Sometimes, as women, we don’t tell the whole truth. There isn’t the intention of untruth, we are just afraid to share our vulnerability. We might be unpracticed at letting people in. We might fear that people would run if they really understood the depth of our emotion.
There is a certain level of safety, perhaps, in keeping our guard up. But…
If we seek to keep a wall up, that same wall will keep out the people we most want to let in. The very people who will love us well and do life with us authentically.
So where does this fear of being vulnerable come from? Often, it is from our past experiences and hurts. Shame from the secrets we keep. Also, we aren’t taught as young women to be unprotected. Openness, though, doesn’t have to be considered a liability! Consider it an open door. A welcome mat to our hearts.
The art of vulnerability is a worthwhile pursuit, affecting every relationship we’ll ever have. Will you take a look at some important ways to practice this art form with me?
Key areas to practice vulnerability
Marriage-Our spouses truly cannot read our minds. Holding a grudge and giving the silent treatment gets us nowhere, nor does spewing ugly words. To grow in our marriage, let’s think before we speak. Our words benefit both of us if we determine not to play mind games, but instead to show our needs in a way our husband can understand. Part of this practice for me, involved sharing the dark voids of abandonment issues. The harder part still? Was learning that my husband wasn’t responsible for the wounds of another. By letting our guard down, we can better express what makes us feel loved, secure and valued.
Motherhood-Being a mom is of inestimable value. But honestly? Some days the kids make us nuts. We lose our tempers and act just as childish as they do. Can I encourage you today to know you aren’t the only one? Not even close. Being a mom gives us a beautiful training ground to practice being vulnerable. Look for ways to show the kids that you are flawed (and forgiven) so they can model growth after their momma. One easy way to do this is to apologize. This seemingly simple gesture frees us from the guilt of blowing it, and teaches them that we all make mistakes, and can say we are sorry. Showing our vulnerability to our kids shows us what humility looks like, and the generous forgiveness of children. Best of all? It allows us to be free to imperfectly parent them. We can’t do it exactly right, but we can do it with grace and humility.
Friendship- Oh ladies, our friendships should be a place where we naturally show our authentic selves. And we do…but not always our flawed sides. There is the risk of comparison, even unintentionally, as we are afraid that if they really saw us? They’d perhaps run. Or backstab us. Or gossip. I hear the heart cry of women over and over again express their desire for a true and deep friendship. We can set the foundation for that by not saying we are “fine” when we aren’t. Let them in; true friends weather the storms with us. (Galatians 6:2a Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”) Is there the potential to get hurt? Yes. But the benefits FAR outweigh any potential risk. Let’s not forget to let our friends be vulnerable too!
Strangers– We all start as strangers, in our marriage, in our friendships, and even in our parenting journey. Being more open to new people is a gift. We offer ourselves, and though sometimes this feels risky, it gives us both to have a chance to say, “me too!” Those connecting moments are only made possible by being vulnerable.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
The deepest love requires being vulnerable. It is a risky thing, but one with the astounding outpouring of potential.
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