Thursday, May 11, 2017

thursday thoughts + my ongoing lesson with vulnerability

"Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path."

-Brene Brown

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one. Lock it up safe in the casket of your selfishness. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable." 

-C.S. Lewis

"It's the in between that drives us mad...the days of walking lifeless, the years calloused and simply going through the hollow motions, the self-protecting by self-distracting, the body never waking, that's lost all capacity to fully feel."

-Ann Voskamp

Not seeking a single one of these words out today, I came across each quote.
I'm a bit superstitious (although I don't really believe in jinxes), so writing what I'm about to write makes me nervous. 

But here it goes -- because I'm beginning to believe far more in declaring truth, rather than speaking lies about myself to myself.


Something is at work in my life. 

Or, rather, God is. I go through seasons. We all do. He's working something out as always, and yet I am just beginning to skim the surface of the immeasurable depths of what His plan even entails. 

I'm learning how to trust. I have a handful of desires at the moment. The controller in me wants to take charge and worry. Per usual. I sense my inability to control any and all outcomes, and I grip tighter to what cannot be grasped

All day, I am called back to the truth.

That all things work together for what is good -- even if goodness tends to come in shapes and sizes and seasons that we cannot foresee. 

That my choices, which exist in the future, are already fully known. They are already set in coming to pass, therefore, I cannot ruin the path that God has foreseen.

I am learning that Hollywood may appear to be an industry run by men, but that it is yet another facet of God's kingdom. I answer only to those who God has placed above me. I am loved regardless of who has gone before me. 

I am learning to release the anxiety that rivets me in regards to inevitable mistakes that loom in the future. I trust that with each flaw comes forgiveness, that with each overstepped boundary comes a blessed lesson, that with each foul word spoken comes a door for grace, because deconstruction can either lead to a dismantled ruin or a new structure entirely. 

For years people have commented on my ability to be an open book. Yet, it has been those who know me deepest that follow the description with a yet, you're so inaccessible. So private. 

I haven't been vulnerable. Not in a humble way.

And if vulnerability doesn't come with humility, can one even claim to be raw? I don't believe so. Not in the contexts that count, at least.

I have spent years assuming my heart to be out on a line in a multitude of situations. It doesn't have to concern only love. It has been in the past month that I'm coming to know true vulnerability. The sort that keeps you up at night deep in prayer. The sort that strips you of comfort and garners you in reflections of the most honest parts of yourself. It leads you to feel like a purposeless wanderer as you take each day as an individual rather than as a piece of an eternal timeline. I wonder why we take so much comfort in "knowing" that there is a tomorrow, rather than truly knowing the limited certainty of today and treating it as a period to its own sentence. It's the sort that comes in only after you've learned who deserves to be opened up to. 

I am hoarding my secrets and dispersing them only to ears paired with minds that know how to discern and mouths that know how to guard and speak life. 

I have misjudged beauty and reached towards standards that are actually much lower than the heights above my head. I have wondered at sin, and greed, and status. Opened my mouth a bit to see what the mirage tastes like. 

It tastes like air. Tinged air. Fleeting, tainted air that sticks to the back of your throat like an evidence-less virus. 

I drown upon surfaces of conversations, not for their depth but because I have jumped with too much velocity into shallow waters. The floor is jarring, and it takes me nowhere else but immediately back to the surface where there is no one to lend a hand. I reach for the ledge and I pull myself out. Soaked. Not quite baptized in renewal, but awake. 

Vulnerability is reconciliation of self and--most especially--with God, even in the filth of life.

God says He is always there, even in the silence, and so I call out -- dirt smudged across my face, hands tired from lifting my body up above the ledge of the shallow pool, mind strewn out on the sin I have witnessed and succumbed to, a heart that has only deceived itself into thinking it's been out on a line of transparency and authenticity.

I can no longer worship the idols on the pillars I have built, because I have grown tired and empty. 

And idols require no vulnerability, only a set of blind eyes and impatient hands. 

Love can become an idol, too.

Depending on it, disobeying because of it, paying it too much emotion, and making one's own feelings at the center rather than the feelings of the lover. 

The same goes for goals --

for expectations,

for the tales we tell ourselves and weave into lies that replace what is truth,

for refraining from what we know to be good, and settling for less because of a lack of trust. 

Or are all of these idols just mine (and more)?

I have always feared the C.S. Lewis heart -- the one that is wrung and broken.

And yet, in the past month, I am learning that my heart can only prove the strength of its pulse if it has a brokenness to beat against. I am learning to fear the impenetrable heart, the one that doesn't come back to the surface, but sinks to any depth. 

Going through the motions seems a safe bet, but this too can cause a heart, a being, to grow unbreakable in callousness. 

And, without vulnerability, birth, love, joy, courage, empathy, creativity, community, communion, grace, selflessness, maturity would certainly cease to exist.

I am usually trying, and constantly failing at a life lived better.

But the word vulnerable, and the reality that I've never truly known it, has me riveted.

It's an epiphany leading me to believe that I am on to something, even if not everything. 

So, I am beginning with loving well --

with not fearing the wrung out heart, 

with being vulnerable enough to seeking raw palms rather than a calloused pair;

with reconstructing the infrastructure of my life, and allowing the head architect to set the ground floor and bring the project to highest completion. 

1 comment:

  1. This is beautiful. Thank you, again, for such honesty and much-needed truth.