An Awaking to Vulnerability

enter Photo by Caryn Noel @ Opening ourselves up leads us to deeper, more intimate relationships, but it is dependent on us being vulnerable.

propecia best price Have you ever noticed that when we open ourselves up to one another it often leads us to a deeper, more intimate place and that being vulnerable is essential to connecting? Dr. Brene Brown, Professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, explains this phenomenon: “Vacillating between I am here and I love you…and I’m going to reveal my innermost to you…and I am scared to death that you’ll reject me.” Ironically, the vulnerability we try desperately to avoid may be the key to a successful relationships.

generic levitra pills pharmacy reviews What does it look like to be vulnerable? Honestly, I’ve been doing some soul searching to better understand and grow in this area myself, especially since it has come up numerous times in the last three months. Yes, God has my full attention as I hope I have yours. 😉

clomid price mercury drug philippines In August I had someone review my blog as my desire is to be the best at whatever I do. Surprisingly, the feedback I was given said, “your writing is authentic but you are not vulnerable.”

My initial response was, “Why of course I’m not vulnerable, it’s scary and I’ve been burned too many times.” Because of previous hurts I had erected a wall of protection around my heart. While trying to appear perfect and having it together, or intelligent in order to connect with others, that actual pretense tended to have the opposite effect. Fear makes it hard to be authentic. (Fear becomes an obstacle in creating authenticity and connectedness.)

Our culture bombards us with messages to be strong, bold, and powerful while frowning upon being vulnerable. However, vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, rather it is understanding our identity in Christ as God created us to be without pretenses. It is in acknowledging our weaknesses that God is able to work in our life, for His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in our weaknesses. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Last weekend I attended the Idea Camp on Human Care, where Mark Horvath shared how being vulnerable was one of the most profound lessons he had ever learned and suggested that we listen to Dr. Brené Brown’s audio tapes. In fact, several other speakers mentioned the importance of being transparent. Yes, God has captured my attention. Daily I am asking Him to show me what vulnerability really looks like and what messages are lies I have come to believe.

As I reflected on my childhood and past hurtful relationships I realized some of my faulty thinking, “I have to be perfect” and “I should only share pleasantries.” I was unable to turn off the broken records that fill my head with messages like “You’re not good enough” and “What will people think?” These messages were impeding me from fully connecting with others for fear that I would mess up or be rejected, as I have experienced abandonment issues in the past. I had considered abandoning this article out of fear of being too real, too vulnerable. However, God has had me on a love journey and is continually showing me the areas in my life where I need to be more open to fully love others.

I like what C.S. Lewis said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

If connection gives purpose and meaning to our life I feel that social media is breeding a false sense of being connected as the underlying premise that interacting with more people is better. Jay Baer said, “Fundamentally, technology and our use of it isn’t – as we’ve all hoped – bringing us closer together. In fact, it may be driving us farther apart, as we know more and more people, but know less and less about each of them.” Our computers, Smart Phones, iPad, etc allow us to hide behind a screen and never truly be known.

I’ve only watched a few Ted Talks, one of which was Brené Brown’s, The power of vulnerability.” She defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. Vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it appears that it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love.

WOW! I want all of these.

If you haven’t listened to this talk, I highly recommend it as there is a reason that more than 10 million have listened to it. Next week I will share what stood out to me plus a few ways I personally plan to be more vulnerable.

Do you struggle with being vulnerable? If so, what has it cost you?

Helping Children Deal With Fears & Anxiety

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I have a confession to make. I am a recovering worrier, which led to much anxiety in my life while robbing me of joy.  From as early as I can remember, I was a fearful child, worrying about almost everything.  My life was filled with many terrible misfortunes, most of which have never happened.  Unfortunately, this faulty thinking did not go away with age, rather it intensified and often consumed me. Prior to personally knowing God, most of my fears, fretting, and worrying were caused by calculating my life without a God.  Thankfully, somewhere between thirty and forty, after hours of professional counseling, biblical studies, praying, and continually surrendering, I began living a life of vardenafil online spedizione veloce true faith.

dove acquistare levitra originale pagamento online George Muller said,” The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith.  The beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.”

