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):

Trust in Home

“The best proof of Love is Trust” – Dr. Joyce Brothers

In 2012, I participated in One Word, and the word God laid on my heart for that year was TrustSo, this is not a new topic me.

As a matter of fact, God brings it back to me time & time again.

Because I struggle here…

I have written before about my struggle with depression and anxiety – it’s not exactly a secret battle.

I don’t dive into the depths of it, because it’s so personal for me. Though, depression is not as much of a struggle now, anxiety lurks in my life.

Threatening to conquer my mind.

It’s a battle – one I fear having to share one day.

I wrote last year about a panic attack that snuck up on me in a bookstore – a place I normally feel so at peace (remember, Home is Where the Books Are), and then again at a church event.

Since these two events, there have been others, though much smaller – few & far between (except recent days…).

But, when this is a part of your life, especially as a Christian, it is so hard to let other Christians in to this part of your life. Why?

Because Christians judge mental health issues so harshly.

Since I am holding out for an amazing man after God’s own heart, my head has a hard time reasoning being able to trust him with this side of my life, as I barely even trust my friends here. Only the closest get to see the wounds that accompany times of major anxiety – along with the battle to trust God’s control when everything in my world feels unendingly out of control.

It’s absolutely gut-wrenching to imagine having to tell someone about it, much less have them witness it. And trusting them to stick around once they do? Next to impossible.

But, the funny thing about trust? The more you do it inspite of yourself, the more it grows. The more you trust someone, the greater their opportunity to show you can have trust in them. They get a chance to surprise you – in a good way.

And, another irony of trust: by not trusting, anxiety increases – it’s one more thing to worry about – circular causality and all that.

“You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will be in torment if you don’t trust enough”
– Frank Crane

But, home? The safety of home is where trust is learned, where trust grows. It’s the place you don’t have to be ashamed of your weaknesses, but can work on them, embracing yourself for who you truly are. It’s the place you can be shown love despite those weaknesses.

It’s where we learn that our Abba truly is strong in our weakness.

One day, I hope to be able to fully trust someone, and hope that when it comes to this area of my life, they don’t break that trust.

But, if they do, I trust that God will restore what is broken.

Because, as Joyce said, trust is the greatest proof of love ♥.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But, he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18

See…I’m learning.

Faith & Forgiveness

Forgiveness is this week’s Tuesday @ 10 theme…and Keep is this week’s 5 Minute Friday theme.

Both are hitting close to home today.

Back in December I touched on an incident at work, a complaint about me. Well, that complainant did go to corporate, who sent it back to my manager. My manager investigated, and found all the facts and they showed that the woman was embellishing extremely, pretty much bending the truth into a lie…About my work behavior. And, so, my manager emailed the DM letting him know the situation and problem dropped, right?

No. No it wasn’t.

Now, 2 months later, it’s back. The woman’s husband is involved, a man I’ve never met, and apparently I am now being accused of being racist… I did my job. Properly. The evidence & facts are there that support that I was doing my job according to company procedure & policy. On my side, race never even was an issue, I didn’t even imagine that it could have been.

Upon learning this news, I am having a hard time forgiving this woman who I’ve only met twice, and a man I’ve never met.

I am having trouble letting go of my anger at their false accusations, and forgiving them for their words & the fear that accompany them.

And, as I wrote before, I again find myself afraid: for my job, and more, my reputation & my good name.

And what’s worse & even more frustrating, I don’t understand why they feel the need to be doing this.

Which brings me to Keep…

I am having such a hard time turning off the fear; and trusting God to keep me: safe, secure, free from harm.

And, heres why, (let’s be honest):

Job wasn’t spared

Ezekiel’s wife was taken

Jeremiah spent 50 years being persecuted, humiliated, and more

Stephen, Peter, Paul: martyred

even Christ was crucified.

Now, I realize that some of these were restored here in this life, but, after much suffering. Honestly, I don’t really have the stomach for that, and I have been more fair-weather in my relationship with God at times than these.

Yet, I know His promise of hope & restoration is for me, today. So, why am I having such a hard time trusting that He will keep me, that He will come to my aid?

Why is the enemy’s lie of fear so much easier for me?

And, how selfish that my biggest worry is how will look if this goes any further, rather than being concerned of how I can continue to show His love & glory through this?

Because, my current struggle with this fear & unforgiving spirit can’t be bringing much glory to the name of Christ.

