I have been pondering exposure a great deal lately. I have been thinking about a hard situation in my life in which I am praying for, what I am calling, a holy exposure, a holy view of the larger picture. But exposure is hard and scary and tricky.
To Expose (ik-spohz):
verb (used with object), exposed, exposing.
to lay open to danger, attack, harm, etc.:
to expose soldiers to gunfire; to expose one’s character to attack.
to lay open to something specified:
to expose oneself to the influence of bad companions.
to uncover or bare to the air, cold, etc.:
to expose one’s head to the rain.
to present to view; exhibit; display:
The storekeeper exposed his wares.
to make known, disclose, or reveal (intentions, secrets, etc.).
to reveal or unmask (a crime, fraud, impostor, etc.):
to expose a swindler.
to hold up to public reprehension or ridicule (fault, folly, a foolish act or person, etc.).
To be exposed is a very vulnerable, intimate thing. It is much easier to cover up, to hide, to mask ourselves. Personally, I like being in the cave that I build around myself. It feels safe there, hidden and away from the elements. Sure, it is claustrophobic at times and definately darker, but man it feels safer. When I am exposed, people can see me, I can see me, the Spirit can see me (which sidenote: theologically speaking the Spirit always does see me, but like Jonah I still try to run and hide).
When I am exposed the real me is seen, beautiful and ugly, sinful and redeemed, weak and strong. When I am really exposed, all those pieces are seen. Exposure does not allow me to stay hidden and “self-protected” (which, let’s be real, the “self-protection” I try to give myself is a joke, but I embrace the illusion). Instead, exposure reveals things and leaves me unable to believe whatever false image I have created of myself.
When I am exposed I cannot just see the beautiful, redeemed and strong things about myself. Conversely, I cannot just dwell in the ugly, sinful, and weak things about me. With incorrect exposure I can try to manipulate the picture on either side of the scale and try to make it so myself and others will view me in which every way I choose. The reality of the picture is not clear.
Throughout my journey of learning the art of photography, one of the things I quickly realized is how incredibly important exposure is. It makes the difference between a beautiful picture and an awful one. Pictures that are under exposed end up being nothing more than a black screen with no definition, no contrast, no tone, no color, no depth, nothing. Pictures that are overexposed end up being nothing more than a white screen with the same problem. The correct exposure is a primary element to getting the picture, and the only way you get correct exposure is if you let the right amount of light in.
This basic photography truth has in fact become a holy lesson for me.
Like a photo, I often either don’t let enough light in to my life and I end up shamefully hiding my sins in the shadows or I ignore the shadows and I become completely filled with self-righteousness and get blinded to the fact I am a sinner. The problem is, either of those two places make for a poor picture. The only place I can get a beautiful picture is when I have the right light shining in, showing both the shadows and brightness. The only place I can get a good picture is when I let the “Light of the World” (John 8:12) speak into my life and show me the real, correctly exposed picture.
When taking photos I work hard to make sure the aperture value (Av mode) and shutter priority value (Tv mode) are set right and expose the photo correctly. Funny how hard this is to do this in life though. I know for me I overexpose or underexpose the image of myself instead of working to let the true light define who I am and show the clear picture.
Unfortunately, I see the same thing happening in this hard situation I am experiancing. People involved do not seem to want to allow for the correct exposure. But I will still pray for it because beautiful things come from exposure to the right light.