I hope you know this feeling, I'm pretty sure most of us do.
We were sitting in a casual and slightly lopsided circle - some of us on couches, some in armchairs, all gathered around a coffee table that was loaded with our coffees and treats. We'd hired a babysitter for the morning, but kids and toddlers were still slowly meandering in and out, holding their mamas for brief moments and stealing bites of goodies from our table.
We were talking about the book we're reading, the Lord, our husbands, counseling, our lives, motherhood, mission, the Bible - all the usual topics. And we'd hit a subject that God was really seriously messing with me about. My heart was beating freakishly fast, I could feel the tears welling up behind my eyes, and I started nervously destroying the paper napkin that I was holding in my left hand.
I was about to come undone, right there in front of my new-ish friends. The tears were going to happen and it was going to be messy. I was going to say REAL thoughts and feelings, some that might not sound holy or tidy, and I was going to need correction, exhortation, encouragement, and accountability. And I had a choice: let it happen or stuff it back up?
Here's the deal: I had some good excuses to stuff it back up. A of all - it was only our second meeting. No one else had lost their junk in tears yet. We're a new group and we're not all super safe and understanding of one another. B of all - I'm the pastor's wife. Not all of these women go to my church, but most of them do. How can I comfort and lead and seem like I have my ish together with the Lord if I'm the one needing the help? C - (and here's the kicker) IT WAS MY BOOK THAT WE ARE READING. You know, Wild and Free, the book I coauthored with my good friend, the one that thousands of women across America are reading.
Well, I'm reading it too, and here I was, at book club, finding something in Chapter 2 that was bringing me to my knees and sending me to the feet of Jesus. Needing help, healing, and some serious love from my friends.
Women of God, I need to implore you: please, please don't fight the bubble in your throat and please don't stuff it back up.
Please be brave and wild and free and COME UNDONE. I know that it's scary and I know that you have your own reasons for why you feel like you can't, but I've got a few reasons to share with you about why I want you to push through.
1. Jesus did not die on the cross so that we could all fake being ok.
John 10 tells us that Christ came that we might have ABUNDANT life. FULL life. I whole-heartedly believe that so many of us are missing out on true abundance because we're not letting anyone see our cracks, our hurts, our pain, our sin, or our true burdens. The further that we will swing into genuine, honest, undone-ness will give us room to swing even further into healing, hope, joy, and abundance.
If you don't tell your friends about your marriage issues, who will you celebrate with when God heals? If you don't confess you feel like an awful and broken mother, who is going to pray for you and speak truth to you? If you don't ever let the tiniest cracks into your addictions, your shame, your secret sin - how is the light going to win?
Jesus is mighty enough and big enough that He can work in secret and He can work in the dark, but that's not the FULL life He bought for us. Let's not look at the cross of Christ and say we'd rather be liked and respected than need His grace and mercy.
2. We preach the gospel when we need the gospel.
If anyone ever asks me how I witness to people or share Jesus with them, I have one honest answer that never changes: I am in relationship with people. I sin and I need grace and Jesus. They see me need Jesus. They see Jesus be enough.
There are the occasional times in my life where I've shared the gospel TO someone, but for the most part, in all my relationships, the way I do ministry is by needing Jesus and letting Him show up. When my friends who are not Christians see me fall short and see Him be enough, who gets the glory? Jesus. When my kids watch me sin day after day and hear me apologize and walk in the grace and new life God offers, who seems like the hero? Jesus!
When we act like we're a-ok with no issues and all the answers, who gets the attention? US. We may be tempted to believe the lie that we need to represent Christ well by staying inside the lines and pretending like we're one hundred percent perfect, but I think one of the BEST ways we can represent Christ is by recognizing that He's the real perfect one.
We preach the gospel when we need the gospel, so let's not believe the lie that if people see us in any light other than perfection that we'll dissuade them from Jesus. Rather, let's be soft, changeable, open, needy recipients and partakers of God's grace.
3. Going first frees other women up to come undone.
Now here's the hard part. I'll be the first to admit this isn't fun. I'll also be the first to warn you that it won't always go well.
About six years ago I was seriously struggling with depression and my husband and I had just moved to a new church. I was in counseling, taking medication, doing all the things I knew to fight my mental illness well and I knew I needed some community to help. I sent a group Facebook message to a few of the women in the church and just spelled it out for them: "I'm coming out of a season of intense despair and suicidal feelings - would you guys spend time with me? Could we hang out? I'm not great at being alone right now and don't feel safe spending days on end only with my kids."
You guys: crickets. That's what I heard. No one responded to the Facebook message and you better believe no one invited my undone self over for a playdate. Nick and I took about a week to pray about it and immediately found another church. It wasn't a season where we could afford to teach people how to let us need Jesus.
But the good news is, we somehow found strength to try a new church and come undone with them. And then next time we moved, we'd come undone again. And again. And again. And again. And I've found now, with multiple groups of women that so many people are just waiting for the first woman to crack.
Leading and going first is terrifying and it comes with risk. They might not respond well. They may not respond at all. But overtime, we get to teach people how to treat us by how we treat them when they go through needy seasons. And in return - we are blessed to carry the burdens of others and get the support of brothers and sisters around us.
Back to that early summer Friday morning a few weeks ago, as I wiped my tears and clutched my book and looked around hopefully at the women I had gathered with. They sprang to action - with truth, grace, and prayers. They've checked back in and they've written texts to follow up. And in replace of that broken and hopeless spot that was living buried in my heart, I've found light and life and encouragement and I believe God is working and healing and growing me.
And I am so glad that I came undone. I know Jesus more and we all saw Him more that day, so much more than if I'd pretended it was all ok and that I was the expert.
So let's do it here. Here's your invitation: let's drop the act and let Him be the hero.
Let's come undone.