The one thing we all want, without question, is to be loved by others.

Sadly, we assume that we get the love we want by working super hard to hide our flaws and weaknesses from others so that they won’t be repulsed by us. In fact, it is almost directly the opposite.

The love you desire is on the other side of being vulnerable and honest about your weaknesses. Contrary to what most of us think, when we let our guard down in front of a trusted loved one, we see them enter into our pain with deep care and love. When we are unafraid to expose our weakness, we allow the other person entry into the depths of our humanity.

When we are proud and unwilling to be vulnerable about our struggles, we shut any possibility of real intimacy and love out. Two people who think they are perfect will never experience the love they desperately crave.

Any loving relationship has an amazing way of naturally exposing our flaws to the other. I found this particularly painful when Maddie and I first began courting. Simply because I was proud and didn’t think I had any major flaws. That idea did not last long!

I then noticed a pattern where I was hiding from her. I was ashamed to be seen in all my imperfections. I thought she would withdraw her love. I thought I would be alone and rejected.

But something beautiful happened. Madeleine loved me even deeper. She forgave me for my weaknesses that hurt her. She entered into my heart and life in a way deeper than she ever had before. I was vulnerable, and she did not turn me away.

To love is to be willing to take the risk.

The ultimate risk.

The risk of losing the one you love because you are imperfect. If you pretend your flaws do not exist, you will never experience authentic love from the other. The love that can only come from mercy and forgiveness.

But if you expose yourself to your loved one in the midst of your weakness, you have the chance to experience the ultimate love. The love that forgives is merciful and willing to suffer with you through anything.

Do not be a sealed tomb.

Roll away the stone and let your loved one see you in your mess.