Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Power of Vulnerability

Over ten years ago, I sat in a coffee shop with one of my dearest my friends.  We had our yummy coffee drinks in our hands and we just sat down to talk about a million things that only girls can talk about.   We had always shared things that were real, things that we were struggling with and just some plain ol’ silly things too.  All girls need girl time, and she was the one I was spending it with.
However, that day I felt like the biggest fake and phony friend there could be.  You see, I had kept something from my friend, something from my past, that was so painful to me.  I feared she would think less of me if she knew.  For years, I had kept this one and only secret from her.   But from the moment I saw her that day, I knew I was going to share my painful story with her.  I was going to be vulnerable with her, put aside my fear and shame and be completely honest with her.  Why? Because it was time for her to know all of me…to know my whole story.
That morning, in the coffee shop, I bared my soul.  Out of my mouth, poured words of my painful past and all the hurt I had experienced as a young teenager.  For years, I had buried these painful memories, in fear that someone might judge me, or look down upon me, for something that happened to me so long ago.  What I didn’t realize is how much healing could come to me, once I decided to share my story.
My dearest friend sat quietly across the table from me as I poured out my heart.  She listened through my tears, and held my hand as I told her the all the details.  As each word was shared aloud, I knew my friend would keep them safe.  I knew I could trust her with my words.  She had already proven that through our years of friendship, and I will never forget her reaction to my story; it was full of love and support.  She told me how sorry she was that those things had happened to me and in no way did she feel different about me.  Rather, she was so thankful that I had been vulnerable with her and shared those painful memories with her.
That day, as we sat across from each other, our relationship as friends grew exponentially.  I learned that true friendship could handle the real, the raw, and the messy parts of my life.  It was important for my friend to know my whole story and for me to have a safe place to share it.  I also learned that even the yucky parts of my story are still parts of my story and really need to be told.  Maybe not to everyone, but to the ones who know me best, because it is what has shaped me and molded me into the person I am today.  Being vulnerable and sharing really allows us to know each other deeply, but healing can also come from being vulnerable.
Healing also took place in my heart that day.  My friend listened to me and heard all of the pain and hurt that I had endured.  She prayed with me, encouraged me and reassured me of who I am in Christ…that I’m Uniquely His and my God loves me regardless of anything that has happened.  I cherish my friend and I cherish all the years of stories we have shared, regardless of how messy they are.  Because in the end, all we have is our stories and how God has brought us through each one of them.

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