Awaken Day 5: in which I try to be vulnerable

Yesterday, I talked about being naked and vulnerable and how God requires our vulnerability. If I’m honest this is where I fail every time, and so today’s post is off of the beaten path from the material I’ve previously written.

I was poking around the world wide web yesterday. I had just learned that Lisa Whelchel had gotten a divorce, and I was wanting to read about it. Why this interested me is because of who she is – a Christian speaker and author, and her divorce felt confusing to me, especially since the public reason given was “it just didn’t work out.” But she’s a fallen woman given grace just like me and you, and aren’t you so glad grace steps in especially in times of public disgrace? There are mean-spirited people out there, and this paragraph aims to make no judgement over her decision.

Anyhow, a couple of years ago, she wrote a book about women friendships, and on her blog was an interview she did with Ann Curry. One thing that stayed with me after I watched was that transparency does not equal vulnerability. Ouch. I try to be transparent all the time. So I did some more digging later in the day, and found that transparency is what you choose to divulge and vulnerability is raw and has the capability to wound you. Sigh.

So I had to go back to the authority in vulnerability – Brene Brown. I have no idea if she’s a Christian, but her work and research verify what I’ve found as I’ve studied Scripture. If you have 20 minutes, it is worth it for you to go to the link I just listed and watch her first video on vulnerability.

Back to the me and my vulnerability issues. I have to tell you something. I used to blog in another space about my family life. Very often, not too many people read it. I wrote raw a lot of times because I could. When I struggled about my kids, I told it how it was. Then people started reading. And frankly this was good, because it gave me courage to be real in real life with real people. But as my kids got older, it felt wrong to be so raw in a public forum, where they could one day go back read and possibly misunderstand my heart. So I stopped, and I miss writing about them. It feels like I don’t spend as much time getting to know them because I don’t feel like I can write about them.

So when I started Brown Paper and Strings, I wrote raw about my childhood and various things. It is hard to be vulnerable in a public place. With people you do not know. When you don’t know how it will wound you. Or if they are safe. Or how you can trust people you don’t yet know. I gained a very small following quickly, but then I was afraid to keep writing vulnerably in that way, for lots of reasons.

I don’t have many in real life friends or family members that read this blog, and for the twenty of you who subscribe and read, I am ever so grateful. Occasionally the fact that irl peeps don’t read makes me sad, but as I’ve blogged more and more, I’ve accepted it. But over time, I’ve taken back my vulnerability with my in real life people. Sometimes I am more real here than anywhere because writing is easier to express my feelings and to do it in a safe and somewhat controlled way. I don’t like my emotions getting the best of me.

About a year ago I was wounded because an irl friend stopped subscribing to my old blog. I shared this information with people I trusted without ever divulging who it was because I was hurt and wanted to share the pain vulnerably. But sharing that information only made it hard for those friends to want to commit to this blog. And maybe you will feel the same way.

Several months ago, I was wounded because I shared vulnerably and friends walked away. Almost without exception when I’ve been vulnerable, I’ve been wounded. And I hate it and it makes me want to pull tight into myself, become a hermit, and never type another word again. God has me come back to this topic again and again because He’s still teaching me about my shame, my past wounds, that He is healer, that He has made me worthy, and that when I’ve been the most vulnerable with Him, I’ve learned a deep incredible amount of love. No matter whether or not I come across people in which I can share vulnerably, whole heartedly with all the time or not, He’s proven worthy of my vulnerability. He was wounded for me, because He was vulnerable and naked and my sin wounded Him. And as a result of my growing vulnerability with God, I am much closer to Him than I’ve been in years. What He does is cover my shame and heal the wounds and even shows me how to be a safe person when I’m wounded instead of acting out of my pain, and then I feel joy and I step out of my fear, and I learn to be vulnerable with others. Something I’m still learning. I hope I haven’t scared you off today. ;)

How do you feel about vulnerability?

Here’s  a song I believe really speaks to this need:

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Comments

  1. I LOVE this!…probably because I’m much the same.

  2. I think vulnerability is a two-edged sword, Jamie. It can heal, but it also can hurt, as you’ve attested. But I think the hurt is worth it in the long run because we grow through that pain to another level in God, and in our relationships with others. I, too, struggle with being totally vulnerable in my writing. It’s not my nature to “bare all” but I am learning that there is value in sharing the stuff that is deep down and needs to be cleansed. That was one of my reasons for beginning my blog.

    Let’s see what God does with all of our vulnerability, as we allow Him to do that work of healing and restoration!

    • Thank you for sharing, Alison! Your comment is very meaningful to me. I think the hurt is worth it in the long run too, but it is so hard not to build walls isn’t it? or to trust again? and to lay it bare for the world to see.

