If I had to name this week I would call it scary vulnerable but amazingly intimate. Vulnerability is scary and it isn’t easy. Vulnerability is letting your guard down, standing naked while subjecting yourself to the chance that you could get wounded or rejected.
The benefit of vulnerability is freedom and intimacy. When vulnerability gives way to freedom and intimacy, relationships are transformed for the better and shame is deflected.
For years I have struggled with the fear of not being enough, the fear of failure, and the fear of rejection and the fear of man. I have worn shame like a shield, hiding who I know I am and protecting me from how others could treat me if they ever knew me. I am completely fine with God knowing who I am, because I know He sees everything about me and He does not turn His head away in disgrace. He is not ashamed of me, but it’s everyone else that I have feared.
If they really knew me, would they still love me? Would they still accept me?
In the past I have been on the receiving side of risking vulnerability only to experience deeper rejection. It was those times that I have let shame manipulate me and keep me from being vulnerable.
So over the past 5 or 6 years God has been gently leading me to deeper levels of vulnerability with my husband, family and friends. It has been hard, but so worth it!
You see, I have been asking God to expose any lies or unhealthy things I have allowed to take root in my life. My husband actually prayed this past Sunday, “God would you expose the roots of bondage like a root plow, that those roots would be brought to the surface, brought to the light, so that they would die.”
This week a root was exposed -it was a poverty mentality. A poverty mentality is the fear that you are always going to be lacking, that there will never be enough, that God wont provide. Sure God provides for everyone else, but for some reason He doesn’t for you. This fear is rooted in the lies that God is not faithful or trustworthy. This fear keeps me from being as generous as I want to be, it keeps me from having the right attitude towards finances, it keeps me from trusting God, and it keeps me from being content.
It’s hard to confess to your generous, charitable husband why you are so disgruntle about him giving money to the person that he just feels led to bless. I have argued, “Did they need it?” and my husband would respond, “I don’t know, I just felt led to bless them.” I would try to be supportive on the outside so I wouldn’t look shamefully “unspiritual” while becoming anxious and fearful on the inside. I stuffed my fears because I wanted to be the supportive wife He thought I was.
This behavior has bothered me for so long and I have prayed that God would change my heart and make me more generous, but the answer was that the poverty mentality root needed to be exposed. I have believed that if I told my husband this struggle he would be hurt or he would become angry because I would be confessing that I didn’t trust him. Tuesday I finally let go of fear and took the vulnerability plunge. I longed for freedom more than hiding my shame. In that moment a weight was lifted, I took a sigh of relief because finally it was out.
My husband responded the exact opposite of my fears, because he is safe and he loves me. It was not only a freeing experience but a time of inviting my husband into the areas I have tried to hide. I let him see me -that is intimacy.
Isn’t that what we all long for, to be able to be ourselves, to be free of shame? To go back and become the way that God created us to be, unashamed so we can be intimate (And the man and his wife were naked and were not ashamed. Genesis 2:25). Yet Satan has convinced us that we can never be unashamed, so we run from our original setting. So how do we get back what was originally ours? The first step is vulnerability, find someone you can be vulnerable with, someone who is safe, because not everyone is safe, you need discernment for this. Maybe that safe person is a friend or a minister at your church or your spouse. A safe person is someone who will be empathetic and will point you to the truth in God’s word.
I know vulnerability is scary, but I want to encourage you that if you long for freedom, to be unashamed, if you long for intimacy, if you are tired of keeping up appearances, then vulnerability is your first step to freedom. Don’t subject yourself to shame any longer.
It is for freedom that Christ set us free, so stand firm then and do not let your self be subject to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1