Thursday, April 3, 2014

Being Vulnerable -- It Can Be a Good Thing

Our church just had a ladies retreat weekend. I wasn't able to go, however, two of the ladies in my life group reported on the retreat.  Sounds like I missed a good one.

The theme was about being vulnerable.  When we're vulnerable and open to others, we also learn we're not alone.  We find fellowship, support and encouragement with one another.

Now, this is something that I understand, but I still struggle with.  I'm not always open when I have needs. I'm not one to always request prayers.  I'll share the joys, but don't always share the stuff with which I'm really struggling.

This isn't because my friends won't be there for me.  I know they would be in a heartbeat!  The few times I have opened up when I've needed prayer and support, they've been there.

I think my issue is that I don't want to come across whiny or negative.  Do you have people in your life that when you see their name come up on your caller ID, you almost dread talking with them. It's going to be something negative -- because that's just their personality.  Then sometimes you end up ducking their calls.

I don't want to be that person, the one who is avoided.  Generally, I'm a very positive person and try to look at the bright side of life (to use a cliche).  But I'm also sensitive.  It's hard to be open and vulnerable, because you don't want to get stomped on either.

A couple of weeks ago, a woman at the gym, who truly was trying to be encouraging, said something about me needing cuter workout clothes.  What was something that was meant to encourage me in my workouts, only hit a sensitive spot of my weight.  Now I've lost 75 pounds, and I feel good.  And I definitely don't go to the gym to impress anybody else.  But for some reason, her words just hit a mark.  Stupid, huh?

But things like that shouldn't prevent from opening up to my friends, to those who care about me.  When we open up, we learn that we're not alone in this life and that others are going through the same things we are.  We really can share together and learn from our various experiences.

One thing to remember though, is that why you're asking for prayer from someone and sharing your story, take the time to listen to them and let them share with you.  Let's be there for each other.

Being vulnerable isn't one-sided.

What are your thoughts on being vulnerable?  Opening up or trusting another? Is it easy or difficult for you to do?

1 comment:

  1. Can I holler a great big AMEN to this? Admitting you can't handle everything (especially the stupid stuff that hurts the most) is one of those every single day struggles. This post made me shake my head at my laptop screen. How can a mother and daughter feel essentially the same way about things and express it such different ways? I see you as having such generosity of spirit, open about your feelings in a way that I've never gotten the hang of. You're upset, you cry; you're mad, you type angrily; you're happy, you laugh at everything. Meanwhile, I turn into a robot and go, no time for feelings, move on. I remember calling you in tears of frustration a few months ago with something pretty trivial and you saying, okay, cry about it! Be upset. Write it down! And I felt like going *facepalm*, duh! Why should we filter our feelings or needs just to seem like positive people? We can be positive, optimistic people and still express our hurts, disappointments, and frustrations. The full spectrum of emotion makes us human, makes us need other people, makes other people want to reach out to us for support. (And, if someone told you that you need cuter workout clothes, she is probably jealous that you have such a sunny attitude about working out in even the scrubbiest of clothes because you FEEL GOOD. Remember everything you have worked for and everything that you work for every day, being healthy, feeling good, being cancer-free... it is all infinitely bigger than so many women can even begin to understand.)

    Ultimately, vulnerability is a giant lesson in compassion. Compassion for ourselves, that we need support and have to be honest with ourselves about not being invincible... Compassion for those who criticize us or our attitudes... and compassion for those debbie-downers that never learned how to ask for help when it could still make a difference.



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