“Could you just speak to me today, Lord?” I prayed as a I sat on the ground in my backyard. “Could you just remind me of your truth and that you are here with me?”
I get a lot of comments from people online thanking me for my honesty and vulnerability. I’m thankful that they are encouraged by my words. It is what I strive for, and I pray that they continue to do so.
But can I just be honest for a second?
I’m actually really terrible at being vulnerable.
At least in person.
Online it’s easy to spend hours editing and rewriting my words so that they sound so mature and inspiring to you all, but in real life, I’m second guessing everything I say and wishing I could take words back as soon as they spill out of my mouth. It’s one thing to talk about dark days or personal stories on the Internet. It’s a whole other thing to expose your soul to someone in person and have them look right back into your eyes.
Let me be the strong one! Let me be the wise one. Let me be the one who serves. I’m comfortable in the giving role. But the receiving role? The one where I let you know those things about me that aren’t so pretty? Where I unload my thoughts and my hurts in a not so eloquent way and then listen to you speak truth over me? That’s terrifying.
Because what if you see the real me?
And then you realize that behind pretty words and pretty pictures there is just an ordinary girl with a lot of growing still to do. Then there will be nothing for me to hide behind.
But would that be so bad? To be exposed? To be vulnerable? To let someone in?
It’s awkward and I hate it.
But I love it too.
Because as painful as it is to be the friend in need, it is such a sweet, sweet thing to be the friend who is being served. There is so much freedom in being yourself and then being totally accepted no matter how ugly your mess is.
So I make myself do it.
I go on walks and park dates and have phone calls with my safe people and then I get real about the stuff that is much more comfortable to hide. They see right through me and yet they love me anyway. They gently call me out on my sin and the lies I am believing, all the while lifting me upward and encouraging me onward on this race. They speak life and hope to the naked parts of my soul, and always point me back to One who knows me completely and still loves me completely.
Is it easy?
But is worth it?
Because in being intentional about real life vulnerability I am not only opening the door for the blessings of authentic friendships, but I am allowing another avenue for God to speak His promises to me.
God uses friendship to provide for our needs. He uses people to show us His character.
She said I’d been on her mind all week. We walked together in the field, my words spilling out of the broken places in my soul, and her words shining through them like the radiant sunset that provided our backdrop for the evening. She offered encouragement and heartfelt answers to questions I hadn’t even asked.
“It means so much that you’ve been thinking of me,” I said.
“Well, God’s the one who put you on my mind! And so He must have wanted you to know that He is thinking of you and wants to encourage you and supply your needs.”
And I just stood there stunned because I realized that God was speaking to me, just like I’d prayed for that day. And in the midst of my fear of exposure, He was whispering that He saw all of me.
No pretty mask to hide behind and camouflage my all my quirks.
Just plain old me.
Broken. Messy. Imperfect.
And He loved me so much that He brought someone to deliver that news to me, because He knew just how much I needed to hear it that day.
And to think I never would have heard that if I hadn’t made myself go out of my comfort zone and be vulnerable with someone who can stare right back at me.