Tag Archives: vulnerability

Vulnerability is a Must for Love–Use It with Care

I had a crazy experience recently. I was leading a group and I really wanted it to go well–really get everyone bonded. I had made a plan but then decided to go with another one at the last minute.

The group went even better than I supposed it would. They all seemed to feel good about it, but I didn’t. People had opened up more than I expected, even people that I didn’t think would.

Usually I go first to model vulnerability–a rule of being a good group leader. But I didn’t even have to. And afterwards I felt bad.

I couldn’t understand it! Why did I feel bad? Because I hadn’t gone first? Because I had changed plans? Because I thought I hadn’t prepared well enough? I didn’t get it, but I felt an awful heaviness in my chest.

I went to bed an hour or so later, and it was still there! So I said to God, “I don’t know what is going on! I have no idea why I feel this heaviness. You healed some old lies for me this morning, and yet tonight I feel worse than if You hadn’t. What is going on? Do I need to learn something? Find a lie? Is this just an attack from the dark side because things  went so well? Please show me and take this feeling away.

Immediately it lifted, and I was so grateful and went to sleep. But the next morning I was still puzzled, when suddenly it hit me: the people who had shared had gotten so vulnerable and so real that it actually scared me. I felt that because they had opened up and shared so much I could, and it scared me half to death.

It was such a surprise to me! I have gotten fairly at ease with sharing vulnerable things about myself. I don’t know if anyone ever gets comfortable with it, but if is usually freeing and you feel lighter afterwards. That is the reward. Secretly, we all long to be known and loved anyway. But there are certain things that only go to very trusted people, and I think suddenly I felt that this was a group I could trust, and it scared me.

I’m sharing it because I think we all are afraid to be open and vulnerable, and we should pick and choose people who have earned our trust over time–people who have risked sharing with us also–to trust. Risking vulnerability is scary, but it is good. It is growing. Just wanted you to know that everybody feels it, except maybe sociopaths, but risking being known is one of the best human experiences there is. Do it carefully, don’t share too much too soon, but do it. Let yourself be known. It is the only way to feel truly accepted and loved.

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Vulnerability is Strength

Nobody likes being needy. I wrote last week about vulnerability–was going to title it Vulnerability is a Good Thing–but my husband said it was a terrible title–he wouldn’t read anything with that title. I guess guys especially don’t like being vulnerable, but why? Why do we think there is a clash between vulnerability and strength? I think only those who are truly strong can be vulnerable. They are the only ones who aren’t afraid.

I suppose men see the vulnerable as those who can’t protect themselves physically, those who are over-powered by brute strength. The old “might makes right” idea. Men are built with protective instinct, and that’s a good thing. The worst abuse, called sanctuary betrayal, is when those who are supposed to protect us are the ones hurting us. So I’m glad they are programmed that way. God did it, so He wanted protectors in society, just in case something went wrong, which it did, and we were physically vulnerable. (Remember He created it perfect–no evil.)

But there is another kind of vulnerability that is good. Emotional vulnerability. The willingness to be vulnerable–to make yourself open–transparent–nothing to hide. Most of us can’t quite get there–not with everyone and not all the time. Life has given us experiences we are afraid to share for fear of judgment, some of it warranted, but everyone’s experience is different, so it’s good to really know the person you are telling before you share all. God is the only one brave enough and good enough to be totally vulnerable, and even He has taken time, and considered who, when, and how he shares.

A great example of this happened this morning with my husband. We were both tired this week, and hit a high point of crabbiness yesterday. I was sure I must be hormonal, but this morning he was sitting in the sun on the patio, and he got vulnerable (!) and motioned for me to sit in his lap. Then he said, “No matter what we might do or say to each other, know that I love you.” This is rare sharing for him, and it brings reciprocation (almost always for anyone).

Later we were in the car and I shared that I had thought my irritability had been from hormones, but maybe, since he had felt the same, it was our week long empty-carb binge beginning with some decadent pancakes we had on Mothers’ Day. He had blamed me that he didn’t feel good and we had been distant for days. We had also had pizza three times, instead of our usual “clean eating.” (For some reason he was in search of the perfect frozen pizza. And since he cooks three nights a week, I just try to be grateful.) So we talked about getting back to our nutrient-rich diet, and I told him, “I’m so glad you shared how you felt and we talked about this. It was very helpful to me.”

Vulnerability is scary, I know, but it is what makes therapy work. It’s also what makes relationships work.

And it is the way God has chosen to secure His universe in freedom forever! He has made all of His actions transparent, full disclosure for the whole watching universe! He wasn’t afraid of being hurt or misunderstood. Now that is vulnerability! And don’t miss that it is also coming from tremendous strength.

 

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Filed under A God perspective, Becoming real, Love ed, Marriage, Mental Health, Uncategorized, What is God like?

Mothering is Not Easy, but it is Good

Remember how easy it was to run to Mommy when you were hurt or in pain? Needing was natural then.

“Admitting the problem is half of the healing.”

I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Why is it so hard for us to do? Especially if we know how much it helps us?

I think, because we have all been hurt, we are in self-protective mode. We try to shunt responsibility elsewhere. For instance, I always think all the dirt in my house comes from my husband. I don’t even question it! Well, lately I had a humorous and painful thought. When he dies, I might be surprised at how much dirt is still here–and then I’ll have to admit that it’s me.

When you admit responsibility you have to do something. You have to look at yourself–admit you fail, admit you aren’t perfect, admit you are vulnerable.

Or, you get to do something! People who can’t admit they are wrong strain the relationships they are in, putting pressure on the people around them–the ones closest, including yourself.

