Posts Tagged ‘Vulnerability’

Photo Credit: cellar_door_films via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: cellar_door_films via Compfight cc

Have you ever been in a situation where you feel like you’re a failure no matter what you do? Or how about one where you walk away defeated every time a certain person speaks to you? Or maybe you’ve been in one where you feel like you’re just hanging on for dear life and are afraid to let go for fear that you will fall further than you can get back from. I can honestly say I’ve been there. In fact, I can think of at least one situation in my life right now where I feel like that.

The question I have at times like this is, do I give up or do I hang on? The reality is, I could do either one. And either could turn out for my good because there are good and bad to both decisions. Currently, I have a situation whereby I have to decide if I need to stay where I am at or look for a change. That’s difficult for me because I have invested a lot of time and effort into this situation. I have worked hard and have had a lot of successes. There was a point when I woke up wanting to be a part of this situation.

Those days have passed. So now, I have to ask myself, do I stay or do I go? Do I survive or do I live? Do I give up or do I let go? That last question might seem like I’m asking the same question twice. But I’m not. Giving up means I stop trying. I just give up and let things fall as they will. Letting go means, I make a choice to walk away. I’m not giving up; I’m choosing a different path. Giving up means I probably stay in the situation that is defeating me. Letting go means I look for an opportunity to learn and grow and change – and hopefully be built up.

Right now, I feel sometimes like all I do is survive. I do what I have always done because it’s what has worked for me in the past. I’ve probably mentioned I like to stay in my comfort zone. That’s because I know it works for me. The problem is, I think I’ve become stagnant. And that is probably part of the reason I feel frustrated and defeated all the time. I’m tired of doing the same thing, expecting a different outcome. That never works for me (duh!). Instead of things getting better, I fall further and further into defeat until eventually, I either am forced to get out, or I fall so far I can’t get myself out.

I no longer want to survive. I want to live. I want to grow. I want to be built up and build others up. I do not want to stay stuck in a place where there never seems to be a win any longer. I no longer want to be in a place where I feel like I’m a failure every single day of my life. I no longer want to listen to all the things I’m doing wrong (and believe me there are lots of them). I want to hear what I’m doing right once in a while. I’m tired of dwelling on the negative. I want to hear and see the positive.

So, the question I pose to myself today is: “Are you going to give up or are you going to let go?”

Your turn! Have you ever been in a situation where you spent each day feeling defeated? What did you do (or are you doing) to better that situation? Do you think there’s a difference between giving up and letting go? I’d love to hear from you!

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

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Image courtesy of rattigon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of rattigon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

I’m a person who has many acquaintances, but only a small amount of people that I actually call friends. And I’ve an even smaller “inner circle” of friends that I’d call my close friends. It’s only in the past couple of years that I’ve realized just how important having those friends is to my well-being. It’s not that I didn’t know having friends was important, but I think for a long time I just felt like it was easier to be off by myself. I wanted friends. I’d complain that I had no friends. But I wasn’t doing anything to actually be a friend.

One of the things I’ve learned is that in order to have friends, I have to be willing to be a friend. That means, that I need to be willing to listen, give, learn from, and be there for someone else. And those are all things I’ve actually always understood and tried to do. But there is one thing I left off that list. Being a friend means I have to trust. I have to be willing to take a risk. And that’s hard for me. I’m not known for my risk-taking ability. I’m more of a “stay in my comfort zone” kind of person. But the only thing staying in my comfort zone has netted me is a boring life of loneliness. And who wants that?

I was recently contacted by someone from my past from whom I never expected to hear. At first I was a little skeptical. I mean, it had been a really long time. But, I’d been curious about this person for a while, so I decided to respond. And then after a little while, I took it a step further and decided to trust this person. I don’t even really know why I felt like I could or even should. I think I just got tired of always having to be wary and careful not to let too much of myself be seen. Or maybe it was the inherent lack of judgment I felt from this person. Whatever the case, I chose to trust. All I can say is I’m so glad that I chose to do that. For one thing, a very good friendship has grown from that decision. I have someone I know I can talk to, and I don’t have to hold back information for fear that I’m going to be rejected.

But there is another benefit that I have started to see from this friendship. My other friendships have started to become more open as well. I’ve started to become more outgoing. I’ve also started to be more willing to be vulnerable with my friends. I am sharing more of me, and as a result, I am finding these friendships to be more rewarding and fun. It makes me think that maybe my lack of trust because of past issues was unfounded. True there are some people who can’t be trusted. But are they really the majority? Have I been allowing myself to miss out on wonderful friendships because I was too scared to trust?

I don’t want to do that anymore, so I’m making a commitment to myself to be willing to put myself out there more. I’ll trust that even though I might be rejected by some, there are others who will accept me for who I am. I think as time passes, I’ll find that because I was willing to be vulnerable with others, I’ll have a fuller, richer, more fulfilling life. And that’s not bad.

What about you? Do you have issues with trusting others too? Or are you the type of person who is able to be who you are, no matter who is watching? What are your thoughts about trust, risk taking and friendship?

~Until Next Time

Karen Signature

Have you ever noticed that we Christians seem afraid to be vulnerable?  It seems to me like we hide behind pretenses and clichés to mask our inner struggle to live life.  It’s as if we’re afraid that if others find out we’re not as strong as they think, that somehow that makes us less.  I know that I sometimes have a tendency to pretend everything is o.k., even when I feel like my whole world is falling apart.

What would happen if we made ourselves vulnerable to each other?  What if we allowed ourselves to have differing opinions and respected each other for them?  What if we shared our inner lives with each other and opened up our hearts to let each other in?  What if we lived in true community – seeing and meeting each others needs – without feeling like we’re infringing upon each others’ territory or possessions?  What if, instead of waiting for someone to ASK for help from us, we saw the need and just met it?

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t speak up and ask for things.  After all, in James 4:2, James tells us “You do not have because you do not ask.”  But, keep in mind, he was talking about asking FROM GOD. We don’t have what we are lusting after because we don’t ask.  And if we go on reading in this chapter, we’d find that even when we do ask, we often ask with the wrong motives.

In Acts 2, we find that the early believers didn’t wait for someone to ask for a need to be met.

Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.  Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:43-47 (NASB)

They had ALL things in common!!  They just started selling and sharing.  They saw needs, and they met them.  They even ate together every day.  What would happen to this world, if we stopped hoarding our “stuff” and began sharing it with each other as we saw needs?  What would that show other people?  If we sit around waiting for people to ask us for help, we may wait the rest of our lives.  So, we need to open our eyes.  We need to be observant.  We need to be open.

And those of us who are hiding in our shells afraid to ask, we need to do the same.  We need to be willing to open our mouths and say we have a need.  Each one of us needs to decide in our own hearts that we are no longer going to hide behind pretenses, and we are going to be open and honest with each other and accept our differences – and in fact celebrate our differences.

Being vulnerable is not always a bad thing.  And we’re supposed to be brothers and sisters in Christ, so vulnerability between us should be a given, not an oddity.

Until Next Time,