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Judy Lair is a licensed counselor and owner of Counselorplace Christian Counseling. She is the author of “From the Other Side of the Couch: A Biblical Counselor’s Guide to Relational Living.” Judy’s personal struggles with fear led her through the valley of hurt and sorrow. She now embraces a joy-filled life grounded in God’s truth and freedom in Christ. Judy uses her professional counseling expertise to tell stories that help people find healing and freedom. Her vulnerable, godly approach helps people find courage to move from Fear to Freedom. For more information or speaking requests, email JudyLair@counselorplace.com or sign up for blog posts at http://judylair.blogspot.com

 “Freedom is attainable. Trust me, I’ve been on the anxiety side, gone through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and now I’m praising God, eating at the banqueting table, and helping others make the same journey. Whether you find yourself stuck in anxiety, disappointment, grief, or confusion, your heart can be set free.” Judy Lair, “From the Other Side of the Couch.”

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Become as a Little Child

Woundedness causes us to shut down, but the transformation process requires vulnerability and openness. No one is more vulnerable than a child. Choosing to be vulnerable feels unsafe and counterintuitive to most adults because of the hurt they’ve experienced as a child. Jesus’ relationships with his heavenly father, earthly family, disciples, and friends were characterized by openness and a willingness for his heart to be seen. Vulnerability and transparency with safe, caring people are essential for wounds to be healed and our life to be transformed.

Every human being has a variety of needs; physical, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual. Although a newborn has all these needs, they have almost no ability to meet any of them. As a child grows older, needs become more complicated, but the ability to empower ourselves to meet some of the needs grows as well. There will, however, always be some level of gap. God’s plan to address this gap is to facilitate meeting needs primarily through other people. Sometimes God intervenes directly himself, but most of the time needs are met by living a “one another” relational lifestyle.

I see this principle in Matthew 11 when Jesus explains we need to become like little children. Kids understand and accept dependence, so they aren’t shy about freely sharing wants and needs. Kids will volunteer all sorts of information about what they like, what they don’t, how it’s unfair their brother got the bigger piece of cake, and every overheard comment their parents don’t want shared with the world! When Jesus told the disciples they needed to be like a little child to enter the Kingdom of God, he was talking about vulnerability; approaching life with openness.

 The Bible clearly tells us God wants us to experience an abundant, full, prospering life, even in this broken, troubled world. That can only come about when we understand loving well is the key and put all our energy into identifying and pushing through the barriers. The abundant life encompasses love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There’s no way we can achieve any of these fruits without a vulnerable and transparent heart.

Many Christians find it shameful to admit it feels unsafe to trust those parts of us that are most precious with anyone, even God. One of the hardest parts of the healing process is tolerating that horrible exposed feeling while trying to connect with what is true. Being able to trust God’s motives and receive love from Him cannot take place without the uncomfortableness of feeling weak and vulnerable.

In William Young’s book, The Shack, each member of the trinity pursues the main character, Mack. Their intimate, probing questions shine a light on his deeply buried thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. Like most of us, Mack is caught off guard by God’s ability to look past the surface and he feels acutely uncomfortable at his transparency. When Adam and Eve were in relationship with God in the Garden, they lived an open, vulnerable lifestyle. The decision to protect themselves introduced fear. It’s at that point the Bible tells us they saw their nakedness and were ashamed.

I imagine this was what Judas experienced at the last supper when Jesus said someone there would betray him. Jesus didn’t mention Judas by name, but I’m certain Judas felt like there was a huge spotlight from heaven showing the darkness in his heart. Jesus loved Judas dearly and was giving him an opportunity to confess his heart attitude. But Judas was not able to tolerate his own guilt at being exposed. Rather than clearly seeing Jesus’ loving motives and responding to his loving kindness, Judas ran away from what Jesus offered and betrayed him. The weight of seeing his own cowardice and inability to receive Jesus’ love sadly brought Judas to despair and he chose death.

Are you willing to become vulnerable, trusting in the heart of your heavenly Father?

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