The discomfort and peace of being vulnerable

Sometimes it's not that we're not being honest with someone, it's that we're afraid to be vulnerable. It's vulnerable to share how you've been hurt, it's vulnerable to share how you misunderstood a person or you were the one who was misunderstood. It's to bare your heart, opening its door. This fear of being vulnerable, of getting hurt, stops us. It stops us from being honest; it stops us from stepping out (or speaking out). 

Even for me, I can recall once feeling nervous and hesitant about sharing with a friend how I wish I had been invited to something that our mutual friends got to gather and enjoy together. I was nervous, and stepped back from sending that text. My fear had nothing to do with my friend; I wasn't afraid of them or what they would think, I was afraid of being that vulnerable. Fear of being crushed, fear of having my feelings disregarded or pushed aside; that's happened to me before and it's heartbreaking. I asked myself, why are you scared? What are you scared of? Why are you hesitant? You're feeling this way but she's a trusted friend, tell her. I then started to question myself, if I was being too sensitive or ridiculous, but I shouldn't disregard my feelings either. I would want to know if I was the cause of making a friend feel left out, I wouldn't want anyone to feel that way, it's a horrible feeling. 

So I sent the text, and I waited for the response. Prayed for peace and to not think about it any longer. I enjoyed the rest of my afternoon and received a message back with true compassion and understanding. It was that simple. The point of sending the text wasn't to make a friend feel bad, it was to express how I felt and how I would have gone to enjoy the celebration.

I'm glad I was vulnerable with this friend, because they are a true friend. Gentle, compassionate, understanding, and peacemaking. In the past, I've been burned in response to being vulnerable. I have the scars on my heart, and sometimes they get pressed when I notice a potentially similar occasion. That's where prayer comes in and I ask the Lord to help me to discern if I should speak out or not. 

"Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord." Psalm 4:4-5 ESV

"A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment. A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart." Proverbs 18:1-2 NKJV

"Unfriendly people care only about themselves; they lash out at common sense. Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions." Proverbs 18:1-2 NLT

Vulnerability is oh so precious, and we must use discernment and common sense to determine who gets the privilege of seeing that part of ourselves. Merriam-Webster defines vulnerable as: "capable of being physically or emotionally wounded; open to attack or damage." Being vulnerable with your emotions gives opportunity to get wounded, which is why we must be carful where we share them and understand where we're putting our hearts. It's not to be callous with those you're not closest to, but to understand when, where, and to whom you can be vulnerable.

It's important to make clear that fear of getting hurt shouldn't keep you from being honest and vulnerable, then you'll be living in a bubble. Trying to avoid emotional pain when it can grow you or deepen a relationship is unhelpful, unrealistic, and unhealthy. We should all be growing, and disappointments and hurt can refine us to grow.

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The good fruit that comes from being vulnerable is a deeper connection with the one you've opened up to. Having a look into someone's heart shows more of who the person is, and that causes for true connection. 


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