Friday, July 18, 2014

Being Vulnerable

"Jesus beckons me to follow him to that place of weakness where I risk the vulnerability
of a child so that I might know how strong my Father is and how much he loves me. 
But truth be told, I would rather be an adult.  I'd rather be in a place where I can still
pull things together if God doesn't show up, where I risk no ultimate humiliation,
where I don't have to take the shallow breaths of desperation. 
And as a result, my experience of my heavenly Father is simply impoverished."
Gary Hougen

I have been reflecting on this quote for awhile now and every time I read it,
the truth in this just takes my breath away!
This is where most of us live.
Not being willing to risk; not being willing to be vulnerable.
Holding on to our own resources; however limited they are,
because we can't trust God to show up!!
I've been reflecting on what it means to be vulnerable; to "risk the vulnerabililty of a child."

The dictionary defines vulnerable as "capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt physically or emotionally; liable or defenseless against criticism or moral attack; open to assault; difficult to defend."
This describes the posture of a child - defenseless and open to attack.  And yet, a child is so trusting of the adults in his/her world, always expecting the best, not even thinking of the worse.

To be vulnerable is to trust someone else to do what I can't,
thus admitting and exposing my weakness.
To be vulnerable is to be seen in the depths of who you are. 
It's to love with your whole heart, risking rejection. 

To be vulnerable is to simply live as who you are in God!
When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable by trusting God in our lives, we risk being wounded or hurt, by people and by the Lord!  We risk disappointment when our dreams and plans don't come to fruition.  When we've trusted God with the outcome of a situation and it's not what we wanted or hoped for, we then have to deal with our disappointments and frustrations.  We may also have to deal with the other people in our lives who may mock us for our trust in God.
"Where is your God now, huh?" 
"How's that workin' for ya?"
When we open ourselves up to the Lord and trust Him to come through for us and He doesn't, we can also become disillusioned.

But, and this is a big BUT, if I am not willing to risk,  I will miss the experience of God's strength and love being manifest in my life.  I will miss those times when God reveals Himself strong and mighty on my behalf.  If I refuse to risk, I "settle" for less than.

I accept Plan B when I could have had Plan A!

But how am I to know that there was a Plan A?

Ah, but that's exactly where trust comes in. 
That's exactly where you become vulnerable!
By risking all on Plan A!

There is ALWAYS a Plan A!
It just might not be what we want it to be.

I want to know and experience how strong my Father is!
I want to know and experience how much He loves me!

But, do I want to know and experience at the risk of being vulnerable??

I am going to be vulnerable right here, right now and share with you a very insignificant right-where-I-live example that God used to speak to me regarding being vulnerable.

When I reflected on the definition of being vulnerable as meaning to open yourself up to being wounded or criticized, I felt like the Lord wanted me to take a small definitive step toward what that would look like. 

For most of my life, I have had a weight problem and still struggle with some of the issues surrounding that.  About 10 years ago, I lost 75 lbs and have successfully kept it off, but most days I still struggle, to my detriment, with my appearance and "feeling fat." 
I am a little "thick around the middle" therefore I usually always wear bigger tops or jackets that will hide my "imperfections!!"  Anyway, this one day, as I was getting ready, I put on a top I hadn't worn in awhile.  I looked in the mirror and didn't think it successfully hid all I wanted it to hide.  I was getting ready to take it off and try something else, when I sensed the Lord asking me if I was willing to be vulnerable and wear this top.  Was I willing to open myself up to being judged by what I thought other people would think about my "imperfections?"?

Now, that may seem like a very trivial and nonsensical thing to you, but it was an object lesson for me and something God used to speak to me about being vulnerable.  (Now please don't get distracted by the fact that I need to be set free from some body issues and self-image problems; I know that.  And why do I care what other people think?!?)  The point is -

Are we willing to be most vulnerable where we are most vulnerable???

Are we willing to be weak that His strength might be made manifest?

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."
Hebrews 4:12, 13

I am already naked and opened unto the eyes of the Lord; why not trust Him with what He sees???

Being vulnerable starts with being vulnerable before the Lord; humbly submitting myself before Him and trusting Him - with ALL! 
It's giving up MY plans and schemes to get MY way and quietly waiting and trusting Him to do what's best, regardless of what it looks like to others and even, what it looks like to me. 
Being vulnerable is being will to shed those "clothes" that cover up my "imperfections" and have the courage be seen as I really am - imperfect.
How do we walk in vulnerability - before God and before man?

Be real.
(Express what you're feeling - scared, hurt, love, joy, etc.)

Act with no guarantees.
(Fully commit to taking action, even if you know you might fail.)

Ask for help.
(Admit you don't know when you don't know. Admit your weaknesses.)

Get rejected.
(No isn't no forever; it makes room for yes.)

Embrace your negative emotions.
(When we numb the negative, we also numb the positive.)

Scary stuff, right?? 
The scary stuff is the short path to freedom.
Being willing to "follow him to that place of weakness where I risk the vulnerability of a child" issues bold the statement that you are willing to risk the failure, the weakness, the rejection and the pain trusting that He will be there to uphold you through it.

Want to know how strong your God is and how much He loves you?

Risk being vulnerable.
"Real dishes break. 
That's how you know they're real." 
Marty Rubin
And guess what? 
God is in the Repair Business!


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