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On Hiding in the Bathroom and Vulnerability

I hid in a public restroom last week.

You see, we think we’ve found a church.  A wonderful thing for which I’m incredibly thankful!  But with that comes new people, relationships, talking to strangers, and a whole lot of insecurity.

After seven moves in a little over 8 years, you’d think I would have this down by now.  Nope.  I struggle with it every single time we move.  And every time we move I preach to myself about being bold, going out of my way to reach out, and jumping right in.

I built up the courage to attend Ladies’ Bible study at our new church last week.  Do you know how frightening it is to enter a ladies’ Bible study group of 50+ people?  Maybe some of you love that, but after I dropped my kids off in the nurseries and made my way downstairs, my heart literally started pounding in my chest.  Thankfully, the name tags were on a table outside of the meeting room.  So, I grabbed mine and scoped out the room for my assigned table.  No one was sitting there, and after a brief glance around the room, I could see that all the other ladies were in conversation.

These were my options as I saw them:
1) Go sit at my table, pull out my phone, and make it look like I’m in the middle of answering an important email.
2) Go to the bathroom.

Option 2 won.  I sort of needed to go anyway, so it wasn’t a complete escape.

I snuck into the stall, locked the door, and started to cry.  What would people think of me?  How do I enter into the relationships these women already have?  Would they welcome me in?  Did I look okay?  Why am I so self-conscious about all of this?  Lord, please help me!

I was able to stop myself from completely losing it, so at least no one could tell that I had been crying.  And, then I spent an entirely too long amount of time in front of the mirror trying to push down all of the stray wispy hairs on my forehead before I finally emerged, faking boldness and confidence.

As soon as I entered the room, a lady I had talked with the Sunday before came right up to me and struck up a conversation.  Another soon followed, and my fears started to vanish.  The ladies at my table asked me questions, introduced themselves, and it wasn’t long before my heart started settling down.

The study that morning was on Ruth chapter 3, where Naomi tells Ruth to go to the threshing floor one night, and speak with Boaz.   It’s a pretty scandalous story when you think about it, and Ruth made herself completely vulnerable by putting herself in that situation.

The speaker started the lesson something like this:  “Have you ever found yourself in a vulnerable place?  Maybe some sort of danger?  Or even just being a new person in a room of unfamiliar faces?”

I felt like she was talking to me.  That was how I felt as I joined into this established community.

Vulnerable.

Webster defines vulnerable as being susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.  I didn’t feel susceptible to physical harm in this situation.  And while many of us have found ourselves in those kinds of environments, most of the time when we talk about vulnerability in relationships, we’re talking about our emotional well-being.

I didn’t think anyone was going to try and crush my spirit that day.  But when we allow others to know us, on any level, we open ourselves up to potential hurt.  We don’t know what they will do with their knowledge of us.  So we tend to think the worst.  They won’t like me.  They won’t want to know me.  They will think I’m weird.  They’ll realize I don’t have it all together.  And on and on it can go.

When Ruth went into Boaz that night she had to have known that her reputation was at stake. Boaz could have rejected her.  And yet, Boaz responded to her in a beautiful way.

He blessed her.  He called her daughter.  He told her not to fear.  He promised her redemption.

Jesus has done the same thing for us.  He knows our hearts.  He knows the depths of our sin and our complete inability to be righteous before Him.  He sees us in our most vulnerable condition.  He has welcomed us still. 

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5.

The speaker that day made a statement that I’ve been thinking about this past week:  “Jesus doesn’t leave us in our vulnerability, He covers us in His blood.”

Hebrews 9:12 says, “He (Christ) entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” 

JESUS DOESN'T LEAVE US IN OUR

Boaz became Ruth’s redeemer.  Her future was secure because of the commitment Boaz made to her and her family.

Jesus is our Redeemer.  In Christ, our future is secure because of the sacrifice Jesus made with his blood.   We need not fear being vulnerable before the Lord because He already knows our condition.  And yet in His kindness, He grants salvation.

Being vulnerable in building new relationships is uncomfortable, and maybe you’re like me and just want to run to a bathroom and hide.

But we don’t have to hide from the Lord.  We can come to Him in our weakness and in our sin and we can find grace, mercy, and through the work of Jesus on the cross, who took our place, we have a sure inheritance.

“He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”            1 Peter 1:3-4

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We sang a song at church yesterday that captures this idea.  As you ponder the work of Christ on the cross and His resurrection this week, may this song be a blessing to you, as it was to me.

 

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8 Comments

  • Reply Jerra H

    Great post Lauren, thank you for sharing and for being vulnerable. Great talking with you a bit yesterday. Have always thought it would be great to get to know you more. Praying for your transition and connections.

    March 30, 2015 at 6:06 am
    • Reply Lauren Washer

      Likewise, Jerra! We’re so excited for the ways the Lord is moving in the life of your family!

      March 31, 2015 at 4:20 am
  • Reply sherri

    Thank you for sharing this, and for being so vulnerable! I remember when we were new here and were taking our Connections class at church, it seemed like there was such a long time between services. We didn’t know anyone and didn’t want to awkwardly stand around, so we went to Starbucks and sat there instead :/ Moving to a new place and starting all new friendships is so hard! We are praying that you will make good friendships and that they will come quickly!

    April 1, 2015 at 6:32 am
  • Reply Tina

    I’m glad you wrote this. I have done that hiding inthe bathroom thing, and at 43 yo of age, it feels fairly ridiculous. But you are right about the vulnerability. There is a tension with our need to build relationships, which requires us to reveal some vulnerabilities, and the potential to be hurt because another person knows our vulnerabilities.

    April 19, 2015 at 11:26 am
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  • Reply Elisabeth

    I’ve hidden and cried in that same bathroom!

    October 6, 2016 at 7:44 pm
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