I’ve been going through something the last week. And if you know me well enough you know I can talk about anything except the very things I need to talk about. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve gotten better asking for help. I ask my tribe all the time to keep my family in prayers. Those are easy. But, if I’m being real I don’t talk about the things that actually break my heart. The things that bring me to my knees. The things that are so deep that I’m in my shower crying and praying, “God, please take this from me.” I don’t talk about those things because it shows vulnerability.
I have a thing about vulnerability. As a teenager vulnerability meant weakness. It meant years of pain because I couldn’t stop an action from happening. It meant years of hearing I don’t love you. It meant years of being broken, being in darkness. As a teenager vulnerability meant everything was going wrong and I had to find a way to be strong. As a teenager I learned vulnerability had a price.
Fast forward to my adult life and the word vulnerability still makes my knees weak. It still scares me because it brings back memories of when my world was shattered over and over and over again. It brings back feelings that I could have sworn was given to God over and over and over again. As an adult vulnerability is a fight of believing it is strength and believing it is weakness.
A week ago, my heart broke. An unexpectedness happened, and it punched the air out of my lungs. And in the last week I’ve felt like I’ve been flailing my arms to keep my head above water. It has felt like I’ve swallowed so much water and yet have taken enough deep breathes to keep me afloat. I’ve walked with a cloud around my head trying to keep my head dry while pretending with most everyone in my life that I’m peachy keen. Note to self: you’re not pretending well when a friend offers a pint of ice cream to make you happy. After that ice cream last night, I was determined to figure out the strength vs weakness fight.
It goes back to me talking. When people go through hard times we don’t usually immediately reach out for help. If y’all are like me, you may try to figure it out yourself and get it fixed. If you’re like my husband, you may bury it so deep that you forget it’s there. Or you may just pretend it never happened. Sometimes people point fingers, get angry, fall into depression, numb the pain. There are all kinds of ways to face a problem. What I’ve learned in years of therapy is that the only way to power through a problem is by talking about it. Not necessarily with a therapist. Just talking in general.
Last week I used a life line and called a friend. Well, not really called, just voxed her and said hell has broken loose and we need prayers. I left it at that. I also think I eventually changed the subject. It wasn’t like she was pushing me to know what was going on but just in case I changed the subject. I saw her two nights later and before I could drown the pain boiling over I took her hand and told her my heart. Two days later I stood in front of another incredible woman and told her my heart.
You see, I serve a God who moves in extraordinary ways in big and small acts. There are times when I cannot go to Him because I can barely keep standing. During those times, I have no strength so having people who will grip my hand and pray feverishly for comfort and healing will help me find the strength to stand and go to Him on my own. That’s the most incredible thing about standing together in faith: God will use them to work in me.
As a teenager the price of vulnerability meant harm only because I wasn’t in a safe space. This week I chose to look at vulnerability not as a negative connotation. Rather the life line I needed to ask for help when I needed it most.
Here’s the thing about talking to those women. If I needed someone to pray for me, for my husband, for my family these women are it. I believe them to be incredible prayer warriors. I knew they could petition to God the comfort and healing I needed that I couldn’t ask for myself. These women also know my past and my fight with depression. Instead of feeding off my depression they prayed for and with me. I forced myself to be vulnerable.
Is there a price for vulnerability? Yes. But, what you need to grasp is this: we need more vulnerability in order for healing to happen. Choosing to not be vulnerable because you believe it is weakness only prevents your heart from healing. Vulnerability allows depth to happen. It allows you to grow, to surrender. To become genuine, to receive healing and comfort.
Today, to help me get through the murk I’m repeating this: Don’t be ashamed of being vulnerable. Let your guard down, open your heart to God and find the healing and comfort waiting for you. Vulnerability is not weakness, it takes strength and courage to be such. There is a price for vulnerability. It’s called mercy and grace. xoxo