Friday, March 5, 2010

Be Strong. Be Courageous. Be Vulnerable!

I’ve been going through a difficult time recently and have spent much of my prayer time begging God for strength and comfort to make it through. In the last couple of weeks, he has answered my plea and blessed me with an abundance of strength and comfort, but it came at a cost.

I am an introverted and private person who doesn’t feel comfortable burdening others with my pain and troubles. I would rather be the person who is there to listen to them, assist and comfort them, to reach out in God’s love to them than be the object of that kind of attention. After all, Christ did tell us to love God with all we are and love our neighbor as ourselves and Paul tells us in Romans 12:10 to be devoted to one another in brotherly love and honor others above ourselves. Wouldn’t it be selfish and unchristian of me to force those I love to bear my pain? To put myself and my problems above theirs?

That’s what I told myself anyway. The truth is that my own pride and fear built a wall around my suffering. I didn’t want to let others in because then they would know I was weak and needy. I convinced myself that it would be wrong of me and completely unfair to them to burden them with my pain. So I put on a smile and patted myself on the back for my unselfish, silent suffering.

God calls us to be in relationship with each other. Philippians 2:1-2 (the Message) says, “If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends.” I love that phrase – deep-spirited friends. This is not a one-sided relationship. This kind of relationship is one of give and take. Two people connecting and reciprocating with each other. I realized this week that if I am really to be a deep-spirited friend with those I call my friends then I need to allow myself to be transparent and vulnerable with them. I need to honor them by letting them be Christ for me, to reach out to me, to comfort and support me in my time of need.

Here’s the catch – being vulnerable is scary. What if they are not the friends I took them to be? What if they take my vulnerability and expose it to the world? Put me down for it? Abandon me in my time of need? There was no way to tell until I opened myself up to them if I’d opened myself up to hurt or healing? I had to have faith that God would carry me through whatever their response. I had to be strong and have courage to reveal my vulnerability.

God has blessed me incredibly this week in my first hesitant steps of vulnerability. The love, support and comfort I have received from my friends has been indescribably powerful. I am experiencing a closeness with them that I’ve never known before and I am grateful to God for the deep-spirited love I now share with them.

Be strong. Be courageous. Be vulnerable. Be deep-spirit friends in Christ.

About the pictures:
Phipps Conservatory (April 2009)

1 comment:

Green Grandma said...

Thank you for your vulnerability. It is only through being vulnerable you will realize how much you are truly loved.