But, I’m trying…to let it go. To trust. To forgive.

This is going to take time.

And, perhaps, memorizing these verses for peace and wisdom to keep as much peace as possible:

“Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge Beloved , but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “vengeance is mine, I will repay” says the lord.
Romans 12:17-19

Tuesday @ 10 – Trust

Trust is something I am no stranger to writing about here on my blog…however, a stranger to experiencing, that’s another story.

But, I’m learning.

I’m learning to trust myself: my instincts, my intuition, my intelligence. My desires & my hopes & my dreams.

I’m learning to trust those I love: actually loving them. Believing they actually love me & want the best for me. Going to them for prayer. Allowing them closer to me, past the walls I constantly feel the need to put up.

Most of all, I’m learning to trust God, more than I ever have before. Seeing how He has made all things come together, knowing that even in the hard times, he is right next to me, never letting me fall. Never letting me completely break, even though I feel like I’ve bent as much as I could. To trust that even if I make a choice that may have been the “wrong one”, He will transform it for the “right”.

Like, after ending with the Airman, I know my brain wants to tell me: “That was it, you ruined it, there will never be anyone else. At least, you won’t find anyone who is a God-lover & God-follower in a strong way.” – But, I am choosing to trust that those thoughts aren’t the truth, because God has something that is His best in mind for my life. Even if it means I remain single, there is His best in store, even currently happening, in my life.

This is one of the facets of being His Beloved: trusting Him.

Trusting His people.

Trusting the dreams He puts inside.

I have no idea what the future holds: single or taken…California or Washington (or somewhere new entirely)… License or PhD (or neither)… My current ministry or a new one… Writing more books or just keeping this blog…

But, no matter what unfolds on the path ahead, I can clearly see His working in my life already, and I know that pattern will not change.

So, I can trust that His best is always in store in my life.

(And, honestly, I really don’t want to be single forever…so, we’ll see what happens there…)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding
In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
-Proverbs 3:5-6

Waiting…

I am so tired right now, I just want to sleep…I even considered skipping writing today, but now, I’m in the habit. I can’t sleep without putting thoughts to page for the world to see – especially in the midst of this 31 Day challenge writing about being Beloved – Agapetos.

Since it’s Tuesday, I am going to use the prompt from Tuesday @ 10 over at Finding the Grace Within and tie it into being Beloved.

It’s fitting:

Patience: something I lack so often.

I want to know God’s plan for me right now!

I want to have that plan happen right now!

I want to be successful (whatever that means) right now!

I want to have all the information ever in the history of the world… and, well, you get it.

But, being the Beloved isn’t just flowers and candy. It’s not just the easy times when we know for sure we are loved & feel that love & show that love to others.

It’s also the waiting…

Waiting for an answer to prayer (and then accepting the answer, whether it’s yes, no, or, more waiting…)

Waiting for God’s timing in an answered prayer.

Waiting for others to step in and do their part.

Waiting…

It’s like Hannah, one of my favorite women in the Bible. She so longed for a child. Her husband loved her deeply, and she knew God loved her, but she had an ache, a desire. And God saw that. Each year she and her husband trekked to worship, and she wailed & pleaded for a child. And, then, she did what many of us would have thought was crazy: she promised to release him back to God… If only He would give her a child, she would let that child go into the service of God.

God used that time to bring Hannah closer to Himself, and He used the child she wasn’t supposed to be able to have.

That child was Samuel, and He did great things for God. He played a great role in the tales of the Old Testament, and the only reason he was there was because Hannah saw the hope & the beauty in the waiting. And, she promised the gift she patiently waited for to God.

(1 Samuel 1-3)

I’m not as good at the waiting as Hannah was. I lose heart along the way, and give up for a while. I only offer up half-hearted prayers sometimes, because I sometimes lose faith that maybe God will grant the desire.

 

But, even in the waiting, we can be certain that He is with us. He is in the tension, in the questions, and in the doubts as much as he is in the peace, in the answers, and in the confidence.

So, now, it’s just about learning to live at peace in the waiting… Trusting that no matter what, He is always with us.

“I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking…I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
– 1 Samuel 15-16


 

(And, this ties in to what I am going to write about tomorrow: one of my favorite women in the Bible, who spent so much time waiting that she almost missed the beauty God sent in the waiting.)