A few months back I met some friends for impromptu burgers and fries, and in my attempt to let off some steam, I shared a bit more intimately than was appropriate for this particular group setting. I immediately wanted to take back my last couple of sentences, but there they were, hanging out there, for everyone to take in. My attempt to confide went sideways. I couldn’t get to my car fast enough. I learned that day to be thoughtful about what to share, when to share, and with whom to share. Group settings aren’t always the best places for vulnerable conversations that require more explanation. You can risk being misunderstood at best, judged at worst.
As you develop your own trusted circle, as you find the right people, keep revealing your deepest self with them. After all, while vulnerability with the wrong sorts of folks fosters feelings of inferiority and judgment, vulnerability with the right people brings trust, bolsters our feelings of love, and brings hope.
I have a handful of girlfriends who have taught me the power of vulnerability. Some I’ve known since high school, while others I met in my twenties. These friends have helped me when I needed comfort and challenged me when I needed confrontation. When I opened up about my anxiety and panic years ago, they met me in my most vulnerable place and helped me believe wholeness was possible. And though the text thread topics have moved on from toddler life to our newbie teen drivers having fender benders, we are committed to showing up.
The thing that has kept me close to each of these women is their willingness to be vulnerable. There’s a safety in walking through highs and lows over the years, in giving and receiving grace. In so many ways, their friendships have reflected to me what God’s love looks and feels like over the long haul. God invites me to share vulnerably with him, to lay it all bare, and as I do, he becomes my safe place, my refuge. He frees me from the opinions of others and the worries of my own heart. He shows me how to receive abundantly so I can serve others, not out of my strength but his. He teaches me how to make space for the vulnerability of others too.
Perhaps you’ve tried to share your heart with a trusted friend, parent, or spouse, and somewhere along the way you were shamed for those feelings. Instead of being held, cherished, and understood, you felt the sting of betrayal. I know this pain, but that doesn’t mean we should stop being vulnerable. The enemy of our souls wants us to be isolated and alone because these feel- ings make us easy prey. Why? When we’re alone and vulnerable, we feel afraid. When we’re together and vulnerable, we become brave.
Make the effort to connect—really connect in true vulnerability—with those you love. Your courage to bring your whole, beautiful self out into the open just might inspire them to do the same. In that vulnerable connection, you’ll bolster each other’s courage, give each other love, and point each other to God, who can strengthen you even in the darkest hour.
Have you allowed yourself to be vulnerable with those you love, with those who love you? Or do you tend to hold back your whole, authentic self? Find one person you trust, reach out to them this week, and say what’s on your heart. Ask them what’s on theirs. Pray that God would allow security in your relationships so that this confessional practice becomes more regular and joyful.
Rebekah Lyons is the author of A Surrendered Yes, Rhythms of Renewal and Freefall to Fly. She is a mother of four wife of one, and dog walker of two living in Nashville. An old soul with a contemporary, honest voice, Rebekah reveals her own battles to overcome anxiety, depression, and consumer impulses. Finding joy in raising a special needs child—she invites everyone to embrace the unique calling God has for each of us. Rebekah wears her heart on her sleeve, a benefit to friends and readers alike.
Alongside her husband, Gabe, Rebekah serves as cofounder of Q Ideas, an organization that equips Christians on how to winsomely engage culture. Her favorite hours are spent with her nose in a book and a discriminating cup of coffee in hand. You can get a copy of her new devotional here!
Follow Rebekah on Instagram @rebekahlyons
Taken from A Surrendered Yes by Rebekah Lyons. Copyright © 2021 by Rebekah Lyons. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.