"All Together" is the first single from former Tenth Avenue North frontman Mike Donehey as a solo artist. It's a courageous song that the church needs to hear, asking big questions and casting vision for how to be vulnerable and how to respond to the vulnerability of others.
"Maybe we don't have to have it all together/What if grace made it safe to tell you the truth?/Maybe we can make a shelter for each other/Turnin' lies into light and we'll make it through/All together, all together"
Vulnerability brings healing
"Do I dare tell you the state I'm in/Cracks are where the light gets in"
Have you ever had that internal struggle with yourself about being honest with people about your difficult circumstances, but you're not sure it's a good idea? Maybe you even feel like you have to be honest because you need help and support, but you're afraid of how people will respond if they know the truth? I relate to that.
I don't like being open with people, mostly because I don't want to face my own struggles. I also have this weird fear that bringing things into the light will make everything worse. Here's how God's Word encourages us on this issue.
James 5:16 (NLT): "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results."
Galatians 6:1 (NLT): "Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ."
Romans 15:30 (NLT): "Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit."
These three verses invite us to the exact opposite of hiding our struggles in fear and shame. We're called to be open and honest with each other about our faults, burdens, and struggles. We're called to ask for prayer and pray for one another. Through that process of sharing, and being heard and prayed for, God brings healing to our lives. What a profound thought. He could do it on His own, but God's plan is to use each other as part of His individual work in our lives.
Share and Hear
"I want a church that looks like twelve steps/Where all are honest and accepted/But it's gonna take myself to cultivate/The kind of life that others haven't seen yet"
When it comes to vulnerability, scripture teaches us both how to be the sharer and the hearer, if you will.
If you're the one who needs to take that step of faith and be honest, find trusted people in your life that it's appropriate to share your heart. What are some characteristics of trusted people? You have a relationship with them, they're trustworthy, encouragers, they'll keep the confidence and honor you and what you share. They love God and love you. They're seeking to faithfully follow Jesus, just like you are, and they're committed to His Word. That could be a friend or family member, a pastor or mentor, a small group, or a counselor.
Just like Mike Donehey sings about in this song, let the light into those cracks. We tend to think that we're opening ourselves up to people's judgment and rejection, but what if we reframed our perspective that we're actually opening ourselves up to God's healing and encouragement ministered to us by His Spirit and by another brother or sister in Christ?
If you're hearing someone out, listen well. Love them with your words and actions. Pray for them—even with them, as we learned in James 5:16. Encourage and strengthen them, in the ways you're able to as God leads, as said in Isaiah 35:3. Maybe it's not a trial they're going through, but they're confessing an area of doubt in their faith or sin they want to be free from.
Gently and humbly come alongside them and help them back onto the right path, as stated in Galatians 6:1-2. Ask God to help you find the balance of meeting them where they are without judgment, while at the same time exhorting them to come up higher into the fullness of victory God wants to bring into their lives.
"Am I the only one who struggles here and now/Am I the only one who wrestles with my doubt/And if I tell you all my secrets will you go running out/There's only one way to find out/There's only one way to find out"
The practice of being vulnerable and receiving the vulnerability of others builds a deep community. Have you ever noticed that you get closer to people in your life when you walk through tough times together? Have you ever felt that sigh of relief in your heart when your honesty provokes someone else to be honest. And you both realize you're not the only one dealing with what you're dealing with? The beautiful thing about that connection is that you get to seek God for help and experience His transforming power—all together.
Find "All Together" on Mike Donehey's album, Flourish. Listen to Apple Music or Spotify. Read the full lyrics of "All Together" here.
NRT contributor Jasmin Patterson is a lifelong fan of Christian music who is passionate about helping others connect with Christ. She lives in Kansas City where she serves in college ministry and runs a blog to help seekers and believers discover and live biblical Christianity.
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