Take Off the Mask
Vulnerability is a common theme throughout the Bible. In fact, over and over throughout scriptures, we find some type of vulnerability as a prerequisite for healing. If you read through the Gospels you will notice how Jesus frequently asked people “What do you want me to do for you?” Why wouldn’t He just walk up to a man who was obviously blind and just heal him? He wanted the man to voice his need.
Vulnerability with others is also in the Bible. There are 2 unnamed women in the bible who show us this. Their stories are short but they each teach us some lessons on vulnerability. We will look at one of their stories today.
Her story is found in Luke 8:40-48 . We have a woman who is in a desperate situation. Jesus was on his way to heal a young girl and it was crowded. There was a desperate woman in the crowd. The Bible tells us she had been bleeding for 12 years.
Have you ever had an issue that caused you to feel isolated?
In Jewish culture that would qualify her as ceremonially unclean and require her to live in isolation (sound like 2020?). Have you ever had an issue that caused you to feel isolated? Something that you couldn’t bring yourself to share, or something you felt that others wouldn’t understand? I think it’s safe to say that she was incredibly lonely and willing to do anything to be healed. In fact, the book of Mark tells us that she had spent every penny she had on medical help but had only gotten worse.
So she pushed through the crowd and reached out to Jesus. When she did, she was healed instantly. I bet she was SHOCKED.12 years of pain and isolation and with one touch from Jesus it was all over. She planned to go quietly. She didn’t want to bother anyone; she just wanted to start living again. But Jesus wasn’t about to let her go unnoticed. God doesn’t cause the pain and hurt in our lives. When He heals us (sometimes in a moment and other times it is a more gradual change), He most definitely does not intend for us to keep it to ourselves. In the presence of all the people, she told her story. She left not only with her healing but also with peace!
God wants to use your story- your illness, your abuse, your poor choices, and your hardships, your marriage struggles, your victories. When you take that risk and share with others, there is a peace that follows.
Vulnerability does several things in our lives.
Vulnerability encourages others. If she can have faith for her situation, I can have faith for mine.
Vulnerability strengthens your relationships. If you are on the receiving end of a friend’s story, you feel closer to her because she chose to share her pain with you.
Vulnerability initiates change. Have you ever gotten in shape because a friend did it with you? Whether you admit to a trusted friend that you are struggling with bitterness, or find the courage to share a past full of abuse, or you start to be transparent about the life you portray on social media, right then and there, your healing begins.
Vulnerability softens the blow. Galatians 6:2: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” How can anyone encourage you through your struggle if you don’t tell her you're struggling in the first place?
Vulnerability sweetens the victory. When you share with a trusted friend that you lost your job and she prays with you for the next several weeks as you go to interview after interview, who do you think is going to be celebrating with you when you get the job? Colossians 3:16 reminds us, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Here we’re reminded that God wants to dwell among us. Giving us the strong assurance that we were never intended to go through life alone. We were meant to experience true belonging. In the book of Acts, we find this description of the early church: Take a look at Acts 2:46-47: “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Sincere means “free from pretense or deceit: proceeding from genuine feelings”
Vulnerability guides us to the place of belonging. It may feel risky getting there, but the joy of knowing you can sincerely be yourself is well worth the risk.
I don’t know what mask you wear. Maybe yours is the mask of confidence. You look like you have it all together but inside you battle with insecurities and feel less than. You constantly compare yourself to others and feel like you don’t measure up. Maybe yours is the mask of celebration. You seem happy for others but really inside you are jealous of your friends or family. Maybe it’s the mask of spirituality. As a ministry wife you let people assume you have a great relationship with God. In reality, you feel distant from Him. Whatever it is, it is time to take it off. We have to remove the makeup of our life and expose the blemishes, the sunspots and the scars.
There is a reason why God says “it is not good for men to dwell alone”(Gen 2:18). Or in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." It’s because we were meant to be there for each other. We are to be women who support each other, not tear each other down. We are to celebrate with each other, not compete with one another. When one of us is down and in the midst of a storm, instead of leaving her there, we are to pick her up, hold her hand, and tell her we are going to walk through this together.
In Exodus 17 it tells us the story of God going to battle for the Israelites. As long as Moses’ arms were lifted, they would win the battle. Verse 12 tells us this: “Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset.”
We are called to be an Aaron to each other. To hold up one another's arms in the midst of their battles. Realizing that our miracle or breakthrough could be in the hand of our neighbor we must be willing to do whatever it takes to push through the chaos of life and find Jesus.
In order to that…..we have to take a risk….roll the dice….take off the mask.
Crystal Williams is a happy wife and the mother of two vibrant, highly imaginative children. She is blessed to live out her calling and lifelong dream of being a housewife, a stay at home mom and a homeschool teacher to her children. She likes to be referred to as "The Williams' Home Engineer" and "God's Favorite Daughter".
Crystal's passions include, first and foremost, Jesus and her family. She also enjoys decorating and transforming mundane moments into magical experiences. Crystal adores everything "Southern" as is evident in her effervescent personality, her humble character and her "Old Soul" charm. Her home is where she's most comfortable, however, where she thrives is in her ability to lift up spirits and bring hope to whomever she encounters.
Although Crystal has faced numerous, difficult challenges throughout her life, God has proven Himself Faithful through it all. Her life and those of her beautiful family are evidence of God's hand upon them. They are walking miracles. Crystal is full of faith and this is expressed through her fervency in worship towards God. All of this coupled with a lifetime of serving in ministry and the gifts in which she walks, gives Crystal the unique disposition to minister in a way which encourages, challenges and simply softens hearts.
Hear more from Crystal in Episode 10 of Sanctuary's podcast, Let's Talk with Sanctuary, as we discuss the steps to building friendships that fit.