I would like to echo Falicia by saying that I am not a blogger. (If you have not read her post from last week, you should probably go do that right now.) I do not normally express myself in writing. But if we are working on vulnerability this month, what better way than stepping into something that is not comfortable for me? :)
I have been thinking about what I would write since the beginning of January. Racking my brain to think of something meaningful to share. It finally hit me this last Sunday. Pastor Shawn shared the first part of his sermon on vulnerability. I was inspired to embrace vulnerability and seek out opportunities to be vulnerable. As the congregation was leaving I heard someone say, “You know what I was thinking about? How to be vulnerable with yourself.” That statement hit me like a ton of bricks. Up until that point I had been thinking about vulnerability only in terms of what I share with others. I had thought, “I am fairly open with those that I love. There will be somethings for me to learn, but overall I feel like I am doing okay.” However, when I started to think about being vulnerable with myself… yeah… ummm… I have some work to do.
I realized an important fact about myself, which I think is true for many people, while I was reflecting on this. I tend to fall into the trap of finding my worth in what I accomplish and how “perfect” or “put together” I can appear. I am concerned with how others perceive me and how I perceive myself. I am consistently trying to prove to myself and others that I am capable of great things. When you are in that mindset it becomes difficult to recognize and accept struggles or shortcomings in yourself. Instead, you want to maintain that “Instagram filtered” life. Your mind creates a system or why of thinking that helps you avoid them. I will experience a struggle or I will recognize something in myself and I will push it to the side or I will rationalize it until it doesn’t seem “that bad” and I feel comfortable sharing it with others. Instead of being genuinely vulnerable, I take my struggles, smooth the edges, polish them up, share them and then feel safe because I didn’t step too far outside my comfort zone. I now realize that I cannot be truly vulnerable with others if I am not first vulnerable with myself. To me this means stepping into my pain and struggles.
When I think about how I am going to be vulnerable with myself, it make me nervous and I struggle to identify what that will look like. However, there are a few truths that are helping me find a starting point. First, I am BELOVED and worthy of benefit just because. I have been told this over and over again since joining this church. I realize now that I need to embrace that fact and learn to believe it to my very core. Second, I am a child of God. He made me and He knows me. He is mighty and there is no struggle that is too big for Him. Finally, from pain there is strength. I know that stepping into pain will result in me being stronger on the other side. Being truly vulnerable with myself gives me that chance to grow and improve. You learn a lot more from failure than success.
I don’t expect this to be easy and I know there will be many days that I will fall short. However, I have the desire to take the first step and at this point that is all I need.
~ Allison Burns