Naked and Unashamed

As far as the Lord has brought me in my fight against insecurity, certain things still make me feel uncomfortably vulnerable. For example, I have always been a little anxious about my education.

I only moved schools four times growing up, but one time I moved I went from a school district that taught grammar in the grade I was about to enter to a district that had taught grammar in the grade I was exiting. So, I was actually never taught grammar. I am a reader, so I can muddle through because certain things just look right to me, but I have this fear that there are major gaps in my knowledge of the English language.

So imagine my terror yesterday when I discovered a few gaps indeed did exist in my knowledge (those of you who have seen my wall on FB are laughing at this point). Did you know you aren’t supposed to double-space between sentences? Or that there is no plural version of the word toward? Oh heavens. As my hilarious friend Leah said, this makes me feel dumb.

I had things I knew I didn’t know – like I know you don’t end a sentence in a prepositional phrase, but I have no idea what a prepositional phrase is. I know I only somewhat understand adjectives and adverbs. And I know when I had to diagram sentences in high school, I faked it.

But I didn’t know there were more! What if I’m fundamentally illiterate?

As anyone who struggles with insecurity knows, we tend to steer away from the things that make us feel insecure. So as you can imagine, blogging, at root, was really frightening for me at first. Before I even get to the matter of topic or expertise (ha), there was the basic matter of sentence structure I had to figure out. But I did it, anxiously, because I felt compelled to do so as a way to reach out to my former students from the ministry where I served throughout my twenties. And the Lord has been faithful to use this as a tool of ministry beyond what I imagined.

Isn’t it funny how often the Lord brings us to our point of greatest vulnerability and in that place, that scary weak place, He chooses to use us? How many of you will raise your hand and agree with me that sometimes the Lord takes you to the one place you said you’d never go, and in that place, He shows Himself faithful?

I have loved blogging, and I love the friends who care enough to read what I have to say. It has been a tremendous connection-point to many women and I’m not sure I would have come to know those precious friends had it not been for this experiment in vulnerability.

So yesterday I had a choice, I could freak out and attempt to correct the things I have written and make this blog that has always been more about heart and vulnerability than excellence more “correct.” Or I could laugh at myself and move forward, just slightly less blissfully ignorant.

I’ll be honest, I had a few moments last night where I actually debated the choice in my head.

I am trying in my adulthood to be about vulnerability, but still, every time, it is a choice. Do you remember in the garden when Adam and Eve were naked and not ashamed, before sin entered in and screwed everything up?  I think that when we choose to make ourselves vulnerable, to be naked with the people around us, we are a little closer to paradise. I think all of the posturing and presenting ourselves as perfect is a big part of what is fundamentally broken about this world (and a big part of what is wrong with the church).

Because Adam and Eve were always naked, they just didn’t know it until sin entered the picture.  I am always flawed, it is just when it is revealed that I have to battle with my pride and my instinct to cover it up.

I am growing in this.  Today I can say honestly that I really dislike vulnerability, and yet I love it.  I have found it is, without fail, more fruitful than self-protection.  Great things happen when I push through vulnerability. I knew I wanted to marry Justin when I was around him without makeup, in weakness, and he still found me beautiful. I knew my girlfriends were heart-friends when I could reveal my doubt and sin and they loved me anyway. There is something special about relationships that are honest (naked, if you will) and unashamed.

So last night I decided to keep being vulnerable here, trusting the Lord to fill in the gaps. I will continue to muddle forward in my writing, adding an extra “s” where it does not belong and double-spacing between sentences (because, really, how do I train my brain not to do that when I’ve been typing that way for 28 years?), with a generous dose of prepositional phrases and improper sentence structure sprinkled in. I’ll try to laugh more and take myself less seriously, as I trust the God who made me to get glory even in my weakness.

So I present to you today, Jen’s Naked Blog. (You should all be proud of me for not actually renaming it. Those of you who know me well just checked the title bar in a panic to see if I crossed the line.)

I hope you’ll join me in this endeavor, naked and less ashamed.

**By the way – I have discovered a new GREAT resource in my battle against insecurity, and if that is a shared struggle, may I recommend it?   Simply click this link to purchase Beth Moore’s new book, So Long Insecurity.