Day 11 : Vulnerability
John 3:21 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
James 5:13-16 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Happy Eleventh Day of Thanks Everyone!
Being vulnerable with people has always been a challenge for me; I call it "the icky feeling" of exposure. I found that most people, especially those who identified with Christian faith, never dealt well with a confession of my truth or the raw feelings of my heart. James 5:16 says that we are to confession our sins to one another so that we can pray for each other and yield healing and forgiveness.
In theory, when God's mind conceived this idea, it was a beautiful concept. Can you imagine it? We can be vulnerable with someone. They will hold the vulnerable concerns of our heart. Instead of judging us, making us feel ashamed or weaponizing our vulnerability, they would pray for us. And their intentional, passionate, persistent and full of faith prayer for us would be powerful enough to heal us and allow God to restore us and forgive our sins. Although this is what God wants and what He had in mind, most people don't do this. How many times have you shared your heart with someone and after that sharing, things went completely wrong. Your sharing became the topic of gossip, the person perceived you very differently and then rejected you, or another worse case scenario occurred.
While growing up, I experienced the "things going wrong" scenario more often than not, after confiding in people whom I thought were trustworthy. I completely stopped confiding in and being vulnerable with people altogether. I started to just to
God about the deep things in my heart. Of course, this was/is not a bad thing. After all, God is the ultimate source to get solutions and strategies from to fix every problem and to yield all necessary and desired outcomes in our lives. However, James 5:16, gives a principle of the kingdom. It lets us know that God collaborates with other people to yield our healing, restoration, and forgiveness. In the body of Christ (also known as the church or the Ecclesia), there should be mature people, who can handle holding the vulnerability of others. Their first instinct, when they hold these people's vulnerabilities, confessions or flaws, should be to pray for the person in such an intentional way that he or she will be healed, restored and forgiven.
Because I didn't experience this much while growing up, I remember praying to God, asking Him to make me the person I needed and wanted for others. He answered with a Yes.
As far as I can remember, I've always given people a safe space to share their hearts and their truth, with very little to no judgement, and I've prayed and layed all their concerns at the altar of God. I say "little to no judgement" because sometimes there is a need for biblically-based correction of a wrong concept or idea or a bibically-based explanation of why something is not good, if the person doesn't know, understand, or perceive a God perspective on the concept or situation. Even this correction or explanation is done in love and handled with gentleness. This mode of operation has been my second nature for years without even thinking about it.
About a year ago, I shared my heart with someone I trusted concerning an emotional hurt that I was facing. I shared with them the details and the interpretation of a prophetic dream that God gave me. The dream was a warning to me, telling me that if I opted to take a matter into my own hands, reacting out of my emotions, I would yield something that was not the plan or promise of God for my life. In other words, if I responded like Abraham and Sarah, and didn't wait for God's promise, I would yield an "Ishmael" instead of receive my "Isaac." The dream was a harsh reality to receive because, like Sarah, I was tired of waiting for the promise. I wanted the promise NOW and knew I could manipulate things to get something that "looked like" the promise. Notice I said that it "looked like" the promise and not that it was the promise. I cried and shared everything that I felt with this person. This person told me they'd support me in whatever I decided and that they'd be praying for me. I thought it all good and genuine. Life got busy. I never got to follow up with the person to let them know what I decided. Thank God for His love and gentle conviction and correction! As I prayed and shared my concerns with Him, God helped me to stay on course and wait for the promise and not settle for the look alike.
Fast forward almost a year later. In my prayer time, God told me to stop sharing my heart with this person. I thought it odd when I received that message from the Lord, because this was someone whom I trusted and have known for years. I prayed about the matter several times and God would repeat the same thing. "Stop sharing" with this person. Thank God, He is all knowing and seeing. God saw how the enemy would use this person I love and completely change their heart toward me. In a conversation I was having with this person, the person had weaponized the information I shared about my dream and accused me of horrible things. I sat through almost twenty minutes of a conversation, getting my character defamed, getting belittled and ostracized by this person and didn't understand where and why the attacks were coming.
When I told the person that I was offended by what was being said and didn't understand where it was coming from. The person interjected that (he/she) couldn't understand why I was offended by what (he/she) was saying. Yikes!!!! If you knew the list of accusations coming out of the person's mouth toward me, anyone with a sound mind would be offended.
I decided to not go back and forth or argue. I told God,"you know my heart and you and I both know that's not me." I was beyond hurt and decided to completely fall back on this relationship for several reasons. I knew that somewhere in our journey together and somehow, this person's perception of me had been tainted and completely changed. He/She now saw me from a distorted lens and until that changed, we couldn't be close and the original warning I got from the Lord had to remain. "Stop sharing with [the person]!"
For quite some time, I closed myself off to people again and decided that I'd just share with God. I started second guessing myself, because of the words spoken, and saw how those words tried to cause me to doubt what God was speaking to me and stiffle my ministry from going forth. The enemy is real good at the mind games and using the people we love to try to destroy God's plan and purpose for our lives. (But He's a liar!!!! And we have to see his tactics from miles away and destroy them.)
I spent several months completely confused, asking God what happened in that situation and trying to discover where the accusations were coming from and how the person arrived at those conclusions of me. I was still angry and couldn't figure out why I wasn't so quick to restore this relationship. Lo and behold, a eureka moment popped up and I realized that the person, instead of asking me what decision I made, assumed my choice in the dream scenario. He/She assumed that I settled and decided to take the "Ishmael" instead of waiting for the "Isaac." Mind you, he/she never asked. He/She didn't know I chose to wait for the promise.
One day I was on a prayer call, and a friend gave me a shout out, sharing how in a moment of prayer for her, I prayed for every request and concern she had shared with me over the course of a year. My friend said she was completely amazed at how the deepest secrets of her heart were given to God and never used to tear her down or hurt her. At the very moment she said that to me, I realized why I was angry with the other person. My "trusted friend" had not only assumed the wrong thing about the situation and me, but he/she weaponized the information I shared with him/her, in trust, and later used it to attack me. Understanding my anger, now I knew why I wasn't as quick to restore this relationship. To me, the person breeched trust in the worst kind of way.
I've been laying this situation at the altar and asking God to help me forgive and, when/if he deems it necessary, to teach me how to restore the relationship.
This was a huge teaching moment for me. I still needed to guard my heart, even with the people who I thought I could trust. I need to present the deep things of my heart to the Lord and ask Him with whom I should be trusting to share my vulnerability so that I can still act within God's principle to collaborate with people for my healing, restoration, and forgiveness. I learned that God answered my prayer of many moons ago, making me the person who can provide safe space for others. I also learned that it is/was in my vulnerability that I learned who could/would be part of my inner circle and who couldn't/wouldn't. Yes, there is still an "icky feeling" to vulnerability, but it continues to drive me to the feet of Jesus, asking for mercy, advice, and solutions. In others words, it positions me to be exactly where I need to be, when I need to be there. I'm grateful.
Today as I give thanks for vulnerability, I ask that you consider to give a donation to the organization, Reading is Fundamental (https://secure.rif.org/page/19541/donate/1) as they inspire children throughout this nation to love reading and give them the gift of literacy, which diminished their vulnerability to poverty but empowers them to receive a greater future.
Have a great day of Thanks!