Lenten Journey Day 20 – The Beauty of Vulnerable

To be vulnerable means capable of being physically or emotionally wounded. So when we choose to be vulnerable in situations and with people we run the risk of being hurt. If we are constantly keeping ourselves away from these possibilities of harm or hurt we sometimes end up hurting ourselves. When our defenses are isolating us and building walls to keep people out we sometimes don’t understand why we don’t have friends or are never asked to participate in activities and events. Just like with everything else in life it’s about balance and making decisions based upon true data and not simply fear. Fear keeps us from being brave and yes, being vulnerable. This all comes with trusting yourself and having boundaries. Setting simple goals for yourself will provide you with safety perimeters and gradually trusting others with your thoughts and building upon that trust is often the best route to go. I am sharing this out of personal experiences, it’s definitely not easy and absolutely not quickly achieved if ever fully achieved. I was having a conversation with someone I trust today, I spoke about where I am mentally and spiritually compared to four years ago. It’s true about hindsight being 20/20 but knowing what I know now versus what I thought I knew then(?) let’s just say I’m grateful for God’s unfailing love and the unconditional love and support from a few very special people in my life. Back in 2013, my church decided to explore and to participate in “My One Word.” The word I chose was “Clarity.” I think my choice was twofold looking back, I sincerely wanted more clarity with regards to my spiritual life and clarity in my personal life regarding education, work, and personal relationships to name a few. I also felt this would be relatively easy to pursue and obtain answers (I tend to like shortcuts). I figured I would have this all figured out rather quickly, I applied to go back to college to pursue religious studies and companion it with my BA I had already earned. I thought clarity was as easy as going to the optometrist, get an eye exam and glasses for correction and then see things crystal clear! HaHa! So fast forward to 2017, I’m still pursuing “Clarity” and although I have learned so much there’s just so much more I “want” to learn. And as I look back over the past four years I have learned more than I ever imagined possible. I can’t say it was easy but at the same time it has been joyful. I am blessed with incredible people in my life and I give all the credit to God, He knew what I needed and how best to teach me. I have gained knowledge through education just not in the conventional method I had boxed myself into believing. Adding another college degree is still on my list but it’s priority has changed. What I really wanted was knowledge and opportunities to share in conversation while learning with others. God opened a different door for me. I met a pastor from another local church and I have been able to participate in a women’s retreat, two separate bible studies and a monthly gathering called “Pub-Theology” where we meet for dinner, share a meal and a beverage together and then talk about a specific subject item (news story; faith practices; cultural differences; interpretations of passages in the Bible, etc). Over these past few years, I have strengthened old relationships; renewed broken relationships; created new relationships. I have become more comfortable in my own skin, faced some of my fears and looked my past pains in the mirror and do you know what I discovered? I’m ok, better than ok…I’m a princess and my father is the “King of Kings”. *A bit of Charlotte humor, but it’s true nonetheless! I’m thankful for the difficult periods I’ve lived through the past few years because they have made me stronger, wiser, confident and compassionate. Please know that you too are worthy and loved and are a prince or princess! God loves you! May you see and feel the love of God all around you!

Ephesians 5:1-6 “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out-of-place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.”

Psalm 5:5-12 “The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong; you destroy those who tell lies. The bloodthirsty and deceitful you, Lord, detest. But I, by your great love, can come into your house; in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple. Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies— make your way straight before me. Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they tell lies. Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you. But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.”
~Blessings and Peace~