An Awaking to Vulnerability

Photo by Caryn Noel @ http://www.carynnoel.com/

Opening ourselves up leads us to deeper, more intimate relationships, but it is dependent on us being vulnerable.

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.

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. 😉

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?

The Supernatural Ways of Royalty – A Book Review

Supernatural Ways of Royalty

The Supernatural Ways of Royalty: Discovering Your Rights and Privileges of Being a Son or Daughter of God

If you are seeking a book packed with life giving truth, this is it.  There is no way to fully adsorb the many rich truths found throughout this book. Kris Vallotton’s goal is to demolish the slave mind-set and thrust true believers forward into authentic faith, power, and impact. Supernatural Ways of Royalty (SWR) not only helped me to overcome a poverty and orphan mind-set, but it also helped me to see myself as Father God sees me.  I obtained greater revelation into understanding who I am in Christ and what I am able to accomplish through being identified in Him. Sadly, many Christians have never heard or experienced concisely this freeing truth. I can relate to Kris’s upbringing as mine was similar and he gives me great hope as one does not need to allow their past to define the future for anything is possible.

I saw the importance of learning to value myself, learning to respect myself, learning to believe in myself, and above all learning to love myself.  I saw the importance of renouncing the “pauper mentality” that has held me in bondage and reclaiming my royal heritage as a child of the King of kings! God sees me as His daughter so I must take on His perspective of who I am in Christ. I didn’t realize that my tendency was to focus on who I was prior to becoming a believer.  I was allowing my “past” identity to define me instead of accepting my new identity in Christ.  God’s opinion of me is the only one that truly matters thus I need to get over my pride and condemnation and just agree with God that I am loved and not rejected. Easier said than done.  I am learning to move ahead in more confidence and individuality by understanding plus accepting how God sees me.

Jesus sees us as saints, not sinners. He calls us friends, not slaves. As a believer I was walking around feeling weak, powerless, and stuck in sin.  I didn’t even realize I had such a poverty mentality until I read this book! This mindset affected so much of my life and self worth. Truth helped unmask and transform my thinking!   I also realized how “religious” I was and how much my mindset needed to change to see myself as a daughter, Princess, and queen! Royalty!

When I see myself as God sees me it ignites a passion to pursue a more intimate relationship with Daddy. I need to remember to not allow myself to view what other people are doing in their personal walk with Christ and get discouraged by it. Playing the comparison game is dangerous especially when comparing my relationship with God to someone else’s relationship with Him.  I will seek to be true in my relationship with God and be obedient to what He requires of me.

I still have much thinking and pondering to do in regards to the many new revelations of the Father’s Love from SWR.  Below are just of a few of the wise words for me to continue to ponder.

  • God made people and there is a piece of God in everyone you meet.  Learn to love that piece of God in people.
  • It is wise to ignore the things that will cause your focus to turn negative.
  • You become what you focus on.  Train yourself to NOT focus on what you do not want to be or what you do not like about yourself.  Rather focus your mind on who you are suppose to be and what you are suppose to be doing.
  • You will find great freedom to be yourself when you serve other people.
  • If you violate your relationship with God by doing things that convict you, your relationship will not grow.
  • Learn to love yourself as much as God loves you.  When you do, you will expect people to love you more as they get to know you better! (p. 30)
  • Whenever someone values us more than we value ourselves we tend to sabotage our relationship with that person.  Secretly, we don’t want them to get close enough to find out that we aren’t as good as they think we are.  (p. 30)
  • Paupers have a poverty mentality.  They always feel like their resources are limited.  They believe that when someone else receives something, it takes away some of the provision that could be theirs.  They surmise that someone else’s blessings costs them. (p. 35)
  • Failures we have repented of are no longer the standard that we must bow to.  When we asked God and those we have hurt to forgive us, we are set back up to the high place that God assigned to us. Otherwise, the worst day of our life becomes the highest place that we have the right to lead others to.  The truth is that forgiveness restores the standard of holiness in us and through us. (p. 46)
  • God’s kingdom is not a performance based kingdom.  We don’t lead because we are necessarily the most qualified; we lead because we are “called” to be leaders.  (p. 48)
  • I am to see the people I lead reach their full potential in God.  That means that the greatest compliment we can ever have is when the people we are leading become greater than us.  (p. 48)
  • Suspicion is the gift of discernment being used by the spirit of fear.  It leads to bitterness, unforgiveness, and torment, and it results in our going into a spiritual prison where all guards work for the dark side. The spirits who guard the walls of this prison have names like sickness, depression, hatred, and murder.  (p. 48)
  • Identity doesn’t come from education but from impartation.  We can’t educate ourselves into our identities.  Proper identity comes from the impartation of our heavenly Father speaking to us through the people He has assigned to give oversight to us.  (p. 65)

Indeed these are just a few good words that I found 🙂