I’m not a blogger. Not really. I'm far too untamed I think, and I’m far too grammatically incorrect, but if you’d bare with me, I have some thoughts to share.
Originally when I set out to write this post I was going to begin with a cliche. You know, how all those high school papers start out? “The Webster dictionary definition of the word is...”, but I was surprised to find that the word was associated with so much negativity. “Susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm”. I stared at that for a long time and wrestled with what it meant.
It is from the Latin root vulnus meaning wound.
I sat back and stared at the words and I asked myself why anyone would ever want to be susceptible to attack or harm. There was a list of synonyms at the bottom and the word unguarded caught my eye. That word, for whatever reason, seemed to have a more honest ring to it.
I think often times we protect ourselves too much or perhaps, I should speak for myself. I protect myself and I do so extensively.
I build walls. I build thick, complex, hard-to-get-through walls and I allow very few people past them. I sometimes imagine myself as some sort of military base that has these checkpoints that people have to pass through. They may get through the initial wall; the one that’s intimidating. The one made of concrete, with security footage, and razor wire on top. The real test though, are the emotional walls. I see them a lot like one-way mirrors. I can see out of them, but others cannot see in. They merely see a reflection of whatever it is they want to see. They see their own version of me. Some people never make it past that checkpoint. It protects me. Usually.
I stay within the center of my base and I stay safe. Vulnerability is that word that asks me to step beyond the checkpoints and stand outside of my walls.
Is it vulnerable of me to stay I am terrified of the idea of stepping out from behind my self-made protection? It’s true. When we step outside we are most certainly susceptible to attack, but I think what the dictionary definition lacks is all of the other forces we might be susceptible to. Things like trust and growth.
I have stepped beyond the walls before. I have opened myself and been severely damaged. I have been destroyed so thoroughly, that I had to crawl back within my base because I did not feel I was worthy enough to walk. Susceptible to pain indeed.
Pain often invites growth, although I don’t believe pain is the force that makes me grow. I believe that change is and I am learning that change does not happen in an environment that I control. While I can honestly say that I am not enjoying the process of stepping beyond my walls, I know that it is necessary to foster growth through change. As my world changes around me I learn to trust and I learn to love better. Reality speaks most loudly through the vehicle of change.
So as this year turns from 18 to 19, I promise to keep taking one step after another. I promise to keep walking past my walls until I am on the outside. Until I am susceptible. Pain or success I want to learn from change and grow with it. I believe that the Lord created us to be on an ever continuing adventure with him. We do not grow in skill or heart without practice and opportunity. Neither of which are possible without embracing change and the act of embracing change requires vulnerability.
So I guess if we want to grow, we all better prepare to be susceptible. We must become unguarded.