The need for control is a dangerous snare. Though most would not describe me as controlling, I am human after all, and I don’t enjoy relinquishing every corner and crevice of my life to anyone. Therein lies my problems.
I often describe myself as an open book, and to an extent, I am. It’s the reason I feel confidently in Cultivate Women. However, I have gotten great at the game of skipping, omitting, and deleting chapters of said book. How else would I convince everyone that everything is okay? Great, even.
Part of the reason I believed I had to be taken (mostly dragged) through a wilderness season is because of my disobedience. I didn’t want to create a blog about all my faults and foibles, I wanted to control the audience. I especially did not want to reveal my struggles to people in a new city, a very conservative city, where you are taught to assimilate rather than stand out.
But God asked me to stand out and because I hesitated and delayed, He had to reveal to me the cost of my disobedience. The cost of refusing to be vulnerable is a heavy one. It allows pride to bubble up and color and conceal our experiences. And what happens when we conceal who we are and allow pride to rule in our lives?
First pride, then the crash—
the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.Proverbs 16: 18 (MSG)
Vulnerability requires us to let go and let God. It requires us to come out of hiding, hiding the not so great things that are going on in our lives or what has happened in our past. It requires us to be defenseless to attack, whether it be gossip from the people we believed we were the closest to, or a loss of a job, connection or relationship.
Consider my past disobedience, and how my desire to maintain an image of being in a great place began to eat away at me. I did not want to admit that moving to Dallas was incredibly hard after all. I was lonely and broke, and slow to understand the ways of a conservative city. I was gossiped about, betrayed by friends, and not treated kindly by men who were supposedly upstanding in the community. This was a time I needed connection the most, but because I refused to let down my defenses, I suffered in silence.
However, vulnerability also allows us to make connections and bring people to Christ. This was the lesson God was trying to teach me. He wanted me to realize that I was not alone, that He will always show up, and with provision. And that He is made strong when I am weak and feeling defenseless.
What we need to realize is that it is our authenticity, the revealing of our scars and past traumas, that allows us to break down barriers, reveal the commonalities between ourselves and others, and bind us into a family, a true family in faith. And if we lose out on people or opportunities when we are honest, consider it pure joy because God closes doors on the people and things that are not good for us.
We also need to realize that service and purpose are tied to our ability to be vulnerable. In my career, my success as an educator has everything to do with the rigor of my instruction but also my ability to connect with all kinds of students. And the success of Cultivate Women depends on my vulnerability, my commitment to be honest and share, make connections and encourage others. How else will we learn that we are not alone and grow if we hide anything in our lives that is less than perfect?
Now, like Paul, I take pleasure in my weaknesses. I have decided to relinquish every corner and crevice of my life to Christ, so why would I cower in fear and conceal my struggles with pride, when I can boast about my weaknesses and have the Lord’s power set upon me?
Are you willing to let go and let God?