The following is an excerpt from We Saved You a Seat, a 7-week Bible study by Lisa-Jo Baker and friends from (in)courage that explores our relationship with Jesus as the ultimate model for authentic friendship. Find more information at lifeway.com/wesavedyouaseat.
Get Honest with God
Friendship that requires us to open our front doors just the way we are and stop playing “fine” in front of our friends, that makes us make time and won’t let us make small talk, can land us feeling emotionally naked and desperately vulnerable. Like you’re standing on your best friend’s front doorstep in your pajamas with bed head and ugly cry face left over from the night before, wondering if she’s going to open the door. If she’s going to be comfortable with this raw version of you. If she’s going to invite you in or if she’s going to make excuses to move you on out—especially if you didn’t call first to let her know that you were coming over.
There’s this terrifying moment between heartbeats when you don’t know yet what she’s going to say or how she’s going to react. You’re just standing there with all your raw honesty waiting for her to take her turn and respond. Waiting for her to stretch out an arm and wrap you up in her safe place or for the frown to leak across her face as she tries to make sense of this version of you, this version that clearly makes her uncomfortable.
In or out. What will it be? Your heart beats and waits and hopes and holds its breath.
Can you trust a friend with all your raw vulnerability, or should you have stopped to grab a brush and some concealer before showing up? Should you have stopped first to cover up and put yourself together?
Of course the temptation to cover up isn’t just about how we look and whether we’ve cried our makeup off or not. It’s about taking the risk to show up with our unairbrushed stories of marriage or motherhood or loss or singleness or homesickness or depression or failure. It’s whether we can trust our friends to let us tell them how desperate we are to find ways to cope through the toddler years or the teenage years or the unemployed years, and will they still look at us the same when they hear how angry we can feel toward our own children, our roommates, our God? Will they still accept us if we crack into an awkward fit of weeping when we learn one more friend just got engaged and we’re still single?
Where can we take all these vulnerable feelings if we can’t take them to our friends? Can we come out of hiding and let ourselves be really seen? Can we just stand there in the middle of our lives and let our friends read right up to where we are and trust them with what comes next, even when we have no idea what that might be?
The thing is, trusting our friends is a reflection of how much we are willing to trust the God who created them. Until we can trust God with our naked vulnerability it will be impossible to trust other people. Do you? Do you trust God to be a friend who won’t let you down, especially if you feel like God has let you down?
Can you trust God with your honest feelings? Can you trust Him with your whole vulnerable heart? With your disappointments? Go ahead, tell it like it is. […] If we can’t bring our honest questions and fears that God will (or has) let us down to God Himself, the Author of all our relationships, then who can we ask? And here’s the thing: We wouldn’t be the first to ask that question. We wouldn’t be the first to accuse God of letting us down. […] Ours is a God we can vent to, ours is a God who will cry with us, but most crucial—ours is a God who will raise our deepest hurts from the dead because He is just as angry as we are at what sin steals from us. […] And then our Jesus, our God who gets our human emotions of grief and disappointment from the inside out, from inside the very skin of humanity, proves Himself faithful and powerful enough to raise back to life what was once dead. Jesus raised Lazarus, who had been dead for days, by name—just like He will raise you and me. Just like He calls us by name.
And what is required from us in order to see that glory of God in action?
Jesus said to her, ‘Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?’” —John 11:40
We have to believe in order for Him to raise us and our dead and disappointed hearts from the tomb. Can we do it? Will we bring our broken hearts to Him? Will we trust and believe in Him so that we will hear His voice call us by name and raise back to life everything we thought had died in us and in our friendships? Dare we be that vulnerable with our God, our friend, and our Father? Maybe the better question is, how do we dare not?
Excerpted from Lisa-Jo Baker, We Saved You a Seat © 2017 Lifeway Press. Used by permission.