Courageous Vulnerability

Some time ago I made this post on Instagram:
I’m not sure where the sudden burst of vulnerability came from or what exactly it stirred in me. I’d like to tell you (or me since I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that reads this) that there has been tons of growth and visible change in the days and weeks since I posted this…………not so much.
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Recently I’ve been pondering this idea of vulnerability. With the resurgence of Dr. Brene Brown’s writing and TED talks on the topic, it has been in my news feeds, in conversations amongst friends, and I find myself pre-occupied with the topic. I often find myself saying, “I’m an open book. Ask me anything. I don’t keep any secrets.” Mostly because of my line of work and the depth in which I ask people to dig into their own emotional and spiritual journeys.
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I can playback every traumatic childhood memory, fill you in on the all of the intricacies of each and every deeply profound trial I walked through, and yet if I’m being honest with you despite my ability to share in great detail I have an ability to share honestly but not openly.
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I have found myself to be factual but not vulnerable.
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I possess an un-canny ability to emotionally detach while being brutally honest with you…but not with myself. And until recently I did not think it a problem. Where along the journey did I allow my heart to become callous? Why would I allow people to hear my story but not my heart.
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The simple answer is fear.
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Fear of being misunderstood. Fear of being compared. Fear of being disappointed. Fear of disappointing….. Fear of being known.
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“You are only loved to the degree that you are known.” I am sure that I have quoted this endlessly over the years, twice today in fact.
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Perhaps when it’s all said and done my lack of true vulnerability is more deeply rooted in the shadow that shame has cast on my history. Those ugly whispers that I’ve not quickly enough silenced that say, “Yeah, if only they knew the real you?”
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But what if  they knew? Would they choose to distance themselves? Would they cause me to isolate and live the rest of my days hidden behind the hardened walls of my heart? Would they appreciate my flaws and quirks? Would they celebrate my victories? Would they come to bandage my wounds?
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Vulnerability takes courage. It’s not for the faint of heart. Physical strength pales in comparison to the wherewithal required to venture in the unknowns that vulnerability possess’.
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The life supply of shame is cut-off when you bring it into the light.

This is me bringing mine to the light.

Talking cuts shame off at its knees. What needs to be brought into light in order for you to walk in true freedom, towards all that God has for you and away from the trap of isolation that shame has kept you in?

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Single Lady Woes

After overhearing an interesting conversation at work today, I have a few things to vent say and since this is my blog I can say them.

soap·box
ˈsōpˌbäks/
noun
  1. a box or crate used as a makeshift stand by a public speaker.
    “a soapbox orator”
    • a thing that provides an opportunity for someone to air their views publicly.
      “fanzines are soapboxes for critical sports fans”

Here are a few observations I would like to state for those of you who have single females in your life, especially if they are in their late 20’s and up.

1- We are completely aware of our relationship status

May seem like common sense but you would be surprised how many times well meaning (usually married) friends make mention of this. Clearly, I know that I am single. I think about it quite often, guaranteed more often than you do.

2- Just because it worked for you does not mean it will work for us

I’ve heard everything under the sun about all the things that I should try and do. Websites, singles mixers, changing my look, finding new hobbies, “putting myself out there”…… again, I know you have the best intentions (or at least I hope you do) but if we haven’t already tried these things there’s a good chance we won’t AND if we have tried these things….they clearly haven’t worked. But thanks anyways.

3- Stop giving us lists of potentials

If we wanted your help in changing our relationship status we would have come to you. Please do not make it your job to find a list of candidates or ask about every single male friend in our lives as potential suitors. I promise you I will not be the one pursuing a dude so there is little to no use in making those suggestions. If you feel strongly led, hold your tongue, pray about it, and then go talk to the dude.

4- Being single is not a disease

Please, Please, Please do not pity your single female friends or treat us like we are diseased when we tell you our relationship status. I can not tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Oh I’m sorry. I’m sure that one day the right guy will come around,” after telling someone I’m single and 30. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING SINGLE!!!! Sorry for the yell. Don’t apologize to us or make that poor-you face and gently tap us on the shoulder. That drives me up the wall. There is nothing wrong with being single and there is nothing wrong with me causing me to be single. Ahh, rant over.

5- We are not going to lower our standards to change our status

If you love us, I would hope that you would want the best for us. Our standards are not too high. Our expectations are not beyond the realm of possibility. Because my age goes up, doesn’t mean I deserve less.

We are females. And because of that I promise we have thought and dreamed about our weddings. We been to dozens of them (or for me been IN dozens of them) and I’m still happy to celebrate at each one. We do long for companionship but we are not lacking because we haven’t found it. We have looked long and hard at our lives, we’ve done the heart-work to make sure our intentions are pure and that we would be able to steward them well if a wonderful man did come into the picture.

