OK. So maybe vulnerability isn’t the ENTIRE path to true friendship. Maybe vulnerability is the road surface on the path to true friendship. Or maybe it’s some of the curves we have to navigate as we build true friendships. But let me give you an example of when I had to choose vulnerability and thereby choose truth and authenticity.
So my friends and I were trying to schedule a virtual meet-up, just to reconnect and catch up. Two weeks passed and we were still struggling to set a date and time that would work for all of us busy ladies. I was frustrated, annoyed and irritated. My text messages became more and more abrupt despite my attempts to be nice or at least, neutral. My friends – who’ve known me pretty much all my life – smelled the fakeness and called me out on it in their responding texts
At first I was defensive. Then the Holy Spirit tapped me on the shoulder and I had to get really honest with myself. My irritation, my annoyance, my frustration – all that was just a cover up. In truth, I was anxious and scared. I was very emotionally invested in catching up with my friends again, and I was deeply afraid it wouldn’t happen. In fact, I had subconsciously begun to believe that our lives now so far apart that we wouldn’t be able to reconnect.
I struggled to find the words to express myself in a text message. I simply could not figure out what to say without sounding just… well, pathetic. Then I clearly felt the Lord whisper to my heart:
“Just tell them the truth, Nicky.”
“Yes. Be authentic. Be vulnerable. Tell them the truth.”
“But if I do that they will know how I actually FEEL!”
“I’ve called you to vulnerability.”
Seriously God??? Great. Awesome. All I’m trying to do is to set a simple Skype date and now I’m having to tell my friends how I FEEL. Because I need to practice vulnerability. And God actually wants me to be VULNERABLE.
I took a deep breath, then began my text:
“I’m very sorry for being impatient. That was a bad way of masking my anxiety about us meeting and my fear that it won’t happen. I’m really sorry.”
I don’t know why it was so hard for me to admit to these women who have been my friends for most of my lifetime, that I was feeling scared that I no longer fit into their life. Scratch that. I know why I was scared. I was scared of being rejected. That fear made me feel vulnerable. And feeling vulnerable is one of the most scary emotions ever.
But that’s the risk we take when we’re reaching out to build friendships and community.
We won’t receive if we don’t give. We don’t get if we don’t ask. Asking for what we want make us vulnerable because when we ask, we’re letting someone else know that we want, need something. It feels like we’re giving someone power over us. And we don’t like feeling that someone else may have power over our happiness. Plus, vulnerability leads to the possibility of rejection. We don’t like rejection. We fear it.
I’m not yet sure of how to get over the fear of being vulnerable. I’m not even sure I’m supposed to get over that fear. But here’s what I do know:
- God intended for us to live in community
- It’s natural to be afraid of vulnerability.
- Fear of being vulnerable and fear of rejection are not good excuses for hiding from the healthy, nurturing relationships we need to be whole, healthy people.
- God loves us as we are. Even when we experience rejection from another human being, we can find healing and security in the fact that He NEVER. EVER. Rejects us.
What does being vulnerable mean to you? Email me your thoughts!