Anxiety is another word for fear.  Less intense forms of anxiety are worry, apprehension, and uneasiness. While panic, distress and dread are more intensive manifestations. Fear in response to real danger is helpful. However, perceived fear can be destructive when the threat of pain, danger, or evil is imaginary.

I’ve grown tremendously in this area by accumulating many tools to help me lead a life of less stress, anxiety, and fear.  Thankfully, because of my previous journey, I was able to detect the tell tale signs in our twelve year old gradually emerging.  How I handled her fears daily both real and imaginary will impact her greatly.

Fear can suddenly overwhelm and/or gradually paralyze, as was Cayley’s recent experience while attending a Taylor Swift concert.  The massive crowds, loud music, bright lights, screaming fans, etc. overly stimulated her, creating stress which lead to a panic attack almost robbing her of the joy of seeing someone she greatly admired.  Fear surfaces at the most inopportune times turning my daughter into someone she doesn’t want to be.  The results of fear are guilt, loneliness, and at times missed opportunities.  I asked Cayley to describe what fear/anxiety feels like and she said, “Sometime I feel tingling or numbness in my legs and feet and I’m afraid I’ll faint.  I start sweating or I sometimes get really hot or cold.  I feel like I’m not really there, as I can’t feel my legs; it all feels so unreal.  And worst of all, I’m afraid that I’m going crazy and will die! I hate the way I feel and don’t want these feelings.”

It’s disheartening to see your child respond to everyday events that once brought joy now causing panic and fear. My role is to reassure her that she is healthy and dearly loved while helping her navigate this season of life.

10 remedies for dealing with fear or anxiety

1) Help your child to evaluate their thought process since fear usually begins with a thought, rather than circumstances.  Ask if their thoughts are positive or negative? Teach them the power of correct thinking, especially in the moment. When they dwell on uncertainties and negative possibilities, help them to flood their thoughts with positive messages. Recall and record how God carried them through past challenges and uncertainties.  See Philippians 4:8.

Cayley has travel extensively but during our recent trip to London she was paralyzed by the fear of flying.  I had her verbalize all the places she had flown to, the benefits of flying, and the outcome of each time she flew. After landing she was able to record another success in her journal.

2) Evaluate what you are doing that could possibly be creating stress (media choices, diet, lifestyle, routine, etc.)

3) Speak life into your child.  Proverbs 12:25 states “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.”  I don’t belittled Cayley or make her wrong for how she feels, instead we talk about the feelings while trying to find solutions.

4) Educate yourself and your child about anxiety.  As I have shared my past experiences with Cayley she feels less apprehensive. She is better able to cope the more she understands.

5) Memorize what God’s word says about worry, fear, anxiety, peace, etc.  Jesus commands us to avoid anxiety in Philippians 4:6 “ Do not be anxious about anything.” In Matthew 6:25-34 we are commanded, “ miglior sito per comprare viagra generico 50 mg a Torino do not worry.”  After all, worry says, “ we don’t trust God, He is not able to care for me.” cialis generico ricetta  

6) Maintain a healthy diet while getting plenty of rest along with exercise which we have found to be imperative.

7) Incorporate various coping strategies.  Find a calm environment and take deep, slow breaths to help your body settle down, your muscles relax, and your mind to think more clearly. Take a long walk if possible. Rate the fear 1(manageable) – 5(unbearable).   Create a “tool box.” Cayley carries a purse that contains items that are soothing (lavender, mints, Bible verses, music, journal, etc. )

8) Serve others as acts of kindness toward others will shift one’s focus and lift their spirits, reminding them of their own blessings and encouraging connection with those around you.

9) Listen, listen, listen, and reassure them that they are normal. Seek professional help if necessary but there are times when you know what’s best for your child so listen to the Holy Spirit.  While we have sought professional help, some recommendations made we’ve not agreed with.

10) Create an anxiety journal. Together, Cayley and I have started a “Fear No More” journal. We’ve listed various bible verses in regards to what Jesus said about worry, anxiety, fear, and peace. We’ve also included various quotes we’ve found about worry or anxiety. Cayley records the various events in her life where she has succeed, such as making it through the entire Taylor Swift concert and flying to London without incident. She also keeps track of all she is grateful for. Lastly, there is a reflective section for Cayley to share her thoughts and feelings.