We think admitting fault or weakness makes us less. Makes us look bad. Or this one–makes us vulnerable.  We don’t like to feel vulnerable –it scares us. We think we have to protect ourselves. What a silly notion. As if we really could! Most of our attempts make things worse–including us. It hardens our response ability into defensiveness (fear), instead of the free-flow of creative thought where solutions or new ideas come from. Defensiveness keeps us from growing. It makes those around us uncomfortable, and sometimes feel hopeless.

Welcoming a new perspective helps. Brene Brown has researched vulnerability for years and has found it to be  the most healthy attitude a person can have: knowing that you aren’t perfect, can make mistakes, and admit it.

Today I am so proud of my daughter for admitting she has post-partum depression! She has already started to feel better three days later! Yes, it can respond that fast. (And for any of you who are fighting depression, research has shown that 1000-4000 mg. of Omega 3/daily, and half as much of 6 and 9, is more effective than anti-depressants, as is exercise, and sunlight, or vitamin D if you have no sun, and in her case iron because of blood loss from birthing).

We knew she was suffering from sleep deprivation, and I noticed she looked like she did when she was depressed after her last son, but she wasn’t into the vulnerable place of being helped yet then. Her main coping mechanism has been to do it herself, take care of everything, be perfect.

In fact she confronted me on being judgmental about her technology. That wasn’t how I saw it, but man, did it hurt. There was just enough truth and just enough misunderstanding to really make it sting.

I didn’t know what to say, but when it hurts that bad, you have two choices: go into defensive mode or pray. So I breathed, and said to God, I don’t even know what to say. We were with her husband and mine, and someone said something, and I heard myself saying, “I just know that looking at yourself is really hard. It’s so painful that you can barely see yourself with any clarity.”

That broke the tension and everyone became more vulnerable. Everyone started sharing, and we even ended up praying together. It ended up making our last day much better.

A real big-picture perspective would show us how futile are our attempts at self-protection. With what we are up against–living in the war zone between good and evil–we regularly get slammed with discouragement and pain, and what fun the dark side has with our pretending to be good and right. They help us make big messes with denial and self-protection.

How much better to let God protect us, so we are free to be real: broken and vulnerable, not hiding, not defensive. Able to hurt, to need help, to be wrong–to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is good, healthy even.

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Filed under depression, Health, Love ed, Mental Health, Mistakes can be a matter of perspective, mothering, Parenting

Guest post–The Chooser becomes the Chosen in “Inviting”

You Whisper it quiet. These words that feel liquid with the weight of Your love.”you are my home”

I wonder if maybe I misunderstood. I ask what it means. And You dismantle me with Your words.

“I feel wanted, welcome, comfortable. I feel loved, desired in you. You invite Me into your moments, your feelings. You choose Me.”

And then in a Whisper that seems to crash through the Heavens. That ravages the heart You’ve made whole. You say it.

“you’re inviting”

It’s as if You’ve just flung the stars from the sky in some cosmic display just for me. Just for me.

It is all I want to be. The only words that could ever be spoken of me that matter.

And You said them.

The tears spill wild. The heart swept up by Love so big it rages through me in torrents of Grace.

I am Yours. And You have found me “inviting”.

And suddenly the list of things I could do in my life is complete.

The one thing I have to give You. The one thing I can truly choose.

Is You.

We do this thing. This asking You into our lives. We make it a big deal.

It is a big deal.

But the biggest thing. The only thing. Is what we do afterward.

You can’t ask someone to marry you and then tell them to please stay in their own house. Don’t move anything in here. And please don’t try to love me ’cause I’m busy just trying to stay numb. I don’t really let anyone get close. I’m too much, too messy, and just completely not enough.

You can’t ask someone into your home and then tell them not to sit on the furniture. Oh, and please don’t touch anything. Or move anything. Or, really, don’t even breathe. ‘Cause I’ve got this all set up here the way I need it. The way it makes me feel secure. I might even hate the way it’s decorated but please don’t change anything ’cause I’ve got it all set up to work for me this way. I don’t want to take down any walls or let more light in. And don’t open the shades, someone might see how I really live in here.

I did that. You know I did that with You. Sadly, I think we all do.

And You lived with me so long that way. Sometimes You’d move a chair. Or change a picture on the wall. But I just couldn’t let You renovate completely. You wanted to remodel and I’d say, “ok, we’ll paint but just don’t take down that wall.”

One day I got it. I really got it.

And the windows blew out and the air drafted in and the fire blazed. And I stood there hands open letting it all go.

We picked up the pieces. Crawled through the ashes. And You, You scraped the wounds. You touched my scars and deemed them Beautiful.

I’m laying here the rivers flowing down the familiar trails. They follow the grooves of years of broken dreams, a broken heart desperate to be Whole. Now, they flow from a fountain of Love so deep I can’t contain them.

I get it. I really get it.

All I have to give You is my choice. Choosing You. 

Choosing You over everything.

Even my comfort. 

Everything.

Every. single. thing.

Reckless abandon to Your Love. Your will. Your heart.

Hands open, heart surrendered. Living as an audacious offering of Your Love.

Whatever that means in the story You are writing across my pages.

Because You are Love and You only give Good. 

And I am as desperate for You as I am to breathe.

When the moment arcs and I feel the arrows pierce and doubts come I cling only to You and hold on for dear life. And You never let go.

Because anywhere with You is everywhere.

Choice.

It is everything.

Mine is You.

After all, there is only You.

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Posted By Loxlia to lovelycrumbs at 6/22/2013 08:31:00 PM

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