The words in the title for this post are the words that scare me the most.
Like terrify me. These are the words that make me want to straight up crap my pants.
They are also the reason I can even write that. The reason I can tell you what scares me, what terrifies me. I don’t have vulnerability down. I wish I did. Most days, I am faced with a situation and a choice.
A choice to jump off the boat and hope that someone will pull me out of the water or a choice to stay on the boat. The boat is comfortable. It’s not scary. The comfort on the other hand envelops me like a blanket and it is the very thing that is slowly killing me.
You see the comfort is staying hidden. There is comfort in not being vulnerable. We can sit in the dark and we can hide from the truth and from others. However this breeds isolation just like germs breed in moist places like a basement so does a lack of vulnerability breed loneliness. It breeds isolation. It tells you that you are alone and it wants you so sit in that belief. It wants you to sit with all your stories, and your brokenness and even your lies right there.
It locks you up in a invisible cell. You see people and you talk to them but you never go below the surface. Your fear keeps you locked up and so you feel alone. Because you are alone you have never shared your life and your story and your struggle. It’s scary because this not telling our story, this not being authentic is almost as powerful as being authentic. It binds you and isolates you. It tells you that you are alone, that no one understands. It hurts you.
The only thing that can break these bonds that bind you is openness, honesty. Being authentic, being vulnerable. Those things don’t come in a sudden bolt of lightning. They come when you dip your toes into the river to test the water and then dive right in.
It has been an insane year of me trying to be vulnerable. Of me willing to jump off the ship, to leave behind my cell. It scared me in the begining. It still does but I discovered that when I opened my mouth to share I expected hurt. I expected people to push me away but instead all I heard was “Me too. I would never have known.”
Simple words and somehow these words provided healing and solace for hurts I didn’t even know I had. The same hurts that had been eating away inside me. I still know when I am being vulnerable. It’s not completely natural, not yet. But I share because I know that I am not alone and because I never want another person to feel alone. I had thought that all of my brokenness and hurt was somehow going to make me a bad counselor. That it was going to mean that I could not handle anymore hurt in my life. The opposite is true I have learned that I am strong. I am resilient. More resilient than I could ever have known and my wounds are what I use to heal. My own wounds enable me to love and serve better than anything else. I will not be a good counselor, freind or student despite my wounds; I am those things because of them. They have made me who I am and somehow even though they hurt; they have made me a better person and for that I am incredibly grateful.