I had an experience this past week that showed me how much I don’t know how to be vulnerable with people. This left me to to have the thought, “God how do I transfer my complete vulnerability with you to people”? I looked up the exact definition of vulnerability wanting to completely understand what I was asking God. It’s definition is, “the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.” Those words made it so clear to me why being my truest self with God is so much easier than doing that with people.
In my determination to heal, learn, and grow, I am forced to really take a good look at myself. Where I am still in need of figuring out why I do the things I do. Why I say the things I say. And how they continue to keep me from the life I have always wanted. Maybe someone else can relate to this too.
In my life I’ve never felt safe enough to truly be vulnerable. This is not about blaming any one, or drudging up old things. It’s simply a truth that I have to express so I can move on. Maybe you feel the same way, you can’t remember a time you felt safe enough to be your truest self. Your absolutely, this is me, warts and all, self. Safety is a big thing to our very fragile human minds and hearts. Our ability to feel safe is developed from the beginning of our existence. When babies cry they are letting their care taker know they have a need. A need they can not take care of on their own. If those cries get ignored enough the baby’s brain develops a pattern of thinking, “I will not be taken care of.” This goes on throughout life. We are constantly being trained by others on whether our needs will be met by them or not. If we are worth it to them or not. If we are shown for one reason or another we are not wort it enough, we can become totally self reliant. And this can make us unable to allow anyone in.
One of the most amazing things about having a relationship with God is that you know He already knows you. Psalm 139:13, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” For me this is great because I don’t have to concern myself with what someone knows about me. In this particular relationship I am already completely known, understood, and loved anyways. I don’t have to perform, or be funny, or worry if I’m over sharing too soon or not sharing enough. God already knows it all. I don’t know about you but that is a huge relief to me. And knowing that God already knows it all and will never hurt me or leave me because of it, I can be truer with Him than I ever have been with anyone else. God may convict me yes, but there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. (Romans 8:1) This is where it gets tricky for me, maybe it does for you too. How do I take who I really am, who I share with God, and transfer that to my relationships with other people? By definition vulnerability remember is opening ourselves up to harm or pain. This is a worldly definition. However when we are vulnerable with God we open ourselves up to being loved like never before. That’s my Heavenly definition of the word. When doing a relationship with God fully, honestly, and willingly, it leads to such a feeling of security. It becomes a safe place that can become so comfortable you never want to leave it. This is my personal experience anyways.
A little background info here. I am and have been for almost four years now healing from a devastating time in my life. One that trained my brain even more than it already had been that I can’t be vulnerable with a man. That I am not allowed to have weakness or needs in anyway. That the only reason a man would be with me is what I could do for him. At my weakest most fragile state the person I believed loved me left me. (Since note: This is not about blaming or bashing it’s just what happened.) I do want to say I believe we all have a right to feel how we feel, and he obviously felt he needed to leave. I’m only exploring how that affected me, not bashing him. The moment I heard the words, “I’m breaking up with you” I’ve been on a journey of finding my way back. Back from the dark hole those words left me in. I have also had to heal from the illness I was going through at the time. In a way I’m only now fully processing what this experience has done to me emotionally. Up till now it’s been healing a sick body and a rebuilding a life from just about scratch. This past week has shown me how much work I have left to do.
So now back to vulnerability with others. How can we do this, how can we take the genuine us we share with God, to people who not only don’t know us like God does, but in the beginning don’t know us at all. I have to share with you that I totally failed at this last Saturday. I had a first date, the first one I’ve had in years. I’ll be completely honest again, dating scares the hell out of me. I don’t like it, and if I could I’d never date again. However, not wanting to do the rest of my life without this personal relationship, I must date. Let’s just be real for a moment though, it’s frightening! Sitting across from someone you barely know, trying to figure out moment to moment how much to share in these first few hours together. Hoping your fear doesn’t show through. All while trying not to be too needy but needy enough so they can feel you need them in your life. (Side note again: this right here might show why I’m still single.) Back to why we are here. This is what I learned about me through this experience, maybe you can relate too. I am terrible at letting people in. I pre reject myself. What does that mean? It means I say things like this, “I don’t need anyone in my life. I’m content with being alone. If no one ever comes along I’ll be perfectly fine.” Not only do I say these things, but I say them on a first date. 🤦🏻♀️ Yeah I know, I’m shaking my head too. I make sure anyone who meets me knows I don’t need them. I’m preparing myself for the person I’m talking with to leave. This way it will sting less. At least that’s the lie I tell myself.
Here the thing though, we as people like to feel needed. We like to know we have something to offer that the other person appreciates. And when we are protecting ourselves, making ourselves seem completely self reliant, they will not feel as if their presence is required or appreciated. For most people this will lead them to look elsewhere for what they need. For me, and maybe for you too, the trick is knowing how much to need the other. How much to rely on the other. Past hurts and rejection only muddies up the water here. But it’s something we must learn how to navigate if we are to have any hope of a healthy life long relationship.
So, here is where I am starting from today. As this past week showed me, I need to start from the beginning. Growing my relationship with God even more. Taking the time to better and fully understand His love for me. To completely lean into my past hurts. The last times I was vulnerable with someone and they left. Heal the wounds each of those created. Undo the damage from the message of unworthiness each one of these experiences gave me. I thought I had, but my pre rejection wall I took on this date proved otherwise. That’s where I’d suggest for you to start too. One thing I will be doing is a relationship timeline. For each relationship that has left you feeling hurt, make a timeline. From the beginning of it to the end. Going upwards make note of things that made you happy. The good times of this relationship. Going downwards the times that hurt you. The bad times. Then release the time spent with them to God. Release this person to God. Saying, “God these up here are the moments that made me happy, I will cherish these, thank you for them. Down here are the times that have left me wounded. I surrender them and this pain to you.” After competing your timeline(s) write a good bye letter to that person. You don’t mail it, it’s simply a safe place to say all the things you never got a chance to say. Then at the end you write out the words “good bye” with their name after. This hopefully will set the stage for being fully ready to move on.
Once you feel you have fully healed and become clear in who you are through Gods view of you, start praying over the person God is sending you. As someone shared with me this week, be specific. Pray for what you really want. Another thing I’ll be doing is writing a vision board. Things specifically to pray over with God. Get a clear picture of what matters most to me. The more we focus on and pray over what matters most to us, the less time we have to focus on what doesn’t. Do you have a clear picture of what you want? If I asked you right now, “What is it that you want” could you answer with very little thought needed? If not, that’s another great place to start. Knowing what you want is key to getting it! Pray, pray, then pray some more, asking God to help you. Once you know exactly what you want, start thanking God for giving them to you. In advance praise God for them all! This idea was presented to me this week, and I’m running with it. I hope you will too!
So where does this leave us today? Well I believe it leaves us ready to move forward and with some ways to help us do just that. While opening ourselves up to others will never be as safe as doing that with God, I believe a little work on our end can help us be more successful. Relationships will always come with a chance of being let down, of being hurt. The more we take the time to grow our one on one with God, and ourselves, the better we can be equipped to handle it. But also the better we will be at letting good in! Let’s not forget after all that walls not only keep things out, nothing can get in either. The abundant life Jesus lived and died for us to have, does not include living in fear of love. Living in fear of intimacy. So I’d like to leave you and I with this thought. Let’s do our healing with God not under the mindset of being ready to brace ourselves for bad, but to brace ourselves for good! To live each day moving forward with an hopeful expectant heart of Gods plans for us.
Jeremiah 29:11 “
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Here’s to a life lived fully with God and others! 🙌🏻♥️