Tuesday, May 12, 2015

On Vulnerability

Over and over, I keep coming back to one section:

“Then I asked him how long it generally took for him to from the act of looking at porn to satisfy himself to returning to the foot of the cross to receive grace from God and be reminded that he was already forgiven and accepted.  He said it sometimes took days.  I asked him whom he was putting his confidence in—whom he was worshiping—during those days in between.  He said, ‘Well, I guess me’” (Saturate, Vanderstelt 60).

Specific issues aside, this particular story brought to mind a statement I’ve asked my students to evaluate every year:  You live out what you truly believe.

I’ve had a niggling in the back of my mind every time I’ve discussed that statement—one that told me my belief system wasn’t strong  enough to label myself with a million other people.  I was doing the community an injustice.  I was a fake.  I was a fraud.  And the one sentiment I think every human being understands:  I was doing it wrong.

I’ve written so much over the last five years.  I’ve let people into my struggle with infertility and my belief system without actually giving them to opportunity to see me.  I wrote with a heavy hand on the delete button and my mind firmly positioned in EDIT.

Feeling like I’m not enough has become a condition.  For someone who did some really good things at a really young age, I feel like I’ve never quite measured up…always mediocre.  At best, middle of the road. (And at worst, worthless.)  I keep trying to earn acceptance and approval from the people who make up my little world without appreciating the very thing that allows for joy is the thing that also makes me susceptible to disapproval or ostracism:  vulnerability.

Believe it or not, the lack of vulnerability is why Venderstelt’s story has replayed in my mind for the last week.

Any time I chose something other than Christ, I’ve worked for that forgiveness.  I refused to let the inner parts of me be seen.  I’ve worked to be sorry.  I’ve hidden and pretended that I’m A-OK when I’m not and hoped at some point that something I’ve done may be enough to bring me back to a place where grace can be for me.  But that’s not belief at all.

I feel like it’s some new revelation that belief means I’m willing to come to the foot of the cross and ask for forgiveness and trust that God is enough.  He is enough for my forgiveness.  He is enough to change my heart.  He is enough.  He is enough.  He is enough.  I don’t have to be.

For these thirty some odd years, I keep talking about being broken without actually letting people see I’m, you know, broken.  It’s embarrassing.  I’m ashamed of my downfalls.  My slips.  My choices.  I get red-faced over the things I’ve said.  The things I’ve felt.  The attitudes I’ve cultivated.

I doubt those things are unique to me, but fear is alienating.  It makes us believe others will hate us or disregard us if we put ourselves out there.  We keep trying to work to be whatever it is that will allow us to be accepted instead of understanding what’s available is imperfect and, well, broken.  And that’s not unique to us.

So here we are.  I’m not enough.

And I’m working on understanding that accepting my “not-enoughness” is exactly the thing that opens the door for authentic relationships—with others, with myself and with Christ.


1 comment:

Katie said...

You made me cry on my lunch break with this beautiful thoughts. This is where I struggle, as well. I think the fear of being vulnerable to or with others is much more difficult than the act of being vulnerable.