Lately, it seems, Jesus is teaching me more and more about what it means to not only love unconditionally, but to be loved unconditionally. My more stubborn nature often makes me less receptive to love people want to offer me. My life’s story and some of the ways I have been hurt make me less inclined to allow people to love me, to be receptive to the love they try to offer. And often times, the inaccurate image of how I think they are going to respond to me choosing to be vulnerable with them, prevents me from letting people into the messy bits that make up Amber…
But what I’m learning is that being vulnerable, and letting people into the mess brings immense healing and with immense healing comes great freedom.
Various things happened over December and early January that kinda caused a scab to be ripped off an old wound on my heart, that I hadn’t really allowed Jesus to heal. I let him patch it up and just tried to bury this piece of my past, thinking that eventually it would go away. Little did I know I was still carrying around this deep hurt and it was affecting me more greatly than I ever realized or really probably still realize. But in December there was an interaction that started to open this up and in January there was a second endeavor that opened up the wound the rest of the way.
So as all of this was unfolding, I couldn’t really take it all in. I couldn’t process what was going on, so I couldn’t talk about it either… which was challenging because I tend to be more of an external processor. Anyway, over the course of the month of January, I slowly began to wrap my mind around things (I spent a lot of time alone and it was actually way better than i ever could have imagined but that’s a story for another day) and was ready to talk about it. As I detailed the happenings in my heart to the women in my life I was shocked by their response.
I was shocked because I was afraid these women were going to judge me. I was filled with shame. I was filled with fear, fear that these women wouldn’t love me anymore. Fear that these women wouldn’t want me in their life anymore. I had an image in my head of what their response would be like. A very inaccurate image, might I add.
However, as I revealed my heart, my wounds, my hurt, to each of these women, I was met with mercy, forgiveness, love, patience, compassion. I encountered women who helped me work through the messiness and see the good already coming from the hurt of ripping off the scab. I was with women who heard me and responded by turning to the Father, by praying with me and for me.
I think the hardest people to tell were the women in my small group. We meet approximately every other week. We share about the good and bad in our lives. We share about where we’re at with prayer. We’re all in a similar place of transition into real adult life. But if I told them I would have to keep seeing them. These are women that I see with just the 6 of us every other week, but many times I see them in between then too. And letting them into that mess was a scary moment.
But there is grace. There is always grace. And that grace, that grace is always always always enough.
These women who I shared my heart with felt my pain with me. Called out lies I was believing. Prayed with me. Listened to me. And loved me. And have continued to love me after the moment of vulnerability. They have rejoiced with me and loved me as I am, with all the mess that I come with. And it has freed me so much.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.”
When we choose to be vulnerable with the people in our lives it frees us to receive the love we so deeply desire. It frees us to discover our hearts more. It opens us up to a world of possibilities because it teaches us to start to see ourselves for who we are. It helps us to see our weakness, to see what holds us back. It gives us support. It gives us accountability. Vulnerability allows us to receive love unconditionally. It says here I am, as I am – with all the messy bits that have shaped me into who I am and I trust you enough that I want to allow you into the mess, to share the messy bits of life with me.
So Jesus is teaching me a lot and has been teaching me a lot. He’s been showing me that He works in the most mysterious of ways. He can use any situation, any decision and bring good out of it. He is revealing to me more of the depth of his love for his children, for me. He’s teaching me evermore of his patience and revealing to me his great gentleness. And, ever so slowly, he’s allowing me to open my heart to being loved as my authentic self. It’s hard. It’s scary. It hurts. But it’s worth it.