Using the above suggestions has tremendously helped us deal with some of the fears and anxieties as we seek to overcome them.  Daily we implement 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because He care for you.  Are you able to say that you are living a life of true faith as defined by George Muller?



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Discerning Your Children’s Career Desires/Passions

Recently on a mom’s panel I was asked, “How did you discern your children’s career desires/passions and how did that direct their educational choices both in high school and transitioning beyond high school to college?”

My short answer was,  “know your child(ren) well. Become a student of each child.”


I believe that the greatest task we have as moms is to know each of our children as God created them to be, “fearfully and wonderfully made.”    Their personality will begin to emerge early on as toddlers. I still remember Caryn, my Sanguine child, always smiling, saying hi to strangers she encountered, wanting to invite everyone to her birthday parties and being so animated.  She was given the “most friendliest,” award by Sunday School teachers and peers. Then Courtney came along and was the polar opposite.  When strangers looked at her, she cried, her parties consisted of only two or three close friends, and she was quiet or as others would say shy. However, numerous friends would comment on how wise Courtney way.

I know first hand how damaging it can be to not value an individual for who they are.  I was brought up in a home where there were favorites, and it wasn’t me; where relational needs (acceptance, affection, appreciation, approval, attention, comfort) went unmet, and fear dismissed. Somehow my God given personality (sanguine) was masked as (melancholy) as it probably conflicted with my parents.   Growing up my passions and accomplishments were not celebrated.  Growing up I just wanted to be known and loved for who I was.  Thankfully I came to know the Lord and discovered my true identity. My husband too has been a huge source of encouragement.  As I began to know myself and walk closely with the Father, I sought to know each of my daughters as the unique individual they were created to be which has tremendously blessed them.

While brining up our daughters, we provided many opportunities for them to try various sports (tennis, swimming, basketball, soccer, etc.), art classes, acting, choir, music lessons, etc..  It can be hard to figure out a child’s passion until they have an opportunity to experience it.  In order to keep the balance in the home, we would only allow each child two activities outside the home protecting family and dinner time.  Children will thrive and put forth extra effort when they discover a passion.

Honestly we never advocated college.  However, we felt that if God put the desire to go to college on our child’s hearts we would do our best to provide for them. There were plenty of other voices sharing with them the benefits of attending college 😉 I truly believe that as parents we need allies especially adults our children look up to.  I remember Caryn coming back from Africa wanting to head straight into full-time ministry.   A dear friend and a few missionary friends shared with her how many doors would open up for her with a college degree.  Our kids are smart we just need to empower them with the truth.

At 15, Caryn showed an interest in photography, so we bought her a camera for her birthday and eventually enrolled her in various workshops and classes during her high school years.  I even came along side her to help her start a photography business and thus began her career at 16 when she was asked to do her first wedding, and the rest is history.  You can view her amazing work at carynnoel.  She has an impressive portfolio. Today at 25 she travels the world doing humanitarian photography and supporting herself financially through her personal photography business.

Courtney not only finished high school at 16, but she began working at Veritas Academy as a Kindergarten Aid for several years.  Ever since she was young, Courtney has been a lover of children so as her mom, I encouraged her to babysit and use her gifts.  She has worked as a nanny, private teacher, and virtual assistant being adored by those who employed her. She has also shown musical and artistic aptitude so we provided necessary classes to refine her natural talents.  For the past two years, Courtney has worked on the campus of UCSD for a ministry reaching out to college students and is a gifted writer. Occasionally you can find her pondering life on her personal blog and assisting others.  When she began her blog, it was called “Confessions of an X Introvert.”  She is lively and expressive, far from being a mere introvert. It’s important that we never box in our children by viewing them only one way as no one likes labels.

We are helping our youngest as she discovers her passions and interest.  Investment in various lessons are being made to help her discover what she enjoys.  We’ve noticed her spending her free time playing the guitar and singing which is a good indication of a passion.  However, being thirteen she has plenty of time to figure it out and we will continue to support her.

As you study your child and seek the Holy Spirit for wisdom, you will discern their desires and passions.  Once you identify their passions be sure to provide opportunities to refine their gifts though classes, workshops, mentoring, etc.  Every time I’m  together with my daughters I learn something new about them and see new growth.

I challenge you to become a student of your children and begin to discover what their personality, love language, and passions are.