Vulnerability is not a dirty word…

He loved us first

One of the greatest gifts we have been given is love.

God’s love for us. Another’s love for us. Our love for each other.

And love is not only the great equalizer, but the most magnificent healer of hurts.

Yet sometimes I find it hard to receive this gift, both from God and my husband.

Earlier this month my Michael made a very loving comment during a moment when it was just the two of us, no pretenses, no agendas, just being real with each other.

I so enjoy watching the unfolding of the beautiful woman you are becoming…

I smiled when he said the words, thanked him and nestled my head on his shoulder. Inside, however, the statement made me cringe. Those loving words spoken softly to edify had made me feel so very uncomfortable.

So uncomfortable that I have been praying about it over the last couple of weeks. And I have come to see that those tender words of love and admiration made me feel uncomfortable because they made me feel vulnerable!

And I do not like to feel vulnerable. I prefer to feel strong, independent and in control.

For when I am in control, I do not feel afraid. And fear is something with which I am intimately acquainted.

And this discovery made me ponder the condition of my heart in Christ who has not given me a spirit of fear.

I know that I am not in control, only God is.

I know that I am weak, very weak, and desperately need God’s strength to carry me.

And I further understand that to be human, to be in relationship with a significant other, nay all others, I must choose to let down my guard and be vulnerable. Coming to Christ like a little child needing to be held.

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When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.
~ Madeleine L’Engle

While my adult brain comprehends these truths, my child heart — which grew up all broken — feels fearful.

But by the grace, love and leading of God, and now with the love of my wonderful husband whose own heart grows and heals each day, I have worked through tons of stuff and am in a much better place spiritually and emotionally than ever before.

However, in this year dubbed BREAKOUT, God is allowing for some loose ends — those frayed edges of a once extremely fragmented heart — to present so that His light may shine into my darkness, bringing further healing and freedom.

And I believe that healing, like sanctification and learning to love as He loves, is a daily, ongoing process that will last our earthly lifetimes as He makes us increasingly whole and healthy, better equipped to love and serve Him and others.

Better able to relax and surrender all control to the only One who is in control.

Hallelujah!

And the more of His healing love I receive, the more my heart can respond in vulnerably healthy ways.

FLOWERS

Recently someone advised me:  “Forget the past already. Focus on happy things…plant flowers…help the poor.”

And I say Yes! and Amen!

Looking outward and serving others is a key element of following Christ, our beloved Servant God. As I shift my focus away from myself I become increasingly more balanced.

We who have strong faith ought to shoulder the burden of the doubts and qualms of others and not just to go our own sweet way. Our actions should mean the good of others—should help them to build up their characters. For even Christ did not choose his own pleasure, but as it is written: “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”
Romans 15:1-3

And Christ indeed commands me to forget because He has and is making all things new.

Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
“Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.
“The beasts of the field will glorify Me,
The jackals and the ostriches,
Because I have given waters in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert,
To give drink to My chosen people.
Isaiah 43:18-20

Yet there are moments when I first need to remember, looking backward and inward, in order to let go, let God and forget.

And as I share my heart on this blog — where I willingly make myself as authentically vulnerable as I can — I feel encouraged and grateful when readers say the words at Longings End help them.

Help them heal!

And my stories, like your stories, are meant to help others. Through writing as honestly as I can bear to be in the moment at hand, another weary traveler along life’s way may more easily receive God’s immense healing love, embracing a whole new holy lifestyle, free from the past.

To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord…
Isaiah 61:1-2

But I certainly don’t have it all figured out!

So I keep clinging to Christ who will never let me go.

And even when it hurts or is uncomfortable, I purpose to push through the pain to the other side where the sun always shines and healing and freedom abound.

Will you join me on this journey?

~sheila

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3 thoughts on “Vulnerability is not a dirty word…

  1. beautiful post and the crux of the whole thing to me is wrapped up in this one simple phrase

    “better equipped to serve God and others”

    Thank you!

    • Yep, Elizabeth…we comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

      I just visited your site. Beautiful post on surrender…however, I was not able to post a comment. So sorry 🙁

  2. love. have you read Brene Brown? i think you would like her book, Daring Greatly. thank you for sharing this intimate story with us. for being vulnerable. bless you.