Vulnerability

From where I sat tonight, I enjoyed clouds, cooler weather, and a day when I’ve felt more me than I have in days – maybe weeks.

Summer heat gets me down, y’all.

So, here I sit on this cooler day finally enjoying myself – reading & writing, tending to my soul & spirit…contemplating many things, including relationships.

See, that date has become something…so, it means letting someone in…

I am so, so used to single life. In single life, I’m only responsible and accountable to me (to an extent).

I mean, it is my desire to bring my husband good all the days of my life (Proverbs 31:12) – but I’ve already failed, I’m sure. So, I try moving forward – that whoever he is will truly find good when he finds me as his wife (Proverbs 18:22).

But, I digress…

In single life, you don’t have to let anyone in.
You don’t have to be vulnerable and wonder if they can/want to handle it.
There’s always fear in vulnerability.

If you move forward with someone – there’s risk. You let someone into your pain, your mess, your darkness, your weakness, your faults – along with your joy, your celebration, your gifts, your passion.

Entering a relationship requires trust.

For me, a big area of vulnerability is this blog. My heart shared, post after post; and, there are questions that go with that:

  • What if “he” finds it?
  • What if he doesn’t like what he reads?
  • What if it scares him?
  • What if he doesn’t understand the struggle, the doubt, the darkness…?
  • What if I find myself to be too much or not enough?

Honestly, though, this openness & willingness to risk vulnerability is essential to any relationship – whether two weeks old or fifty years old (not that you should spill all day one, there are levels to this…)

We cannot connect with others without it – and, yes, at some point it will lead to conflict, disappointment, and misunderstanding. It’s what you do together to overcome that which will make the difference.

Just as you hope he/she will be that for you, this gives you a beautiful opportunity for you to be open & accepting of him/her in their darkness, weakness, struggle.

In doing this for one another, you find the beauty to overcoming this fear – you find a partner, a war buddy.

And, you discover someone who loves your heart: weakness, faults, and all. You discover someone you love: weakness, faults, and all.

So, do we fear vulnerability? Of course we do.

But, overcoming that fear leads to something we are all hoping to find in this life – and it leads to the kind of relationship & love that glorifies, honors, reveals, & represents God and His love for us.


I listen to a lot of [Christian] Hip-hop, and recently, there is a song that has worked it’s way into my heart. It comes along these lines so well. It deals with this kind of openness and vulnerability, from the perspective of the one being supportive and accepting, and loving. I want to share it with you, as it may be an encouragement to others, too (KB – Lights Go Out (ft. Blanca & Justin Ebach) – Reach Records):

Oh, should…

Let me tell you about what I hope to have in my life one day:

A wonderful relationship led by God, where He is the center. A man I can support who also supports me (then again, you already know this, don’t you).

Someone strong in his faith, and whose life is built around the things of God.

A good sense of humor, encouragement, and friendship.

I want us to travel and explore. I want us to fall in love and love unconditionally. I want us to have a family and an intimate friendship.

I hope for someone who finds me beautiful, and who lets me know he sees me that way. Especially on the days I don’t see it in myself, I know those days will come.

I desire that we could learn each others’ love languages, and, we’d learn to speak them well.

I pray for a man who is willing to take the lead, but who also understands I have ideas and opinions. I want someone I can submit to because I know he is fully submitted to God. I pray for wisdom, peace, and patience (in both of us).

I hope for a gentleman, and I look forward to the little things: having him open doors for me, maybe buy me flowers or my favorite candy; getting to know each others’ favorites; quiet nights at home; days out adventuring. I look forward to the exciting and the monotonous…

I want all of the above…but to get there, I have to wade through the “shoulds”…

Recently, I went on a date. While getting ready, the following conversation transpired:

Me: “I don’t know where my make up is.”
Sister: “Me either”
Me: “Maybe I just won’t wear makeup…”
Sister: “That would be rude.”
Me:”Why?”
Sister: “Because, he deserves to have you look like you tried.”

Look like I tried…I had showered, fixed my hair, and I was in a dress (a rarity in my world – the dress part).

But, I got to thinking about the “shoulds” and the expectations we have as a society about relationships. Everything from how we should look on the first date to when we should kiss someone for the first time.