      I look forward to seeing what He does. I think we will be amazed!

  3. I would LOVE to speak to women on a regular basis. But, I cry when I do and it makes me TOO vulnerable. So I pull back. I’ve told the Lord if He calls me to speak I will. But, to voluntarily put myself out there- well, it’s much easier in cyber-space isn’t it?!
    The Lord is still working on me with this vulnerability thing. Moment by moment. But He is teaching me to turn the other cheek when I get hurt and place those wounds in His hands.
    Thank you for sharing your heart. It’s good to know we aren’t alone in our struggles.

    • Thank you for your encouragement, Paula! I’ve never heard you speak, but I bet you would be great at it. Vulnerability is hard. Thanks for the reminder to turn the other cheek and to place my wounds in His hands. Oh, how He is healer! How I’ve been broken by Him and remade! It’s a continual process.

  4. Hi Jaime,

    Just want to say, if I could, I would give you a big hug, and tell you, “I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been wounded,” and “being vulnerable is risky,” and it is okay to limit who you are vulnerable with…Brene Brown writes about this in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, which I am in the middle of …plus Proverbs 4:23..BB writes about how we don’t share our hearts with just anyone…it has to be someone, who has earned the right to hear our raw stories, otherwise we needlessly open ourselves up for hurt…But, I also think sometimes God has called me to be vulnerable, and to trust Him to protect my heart…sorry, if this is confusing…hard to write about it…if we were in person, we could talk…hugs my friend :)

    • Thank you, Dolly! I accept your hug even from miles away! ;) I think I will look at that book next. I just started reading Mended by Angie Smith. I hope to go through it slowly and perhaps post about it on the blog, so maybe I could look the BB book soon. I think sometimes when I really want to trust someone I do open myself up too soon. I’ve learned that. But I recognize that I am a tough cookie to crack at times too. I think I am in a place of learning when to be vulnerable and how to trust Him more with my heart with others. Thank you for loving on me. Hugs!

  5. scared me off? GIRL, you only drew me in. again.

    “transparency does not equal vulnerability” — i literally gulped when i read that. so incredibly insightful. helped me understand my internal responses to two posts i’ve written that were particularly hard for me to share. the kind that made me hold my breath when i pushed the publish button, then left me w/ blogger’s remorse afterwards (aka heightened insecurity). i knew they were a different level of transparency, & now i can put words to it. they were vulnerable, from a raw place in my wayward heart. and def. had/have the capacity to wound its fragile state. (not-so-ironically, the one was my most recent post about building self-protective fortresses around my soul . . .)

    i’m so sorry, jamie, that your vulnerability hasn’t been received as the precious gift that it is, that it’s instead been met with rejection. vulnerability is so uncomfortable b/c it knocks on our masks, requesting permission to live & love without them — & most of us don’t even want to acknowledge that we’re wearing them. my perfectionist mask *still* gets in the way of my humbling myself before another person i’ve wronged. it’s definitely easier to just walk away & build the wall. (ugh.) but i don’t want to be that person anymore. i don’t want to be afraid of my pain or anyone else’s. i want to lean into it. i want to lean on Him IN it.

    the “how to be a safe person when I’m wounded instead of acting out of my pain” part? man, am i becoming painfully aware at how much i stink at that. i really do. and it stifles me from stepping out of my fear and into freedom.

    and interesting — for me, it’s easier to share w/ total strangers than it is people i live life with. b/c they’re the ones i have to face on sunday mornings, for example (& what will they think of this ugly mess i’ve just shared? . . . ).

    i’ve said it before & i’ll say it again, friend. your transparency AND vulnerability have always resonated deeply with me, & i’m grateful for your courage to share it.
    – tanya

    (btw, i got lost (in a good way) on BB’s site yesterday after reading this. i’ve seen that clip referenced, but never took the time to watch it ’til you recommended it. wow! . . . loved it so much i watched the 2nd one, & even started jotting down notes along the way.)

  6. Okay Jamie, I’ve been backed up on my reading, and I shouldn’t be missing your 31 Days posts! I totally relate to this…at every level! Truthfully, I am hurting deeply right now, and I heal through my vulnerability. But I can’t be vulnerable, because my situation involves too many people. Do you think there’s a time to be silent and trust God to work? I guess that’s what I’m doing, and everything in me fights to speak up, to speak out! My flesh wants to scream the truth, but for some reason God wants me to bear this alone (well, with my husband)…and I think it’s because He wants to be my defense. And anything I say sounds like I’m being defensive…and any attempt to be vulnerable has only led to misunderstandings. So I know it’s vague, but I’m interested in hearing your thoughts, if you have time. Love you and praying for you, friend!

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