved them even still.
To know that someone wants to make a connection with you, wants to sit with you, wants to know you – this desire for community and relationship is a reflection of what Jesus desires to share with us. And what better way to demonstrate the love that Christ has for us than to display that same desire to know and to love others by embracing vulnerability.
Revealing those deeply personal and delicate areas of our life is not an easy thing to do – it takes a lot of courage to face those fears of rejection. It’s easy to fear vulnerability, because vulnerability means shedding the layers and revealing that we are messy imperfect beings who don’t have it all together, who make mistakes and stumble often.
At one point in my life, I began to shy away from being so vulnerable due to how often I became hurt in friendships and in relationships. I began to coat myself in unfamiliar layers, only revealing what I wanted to. To be known and be accepted was all I wanted. To share those intimate parts of my life with someone who would understand and embrace me even harder, not turn me away. During times like this, when you just want someone to know you and love you even still, turn to Psalm 139 and take heart in knowing there is someone who knows you and yet loves you all the same.
In Psalm 139, David intensely describes how in awe he is about being intimately known by the Lord. In verses 13-16 David says,
“For you created my inmost being,
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.”
Being in a small group at church has always been slightly nerve-wracking for me: I never knew how much of my personal life to share, especially the deep, buried parts that hurt. Fear and anxiety would wash over me. When it came time for prayer requests I would shrug away my desire to be known and accepted because I was scared. I was afraid of what people would think if I broke down in tears due to the weight I was carrying.
After years of bottling up what I had only shared with my closest girlfriends, I finally began peeling away at the layers to reveal my vulnerability. It took faith, courage, and shedding some tears, but after I let myself be intimately known, I found out that relationship and love was freely given in spite of knowing the truth. Just like Jesus did for us when He died on the cross for our sins.
If there has ever been a time where you have felt overlooked, or when you have longed for someone to just know and accept you, know that you were made and formed with a purpose by someone who calls you wonderful. The depths of your heart have been known since before you were even here on this earth! Despite your past or future sins, Jesus sees you. He says “you are mine and I know you. I see you, and I love you for who you are”. How my heart sings when I read these verses! How light my soul becomes, after those layers are broken off and I am free from the bondage that is fear.
In verse 23, David exclaims, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” How freeing it is to know that nothing is hidden from the Lord? The things we are ashamed of, the parts we have buried, the things we’ve done, all of our baggage…it is known by the Lord most high and yet He calls us His wonderful creation and still desires a relationship with us.
God accepts every part of us. He reaches out for us, He longs to know us. Despite knowing us so thoroughly, so intimately, God says “I choose you.” How wonderful is it that He calls me new and says it is good. The Psalms are an eye-opening and freeing place to find yourself, especially if you are struggling with vulnerability and have a desire to be known.