“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” ―Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
Please let me add a bit a clarity before we continue with these Unhindered posts. Because, the road where we begin is ripe for misunderstandings, and I think it is going to get a bit bumpy.
Truthfully? This assignment has me scared to death!
I mean, I admire authenticity, but I was not planning for some of these poems to ever see the light of day!
Let me explain
This series of poems was actually written in my early fifties long after I had returned to the Church. I had been encouraged to write out my own personal testimony.
So, I was trying to “get real” about where I had been emotionally when I left the church, and went prodigal at the age of eighteen.
At the time I left, I felt deeply betrayed by the people who had been my church’s Christian leaders and teachers. I was a very angry young lady, who had decided that leaving “God and The Church,” was my best option.
My intent was that I would never return.
To my way of thinking, LOVE was nothing more than another four-letter-word to “Christians,” and they threw it around to make themselves look and sound good. But in practice? They only acted on it when it was safe and convenient for them to do so.
As a wounded prodigal, I believed God didn’t care about me, my family, or what had happened to us. I didn’t see Him as a “Good Father” who loved me. I saw Him as a distant, uncaring, and uninvolved omnipotent Sovereign–who could have helped us–but had chosen not to.
Therefore, being young and eighteen, God was now irrelevant and my choices were now going to be mine alone.
I was wrong of course…
So not understanding who God really was, I would foolishly choose “the world,” and the world’s way of living life, for ten long and difficult years.
Yet in the end? God’s love did triumph!
I promise anyone who “goes prodigal,” you will come face-to-face with that truth eventually– simply because, “You can run but you cannot hide…”
Not from the Love of a Heavenly Father that is committed to NEVER let you go! And, like I said before, we will get to His love. But first? We’re going to deal transparently with the angry heart that chooses a prodigal road; turning away from God.
Understanding a Prodigal’s Heart
My hope for this new series is two-fold:
First, I hope all the prodigals I feel compelled to chase, will trust and listen.
And second, I hope The Church will realize that most prodigals have not left our churches because of unbelief. Even though I left the church, I never stopped believing in God, or what Jesus did on the cross for my salvation.
I simply stopped trusting Christians.
And as I said earlier, I believed God was indifferent, so I needed to somehow figure out my life for myself.
As far as I was concerned–I was on my own.
Now I know some folks are going to get offended…
And, I am genuinely sorry for that. But God has not called me to, “preach to the choir.” He has called me to vigorously pursue broken and wounded Believers who are out there on their own–outside the Church.
I believe doing that means getting REAL with them about my own prodigal days and ways. And yeah, getting this transparent is risky. So much so, I almost decided not to publish the post, Abandoning Ship.
Mostly because I had a pretty good idea some people were going to literally freak out, and frankly, I just didn’t want to deal with the rejection or the flack!
So I prayed, and prayed some more, hoping secretly that God would just say, “That’s okay Sweetheart, you can leave that one out.
Then I encountered the following:
(Sometimes–God will give you a great big old “road sign” you just can’t mistake… or duck!)
More Light the morning after…
Watching that video left me with little doubt about what God expected me to do. Then, just to make sure, the next morning I picked up my devotional, The Divine Romance, and I read this:
I see your blushing cheeks opened like the halves of a pomegranate, showing through your veil of tender meekness. Song of Songs 4:3
Cheeks speak of emotions. Raw, messy, beautiful, and unguarded, they erase every blurry line of demarcation and reveal the real you. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable and completely genuine means risking rejection. You may not want to be totally open with everyone, but God will bless you with people who make you feel safe.
Embracing vulnerability is one of the most liberating and healing things you can do for yourself. Though it may be hard at first, it will get easier with time. Start by accepting yourself and believing that the One who created your emotions isn’t offended by them. To Him, your emotions are beautiful, even in instances where they reveal wrong mind-sets or wounds. He knows how to get to the root and bring healing. God created you to be your authentic self, comfortable in your own skin and unafraid of being you. ~~~~~~~~~
Father, thank you for creating me. I am unique and wonderful, even with my quirks and imperfections. Today I strip off the mask that shields my emotions, and I invite you into every area of my soul that needs healing. I will embrace vulnerability and discover the joys of being me. –Brian Simmons–June 3, The Divine Romance [available on Amazon]
(Isn’t God’s grace and timing amazing?)
Next post: “Abandoning Ship.” (…Gulp!)
“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” –Brene Brown