From: Kristen Vogelaar
"If I say, 'Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,' even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you."
If I am to be honest, the prospect of being personally known intimately and completely can be an uncomfortable idea to me. We learn how to create a public self that is presentable, curated, and likable. Someone our friends will approve of. Someone who looks the way our tribe is supposed to look, who listens to the right music, who cares about the right things. On a deeper and more vulnerable level, someone who doesn't make mistakes. Someone who doesn't ever wrestle with an embarrassing sin, or say or do the wrong thing. We have all felt the impulse to hide from God and from each other ever since Adam and Eve hid themselves in the garden, and I know that coming out of hiding with a trusted friend is a step of faith that requires courage and can leave me feeling exposed and fighting the urge to reach for the fig leaf.
Sometimes this impulse is for our own safety. People aren't always kind. If we let people know who we really are, it creates vulnerability that that could be damaging in cases in which the one receiving isn't a safe and kind person. The beginning of Psalm 139 had often been a passage that created some anxiety in me. God knows my every thought. He knows all the less-than-presentable parts of me; he fully knows what I deftly move out of sight when I curate my public self. But the beautiful thing in this Psalm is that he knows and he loves. Regardless. He is for us! His love for us is not in any way contingent upon our ability to make ourselves lovable, and in that we can find true, complete freedom and safety. We can rest in his love because we know that he loves regardless of his full knowledge of our less-presentable parts. He loves because it's simply his nature to do so. His character is kind and generous, and his love is safe and strong.
I pray that we can model Christ's love and grow in our Christlikeness by becoming and continuing to be resting places for one another to be vulnerable and honest, a true family in which we can be fully known and loved, find safety, and find relief from our performing.
Years ago when I was still living in small-town New York State, I participated in recording short jingles for our local radio station; occasionally when visiting my parents there I hear myself singing an introduction for the weather report over our local grocery store's radio. Currently, I am a psychotherapist working in the greater Boston area.