Back in February, I was talking with one of the most amazing people I have ever met, and we were somewhere in the middle of a late night conversation talking about relationships. I was talking through my thought process on a few things, some of my fears, insecurities, and she was listening and giving me the perfect insights into my world.
One of the things she mentioned was that she wanted to challenge me to be vulnerable in a few of the situations. Appropriately so, but instead of trying yet again to control anything, just choose to show all sides of who I am, and not just the areas that are comfortable or that I am secure in.
To say I disliked the thought would be an understatement, and to say the concept did not scare me is laughable. But, I bounced the idea off of a few of my other best friends, and I realized after quite a bit of laughter and straightforward comments, that it was probably a very good idea for me, and my dislike of it was probably an indication of just how good for me it would be.
So, I did… And continue to choose to be vulnerable.
Appropriately so for the person, situation, and relationship I have with whoever I am talking to. And, what I have discovered is a weird mix of fear and security.
I have also found myself in an increasingly frequent number of large group situations where I clearly feel the choice in front of me to be vulnerable, and possibly insecure or choose to shut off a portion of my emotions and convey confidence and my ability to handle what is going on.
Each time I have chosen to be vulnerable.
Each time my heart has freaked out.
I have even allowed myself to cry when my heart was so overwhelmed with how I was feeling… Each time it had to do with Jesus or someone doing an extreme act of kindness. If you know me, you know how huge that simple concept is.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have actively chosen to be vulnerable and allow various people to see my heart. There have certainly been instances where the outcome was not at all what I would have hoped for, and sometimes it was just incredibly painful… Yet, in other instances, I walked away feeling completely safe, secure, and like I was taken care of.
Over the last month or so, I have left conversations with the person I was talking to, and I felt like they saw me. As though they truly saw my heart and cared about how it was doing, and what God was doing in it. I walked away feeling as though they could be trusted, that they would call out things in me I needed to hear, and like I was secure in my vulnerability with them. What a special gift to feel that way, to feel protected and safe even though I had chosen to bare my heart’s contents.
This week, I spoke to a group of senior high teens, and I had prepared an entire message, and while I gave about half of it… I skipped huge portions that I had planned on sharing, and I sat and focused on another part that I had planned on merely skimming through. I felt like God just parked me halfway through and made me sit there and describe what He has done in my life in this one point, and how dramatically it has altered me and who I am. Thankfully, I feel as though the teens connected, mostly because they did not move, stir, talk, shift or really do anything but make direct eye contact with me the entire 20 minutes I spoke.. I have no idea what connected them to what I was saying, but what I do know is when I was done my heart was totally wrecked and I needed a moment (or few) to compose myself. I have no idea how I made it through without crying because my heart literally hurt, and I was completely overwhelmed with how much God has changed me, and how humbled I am that He moves in my heart so much…
But, mostly I am thankful that I know what it feels like when God is moving my heart. It is a distinct feeling that I only get when He is working in me, it is incredibly painful, but I so love those moments when I feel His presence descend on my heart.
I also was asked (and maybe somewhat coerced) into singing this week.. Which, would be the first time I have sung in front of others in more than a decade. To say I was nervous and insecure would be a gross understatement. Thankfully, the guy who asked me to help him lead worship was very encouraging, and helped relieve some of my nervousness by making fun of the fact that I was so obviously uncomfortable.. Something that he was fairly certain he had never seen from me before… While I am not not at all secure in my singing ability, what I do know is that I worshipped, and I did not mess up horribly at any point.
So, it has been quite the last month or so.. A little on the scary side, and a lot on the uncertainty in being vulnerable side, but entirely worth the risk and the growth that is taking place… It is just not easy.
“Sustain me according to Your word, that I may live;
And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.”
– Psalm 119:116