It also got me thinking about what we “owe” the people we date:

  • Timeliness – your date is taking time to spend with you. We should respect that.
  • Respect – on that note, your date deserves respect
  • Being put together – clean, neat. This doesn’t mean you have to be made up or in the fanciest clothes
  • A thank you – especially if they paid.

Now, what do we not owe them, especially early on?

  • Perfection – No one is perfect.
  • Physical affection – even if he/she pays. You do not owe them anything in the area of physical affection.

But, we as a society put out all these “shoulds” – you should look perfect, be perfectly made up, wearing the best clothing out there. You should kiss by date “x”, other physical affection by month “x” (or in Christian circles, be careful of when you kiss, no other physical affection until the ring is on). You should play hard to get, make the guy come to you. It’s the 21st century, go get your guy…
Often, advice is conflicting, and sometimes, goes even so far as to encourage you to hide yourself at first – “keep in the crazy”.

Honestly, though, if I am ever going to be blessed with the relationship mentioned above, I can be nothing but myself: honest, loyal, who.I.am.

And, in case you’re wondering, I did end up putting on my make-up. Not because I felt it would be rude to him, but because I wanted to.

 


This is a part of this week’s Five Minute Friday…always one of my favorite ways to jump-start the blog again.

What are some “shoulds” that you have come up with in your own dating/relationship experience?

Breaking the Habit Cycle

Time for some real talk…

Back in September, I was diagnosed gluten sensitive. After nearly 2 years of not knowing what was wrong – I have an answer. (One I don’t like, but an answer).

So, for more than 6 months, I’ve known the biggest cause of my stomach woes. Yet, I keep in this cycle of gluten free, and then allowing some back in my diet (and then suffering because of it, so back to gluten free).

With this cycle comes all the horrific side effects: headaches, irritability, increased anxiety, major digestive issues, and more.

Each time I say I won’t do it again, then, a week or two later, there I go on a gluten binge again.

Monday night, as I found myself desperately in the presence of my Abba, in a world of pain after a stressful and heartbreaking day, which followed one of these binges (due to lack of time/access to better choices), realizing how often we are like this in our spiritual lives.

I was so desperate for His word & comfort because of the magnitude of my negative feelings – a terrible day at the office. But what of the rest of my recent times?

Well, netflix, work, & other “obligations” have kept my attention.

And, it’s this way with our sins, too, big or small. We think “never again”, and then the enemy comes in and tempts us once again. And, we cave. We give in & feel the convictions followed by “never again” promises that fall flat.

Though, it isn’t always just sin. Notice I put netflix first on the list? It’s where all my time seems to have been going when time isn’t accounted for by something else. Then again, that makes it an idol, huh? Now, we’re right back at the sin…

So, how do we get out of the cycle?
Well, obviously, I’m not good at that part yet. But, I can tell you:

  • First, we decide – really decide never again. We make a real, conscious choice to actually change the behavior.
  • We repent. This means a complete 180. A turn from what we once did, and to a new way of behaving.
  • pray. On our own, the cycle never ends. He is our strength. He is the only way the cycle ends.
  • We surround ourselves with Godly accountability. Again, we cannot do this alone. Godly accountability relieves some of the pressure, and gives us people to rely on.
  • We extend and accept grace for ourselves. Not as something to take for granted or take advantage of, but to genuinely extend ourselves grace and accept His grace. We will mess up. It will happen (especially early on). So, we pick up & we move forward.

Hopefully, I can do this – both in my physical need (gluten-free) & in my spiritual needs (God always priority).

And, if you find yourself stuck in that cycle, I pray you can also break it and really put God as your priority.

Let me know below if there are any ways I can pray with/for you in this area. 

A Lenten Challenge

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Ok, I know, Lent is longer than 30 days…but as part of this Lent season, I am doing my very best to give up Soda…for me that means straight up, full sugar, Coca-Cola classic (or, a Dr. Pepper, if Coke isn’t available).

To be honest, for me, a lot of it is the caffeine in it – I don’t do coffee or tea. So, it’s my old reliable.
But, it’s also the comfort. It’s what I turn to when I should be relying on Him, so it’s out.

Only, this year, as opposed to previous years, I hope not to return to reliance on it.

So, I’ve decided (beginning last friday, March 17) to track the next 30 days…because apart from strictly spiritual reasons, we hear so much what Soda does to our bodies – the amount of sugar and the empty calories. I want to know if that’s true.

