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: