Vulnerability: The key to connection.

 “To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.” Brené Brown

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

I’m no longer much of a blogger. I’ve had some kind of writing block for several years and I”m just now coming out of whatever that fog was all about. I think it had a lot to do with the grief associated with the death of my Brother and handling his estate, the prospect of tearing down my childhood home and losing my long time job. Well that and no longer having an emotional or ideological connection to much of my evangelical community. Sadly I think that last line is the real factor in my absence here. I went through so much upheaval in such a short amount of time and I desperately needed a spiritual family to lean on for comfort and support. I haven’t been able to  find that anchor or connection among the evangelicals I know or used to worship with and that’s been really devastating to me. I love people from all walks of life and I yearn to connect and grow and share Christ with them but it seems like division has hardened the hearts of so many supposed followers of Christ where I live, it’s disheartening and I have really struggled trying to understand it all and figure out how to have some kind of community connection.

 

In my dismay I have had to ask myself and God a lot of hard questions and for the time being I’m not attending Church. After the initial grief wore off I actually feel somewhat liberated. Jesus has not changed but I feel like my faith has grown even as he removed so much dead wood out of my path. His anchor still holds, even if sometimes I’m reeling from this trip we are on together. I’m really hoping to start writing again and to clean up this little blog and start some kind of discussion or at least a coherent thought process for myself here. One thing that I have learned is that one way to alleviate my own misery or confusion is to try to connect and somehow help other people. I’ve been thinking long and hard and praying about the one thing I know helps me to understand and empathize with others is expressing my own vulnerabilities and struggles. Webster’s says that Vulnerability is  defined as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. Yikes. This is hard, heady stuff but I think it’s the answer to clearing my own head and hopefully getting into the heads and hearts of other people….just being real and talking about things that make me uncomfortable helps me process things and hopefully it will resonate with someone else out there struggling with similar issues.

I”m on a bit of a quest so bear with me dear reader (if anyone is actually still here). I’m going to start talking about the very things I struggle with and the things I pester God about on a regular basis. Being old and single and dealing with aging, questions about how to handle loneliness, sex and celibacy, lack of faith, depression, mental illness and all the things I felt too taboo to discuss with other people in my previous church experiences are going to be on the table here now.  Things in my own life that aren’t sanitized or easy to open up about. I know I”m not the only Christian who has these questions and struggles with perfection or comparison and things like longing, frustration or sadness so I”m going to try to be brave and actually go there. I’m not totally sure where I”m headed but I’m going to ask lots of questions and humbly ask that you bear with me kindly. I’m working my way through years of abuse and my experience with being raped at 21 as well. It’s been a very hard road and I’m so thankful that Jesus has seen me through the worst of memories but I think sharing those experiences, though terrifying will help me to let go and also possibly help someone else dealing with guilt or shame or just misunderstanding or past hurts. So much of what constitutes “Christian” counseling is just more shame piled on top of more shame. I have been a victim of that branch of so called counseling and it’s hurtful and horrible…evil even in some circumstances and the only help I can offer is to discuss my own experiences here and pray that God uses them to encourage or strengthen someone else who is hurting. That’s the plan for the time being, I hope to have something useful to say that’s helpful to someone in the very near future. In the meantime pray for me if you think of it. Just starting to think about writing about difficult topics makes me a little bit nervous.