Changing nothing else in my life, just cutting out soda, what will the difference be in 30 days?

I’ve replaced soda with water (and once a day: Lemon/Peppermint water (or just Lemon, or just Peppermint, or Lime/Peppermint) using my lovely Young Living oils):

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This is an example – love my lemon/peppermint mix. Typically, I use a metal cup. If using citrus continually, don’t use a plastic cup like this, as the citrus will corrode plastic over time (I poured the water from the bottle into my cup).

So, no extra exercise (which, for me pretty much is only whatever happens for work & house keeping, and, recently, downsizing/packing…), no change in diet. Just eliminating soda.

Now, I am not doing this to look better or live a healthier lifestyle, though, I do plan to continue moving that direction once I get this no soda thing down.

It’s one thing to be able to look down and love the body you have (which is where I am); it’s another thing entirely to be treating that body with respect & care (which is what I am working towards).

So, there is no end “goal” for me in this, except to cut out soda. No final weight or measurements, though I have taken starting weight and measurements (which I am not comfortable sharing, but will share the differences at the end).
I simply want to be able to eliminate my reliance on something that threatens God’s place in my life, and be at a healthier place than when I started.

Two caveat’s to this:

  1. Last september, I was diagnosed gluten free…since then, I have already made some changes to diet, namely: no wheat products. However, I still don’t eat the healthiest…I eat a lot of snack foods for meals, eat processed food, and a lot of dairy. So, though gluten is out, it hasn’t changed my weight much – being sick often has left me several pounds lighter over the past several months, but that has leveled off in the past month.
  2. Recently (for the past month or so) I have been drinking Zeal by Zurvita once a day to get my vitamins, as I am unable to take multi-vitamins. I will continue this as I go forward. Once a day, a serving of Zeal, which does give a natural caffeine boost & may skew results slightly:
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Zeal is actually a great addition to my life, since I cannot process most multi-vitamins…I don’t think any skew it may have will be enough to be much difference.

 

Purpose – Redemption

I’m not Catholic or Orthodox, and typically not a part of a church body that participates in Lent. However, as a personal practice, more years than not in the last 10 years, I have participated in Lent (in a personal manner).

Recent life events have left me with some questions and some heartbreaking thoughts that I know God will use this Lent season to teach and grow me.

Tonight, in that vein, I am participating in the 5 minute friday tradition (last week, I actually did my 5 minute Friday post on my Tiny house blog)…I know it’s Sunday, but unfortunately, I find myself late many weeks.

This week’s theme:

PURPOSE…

“You didn’t want heaven without us, so Jesus you brought heaven down”
-Hillsong ‘What a Beautiful Name’

This song has me wrecked recently, especially this line… He didn’t want heaven without us…

This goes with my reading tonight.
Tonight, I spent time in 2nd Peter.

He has a lot to say in the 2&3 chapters about evil days: false prophets & teachers, evil doers, fleshly desires, condemnation, and more… I won’t take the time to break it all down – honestly, it’s a lot.

But, I want to focus on one specific section:

“But, do not forget this one thing dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief…”

  • 2 Peter 3:8-10

So, what’s this all about?

It’s about purpose.
And, that purpose? Redemption.

Recently, I’ve had to come face to face with my belief: sin, death, mortality.
Do I really believe some perish?

Unfortunately, I do. And, honestly, the question of someone’s eternity is HEARTBREAKING.
But, Jesus has been working in my heart – if it’s that heartbreaking for me, how much more heartbreaking is it for Him to have Creation reject Him?

So, what’s it all about?
Purpose – redemption. Human souls. Love.

He created a way – desiring that no one would perish, knowing some would anyway. Giving His people the knowledge, tools, and compassion to reach as many as possible, and then commissioning us to do so.

This is a tough, heartbreaking topic to write about. I hate the thought of spending eternity without some of the people I care about – even spending eternity without my “enemies”. But, the reality is, it’s likely to happen.

And, if it hurts so much for me – how much more for Him, after creating and offering restoration?

So, that leaves me – in the gap. Attempting to live out the great commission in my life. In the tension between here & now and eternity.
A part of the Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven, trying to be a light of love to as many people as I can.

So, what’s this all about?
Purpose – human souls. Love.
Redemption.