As much as I can’t wait to be a wife, I’ve been afforded incredible opportunities that, had I been married, would never have been the case. I have traveled across the world. I have been able to fully give myself to my ministry. I have been able to spend tons of time investing into my friendships and I still have the bed all to myself.

So, maybe instead of advice, offer the single gals in your life your support. Celebrate them now, not just when their last name changes.

A Case of the Mondays….on a Tuesday.

Yup. There’s where I am today.

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Or at least I was.

An foreseen late start to the day , coupled with an unavoidably long commute (45 minutes longer then it should have been), topped off with the fact that about  2 minutes into the ride I had already spilled my breakfast down the front of me… I was ready to call it a day, a Mon-day, that is. Had this all taken place yesterday, I would have brushed it off on the fact that somewhere in my mind that ‘s a perfectly acceptable behavior… for a Monday. But what right does Tuesday have in following Mondays foot steps!?!

Every once in a while one of those days creeps on in and tries to get the best of me. I throw myself a pity party, sigh extra loudly (hoping to incite some compassion from my office mates), and throw my hands up and call it quits. And then exactly 5 minutes later, I pull up my theoretical big girl pants and get back on the grind.  If any one of these incidents had been isolated I doubt I would have taken much notice but throw a few bumps in the rode and suddenly I’m longing for my glory days back in nursery school.

Yes, being an adult is not always easy, sometimes it just plain sucks. At moments I wish I could turn back time (did anyone else hear Cher singing just then, too?). Alas, I can’t. But I do get the opportunity to decide to tell Tuesday to get it’s act together. And I have.

So they next time the “Mondays” start to kick in….you tell it right where to go.

“It’s just a season….”

Seasons.

While you may experience the pleasantries of a post-card worthy winter wonderland , or the dew-stained blossoms of spring, or the long-awaited pool side dwellings of summer, or the awe that the changing foliage of fall brings, I on the other hand encounter… “not-so bad” summer, “on the brink of bearable” summer, and the “welcome to Hades” summer.

seasons

Seasons can be a tricky thing when you’re talking to a girl from Florida. That’s why the phrase “it’s just a season” is so darn unsettling to me.  I know you mean well when you share this phrase with me, that the the present circumstances I find myself in can’t last forever but to someone who dwells in the land of eternal summer that somehow doesn’t bring along the comfort you desire it to.

I do believe there are “seasons” of hardship that we find ourselves in from time to time.  With it brings opportunities to grow and mature, to allow your spirit to stand strong, to put into practice all of the mantras of faith you’ve stored up for a rainy day (no pun intended). We all know from hind-sight that these seasons do not last forever, however in the midst of one of them, it is hard to see beyond the present.

One of the perks of being a South-Floridian (believe me there is a definite distinction between So Flo and the rest of the state) is that you learn to take notice of the subtlety of seasons changing. And I do mean subtlety. It may be as slight as the thermostat reading a few degrees cooler but a So-Flo dweller will notice and probably try and wear a scarf (only for the sake of fashion and not necessity).

Often if I’m only looking for the huge, life-altering shifts I am bound to miss out on the fullness of the season that the Lord currently has me in. One thing I’ve learned through the ever-changing seasons of my soul is that I am the only one that decides how I walk out of one and into the other.

There is beauty in every “season” if you choose to see it.

Remember to schedule a breath

There have been seasons in my life where I felt I was running on empty, functioning at max capacity and thought; ” There is no way I could do more.” And now I look at those moments with a smirk on my face and say, “Wow kid, you had no idea what busy even looked like then.”

To say I am in the busiest season of my life, could be in some instances, an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I have definitely walked through my fair share of “busy” but this tops them all.   While my schedule is filled to the brim, there is an ease I have not before experienced. Why? Because this time (thank you maturity!), I’ve learned to schedule a breath.

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There is a difference between busy and effective.

Even in the chaos of appointments and tasks, and counseling sessions and church services, in order to be effective, I need moments where I can simply breathe. Yes, days of rest are wonderful but that’s not always possible. So for me the key to remaining, at the bare minimum, human in this season is scheduling Sabbath moments. It may only be a few minutes here and there but they are paramount in me keeping my sanity and accomplishing the tasks ahead of me.

After all, without breath, we are in fact quite useless.

Today is the day.

It might be the slight haze of the copious amounts of caffeine I’ve consumed today or perhaps the residue of the hopeful beginning of the new year… at any rate, I’ve decided to go public….with my thoughts at least.

Take them or leave them, they are thoughts that are mine to be read, pondered or simply scrolled through.   I think my thoughts all the time so it’s not new to me but fresh for you.