by Courtney Laib, Story Hope
Several months ago I came across a quote that I just couldn’t get out of my mind. It’s by C.S. Lewis and it’s so simple yet so powerful.
The idea of vulnerability has been swimming around in my mind for the last several months. The last year for me has been a tough one on several levels and I’ve struggled with trying to figure out how vulnerable I can or should be. How much should I share? How much CAN I share without being viewed as a ‘complainer’? I continue to meet more and more women who are afraid to be vulnerable with the intimate details of their life. Details they need to share with someone. Details that need healing. Details that need a shoulder to cry on.
So why is it so hard to be vulnerable? Well I have a theory. I think we (as Christians) have a hard time being vulnerable because we don’t do a very good job at ALLOWING each other to be vulnerable. We don’t ask the hard questions. We don’t dig. We don’t mind each others business. We just assume that everything is all good. Or at least sometimes I do. Can you relate?
When was the last time you asked how a friend’s weight loss journey is going?
When was the last time you asked a friend what condition their marriage is in?
When was the last time you asked a friend who is in a dating relationship how they are handling the “physical stuff”?
When was the last time you asked a friend what they’re passionate about? What keeps them up at night?
When was the last time you asked a friend who just adopted, how they are feeling?
I know these are hard questions to ask (and maybe even to answer), but if we want the people in our lives to be vulnerable with us, and us with them, then we have to ASK. And if you find the courage to ask, then brace yourself. Because the friend who you thought had a perfect marriage, probably doesn’t. And the family you thought had it all together, well, they’re probably a mess. And the friend who struggles with food addiction, well she’s probably just waiting for someone to believe she can do it.
Ok, so you’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with identity, right? Well, here’s an idea… If we fear being vulnerable with those around us then could it be said that we are putting our identity in ourselves? That maybe we think we can figure it (whatever that may be) out on our own? That we’ve got to hold it all together and we couldn’t possibly let anyone know that we’re struggling with something for fear of what they might think of us? I hope you see where I’m going with this.
When we come to the point where we aren’t afraid to be vulnerable anymore, we say to God “I can’t do this by myself, I need YOUR help, and help from the people you’ve placed in my life.“ Our identity no longer lies in ourselves but rather in the God who created us for Him and for community.
Recently I had some sin in my life that I needed to confess. So I called up one of my older, wiser female friends and asked if we could meet for lunch. Over a mason jar filled with green iced tea I confessed a sin that was causing stress in my marriage and in my relationship with God. And then I told her I needed help. There was no judgement, and no condemnation, just love and grace.
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:16
THIS my friends, is the way God desires for us to live.
So, have you been carrying a burden?
Have you been paralyzed by the fear of vulnerability?
Do you want to be healed?
Then find a friend you can trust and confess that sin or something that’s been eating away at your heart. If you don’t have a friend you can trust then email me, I would love to bear the burden with you.
If we desire for our identity to be fully in Christ then we need to let go of our fear of “being known” and embrace the truth that we were not meant to journey this life by ourselves. His Grace is waiting.
Courtney is a mom, wife, friend, and Instagram addict. She lives in the Chicago area with her Pastor husband and three year old son. She is a fan of summer time, chai tea lattes, running, making new friends, traveling, and loving the ‘least of these’. She blogs at storyhope.com and you can usually find her talking about life, faith, and finding hope in brokenness.