the example in vulnerability

I hesitate to use a word like ‘epiphany’ for any of my thoughts. I’m not an epiphany-type person. Or epiphany-ish? I think you feel me.

But, I did have a moment yesterday that felt mildly revelatory at the o’dark thirty hour of … did y’all know we had a stupid time change? There was no information in the world about this so when I woke up already too early and walked out into my kitchen to two clocks displaying yet an hour earlier than that, I nearly panicked. Or, I nearly did that thing where you raise both fists in the air and dramatically (whisper because CJ was still asleep) ask, ‘whyyyyyyy?’

So I did what I always do and laced up for a walk. I do believe most other walkers had heard of this ‘spring ahead’ nonsense because they weren’t out yet. Truth be told, they usually aren’t and Ruby and I typically see car lights, deer, skunks and rabbits. Thankfully all moving in different directions at different times but within city limits. Yes, deer.

I’ll stop complaining about my sleep now. I’m sorry. I’m just tired.

I might have had to say all that so if I sound completely wrong about all of this that you’ll understand. But truth be told, I’ll be ok whether it sounds right or otherwise.

I’ve been vulnerable here. I had to go dig up some Brené Brown because she is the preeminent vulnerability researcher and well, I just like her and all of the good sense (and books) she makes. She shares that vulnerability is ‘uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. It’s that unstable feeling we get when we step out of our comfort zone or do something that forces us to loosen control.’ Just typing that makes me feel vulnerable.

So what does it actually look like to feel vulnerable? Is it worth it?

Well, I guess you would have to be vulnerable to know what it feels like and I bet that if you were, you know if it’s worth it or not. I think about some of the truth I’ve shared here over the last nearly ten years and it’s potentially more than I should have shared or more than you’ve wanted to know at any one time. I felt a ton of uncertainty not knowing how what I shared would be received. I risked sharing news before it was baked. And now I have a long history of words and stories that I put out there without knowing what the ending would be. And the hard part is, sometimes things do end. I’m not as fearful of showing my emotion. I can’t even help that and if you see me cry, I could (and probably would) say I’m sorry bit I’m actually probably not. I just cry (a lot).

What I’ve learned though is that the more I’ve loosened the reins on what could feel too close to share, the more I’ve felt love from others. I actually can’t share some of what’s happened here over time because I took a bold step to expose a hard story of my own that resulted in someone reaching out to share theirs. And that? Is worth it.

Here’s what I felt deep in my spirit yesterday, though. We have an example in how to be vulnerable and I think it comes from God Himself. Am I saying God is vulnerable? I am.

Much of the uncertainty, risk and emotion in vulnerability is what love looks like. I have a book I’ll recommend to anyone in the world that I gave to a friend a bit ago and recommended to another since I first read it in early 2019. It’s called ‘Keep Your Love On’ and it’s all about relationship and boundaries and being a powerful person. But how I always think about is this, ‘I get to choose to show love in the way that feels the best to me and I also need to know that whatever love I put out there may not be returned and I have to be ok with that.’ That is wicked vulnerable. And also, although it can feel so not, worth it.

So how do I feel like God modeled that? He created us with free will. He fashioned us out of dust and gave us the breath of life and then He decided to let us choose if we were going to love Him back. See that? We are not required to love Him. We get to choose. But nothing about Him changes, regardless of that choice. He loves us because He loves us because He loves us. It’s like I told CJ recently … there is literally nothing in this world that you could ever do that would make me love you more or less. I just love you. But if I ever catch you … I’m teasing. I didn’t do that.

I guess it hit me because it felt like one more way I could relate to God. And sometimes I just need that reminder that He is not some made-up angry elf that’s causing every bad thing on the planet. He feels all of it. And it’s breaking His heart, too. I need to remember that He cries when I cry and that He hurts when I do, too. And that, at the end of the day, He just waits for me; just loving me despite … all of it.

So I wonder if we can do that with each other? Can we choose to keep our love on regardless of how it’s received (or not) on the other end? Can we be vulnerable in that way? To share our hearts and our stories so that the world might become a bit brighter? Sure, sometimes love is paying for the person behind you in line and sometimes it’s forgiving someone whose done you a terrible injustice. And sometimes it’s that feeling in your gut that you know will never go away despite the fact it will never be resolved. It’s all of the things. But can we just show and be a little more love? Just choose to no matter the outcome? It feels, at least, like we have an example. He put Himself out there and I hope we can, too. Because I promise you, it is worth it.

And if you made it this far, I for sure love your stinkin’ face off. ❤

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