Tonight I’d like to take a slight right turn off of Singles Lane and spend some time driving down Relationship Ave.
(That’s code for tonight isn’t just about dating…it’s about all sorts of relationships with all sorts of people.)
I think there’s a really powerful monster that we all carry around in our back pockets on a daily basis. We can use it to deepen relationships, it can drive us to building really thick walls around our hearts, and – I believe – we can subtly use it to manipulate people to get what we want.
I’m talking about vulnerability.
At one time in my life I had a ‘friend’ who asked me to coffee to try to get to know me better. This person was very sweet in their meaning, but once we got in to conversation they started getting a little more vulnerable with me (to a point) then pushed until I opened up with them. Looking back, they were totally in control of the conversation. They would open up and share some “dark” part of their story with the hopes that I would share something revealing about mine. And me, in my people pleasing ways, totally played in to it. I felt that the only way to get this person to either – 1) like me, or 2) leave me alone – was to spill some of the most private parts of my life.
I left that coffee shop feeling very uneasy and used.
Looking back, I truly feel as if I was manipulated into sharing things about myself I just wasn’t ready to share.
And if I think back hard enough, chances are I’ve done that with others. I’ve used fake vulnerability – or controlled confession – to get information from people with the motive of simply having that information.
Vulnerability shouldn’t be a tool used to get some news to gossip about. It’s much too precious to use in that way.
When being vulnerable leads to us being burned, the next natural phase is to build up some pretty thick walls in order to “guard our hearts”…or simply keep others out. Just like being manipulated, I think others can abuse our vulnerability with them causing us to distrust all people. If someone burns me, it just adds to my original assumption that I can’t open up to people in general.
In relationships this can cause a HUGE issue. If I’m not willing to take down my wall – even if it’s brick by brick – then I will get NO.WHERE. fast. I cannot grow in friendship, dating relationship, sibling-hood (is that a thing?), as a family member…basically, I can’t grow if all I’m ever doing is adding to the wall around my heart, keeping me from being vulnerable.
Vulnerability – or being burned by it – shouldn’t be an excuse to keep others out. It’s much too precious to use that way.
“Connection is why we’re here. It gives purpose and meaning to our lives. (And) in order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen. Really seen.” – Brené Brown
Brené isn’t a follower of Jesus. But I wholeheartedly agree with her.
Vulnerability, at it’s simplest definition, is allowing ourselves to be really seen. Deep connection occurs when we allow people to really see us. When we are truly vulnerable in the purest way.
Personally, outside of connection with Jesus, I’ve had this happen with a handful of people in my life.
And in those instances, when I have allowed myself to be really seen, it has transformed my relationships. It has opened my eyes to how life with others should work. It has challenged me to be a better sister, daughter, friend…person.
And allowing, above all, Jesus to really see me has made me more complete. It has healed the deepest parts of my soul. It has started to chip away at the bricks I’ve piled up around my heart. It has allowed greater love to well up inside me for others.
It has made me more human.
You have kept count of my tossing; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? (Psalm 56:8)
I love this verse. I love that God sees us. Really sees us. And we can trust Him with our vulnerability. We can let Him in and become more of our true selves.
And in turn, we can be more of our true selves with others and honestly connect. And maybe, just maybe, show Jesus to those around us by the way we love and connect with each other.
Take a few minutes to watch Brené Brown’s TED talk. Again, she isn’t a follower of Jesus, but what she says here is AWESOME!
Also, if you like what you read, would you share with someone you think might also like it?! Gracias.