While I shared that “discipline” is my word for the year – I didn’t share that “vulnerable” is as well. I’m okay with discipline. But being vulnerable is my worst nightmare. For others to see me in a weak moment, a moment anything less than perfect, has been unacceptable for the majority of my life – actually, since I have understood that things “match” & began matching my underwear & socks to my clothing at 4 years old.
At 6, my best friend said the “sinner’s prayer” & I followed suit. The only thing that I remember about the entire experience is the dress that I wore to my baptism.
At 13, while on a mission trip, I prayed, yet again, with my mother because I distinctively didn’t want to go to hell. My Daddy, as chairman of the deacons, baptized me soon after. I was “safe”. There was no distinct change in my life; there was no active pursuit of a relationship with God – just trying to follow “the rules” as best as I could to maintain the perfect persona that I found my identity in. Controlling every aspect of my life so that I could be as comfortable as possible.
And yet again, over 2 years ago I was baptized at our church because I felt like that was what I needed to do – to “fix” the feelings of doubt & inconsistencies.
And that is how I found myself sitting in an advanced level leadership/seminary course questioning ALOUD my salvation… to my Pastor, in front of my peers. In my most intimate moments over the past few years, I have doubted. Every opportunity to discuss this doubt would leave me feeling nauseous, reeling in confusion, & frustrated. Was I reacting to an emotional moment? Was I allowing the enemy to confuse me because if I can’t wrap my mind around something, I am debilitated. I am a checklist person, because my “salvation story” didn’t look like I thought it should, perfect, was it untrue? These are things I hadn’t even shared with Aaron – much less anyone else – what would everyone think? How can I hold the positions that I do & have these doubts? I am mentoring others, how will this make them feel? I know that God is real. I know that He loves me. I know that Jesus came, died, & arose. I know that He has plans for me to prosper. I know that freedom reigns within Him. I know that the enemy comes to steal & to kill & to destroy but He came that we may have life & have it abundantly. Why can’t I just get it together? Push through & work it out internally, without everyone having to know.
But all of that – all of my calculated & overanalyzed arguments – came to a peak in the last 15 minutes of a random Tuesday night class when I opened my mouth & then couldn’t stop – the words or the tears. When I realized that I wasn’t. That I hadn’t been. That all of my good intentions at pursuing this life of following Jesus had been just that, intentions. Intentions that I was frustrated with because no matter how hard I pushed, I just couldn’t break through some walls or that it always seemed harder for me than it should be because it felt like I had more ground to cover. In a real, uncomfortable, deeply embarrassing, beautiful, raw, HUMBLING moment – I surrendered my life, fully to the One who saves.
I did NOT see that one coming. I wish I could explain it all & tie it up in a beautiful bow, but I can’t. Not that I need to or that everyone is expecting me to, but I wish that I could convince you that this time, this week, was different that my experience at 6 & at 13 & 27 – but I can’t. It is my worst nightmare to seem so inconsistent & wishy-washy. I hope that everyone who knows & loves me, knows that I would never intentionally deceive them – I truly was trying to believe that I was all that I desire to be – His – & trying to force a relationship without being vulnerable. But in my brokenness, I feel enlightened that this is where God wants me to be – because when I appear to “have it all together”, I don’t need Him & I don’t rely on Him & I don’t turn to Him for help & I don’t rest in Him. But when I feel completely out of control & for the love, LET GO – that is where I am vulnerable to Him & allow Him to operate through me. OH MY GOODNESS, it is so simple. But it is not easy. For me at least, at this moment.
I started the year with a 21 day fast from Social Media – I needed to quiet myself. I thought about keeping all of this to myself. For many reasons – I have struggled with insecurities about when to share things & when to not because I don’t want to seem self-indulgent, I also worried about what everyone would think. But I know many things to be true: things that are kept in dark places have power over you & when they are brought to light they lose that power, we overcome by the blood of the Lamb & the word of our testimony, & while sometimes I do need to quiet myself, I don’t need to silence myself.
What do you need to do to be vulnerable today? Share your story with someone? Dream a dream that you haven’t allowed for yourself because it seems impossible? Choose to be happy, when everyone tells you that you have ‘the right’ to feel miserable? Pray? Love someone who is hard to love? Apply for the job that you’re unsure you’ll get, instead of always pursuing things that you’re sure of – where’s the faith in certainty? Actually live, instead of just exist?
I don’t know what this looks like for you, but I do know that if you’re made uncomfortable by any of the scenarios above, you’re on the right track.
If you need me, I’ll be over here – getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.