I really enjoy this blog and as I have set in my monthly goals, I really want to participate in the Faith Jam more. When I popped over there to see the topic for the week, I was floored when I saw the word, "Vulnerable." You see, I have been on this journey. Toward the end of the year, I "happened" upon this video by Brené Brown. This has launched a revolution of sorts in my mind and hopefully in my life. I have found myself trying to absorb from Ms. Brown's teachings as much information as I can. I even chose my one word based on this new way of thinking. I've simply tried to open my mind to what God wants to teach me about AUTHENTICITY. I did choose a Bible verse for the word (Psalm 51:6) and made it into a bookmark...see below:
this virtual book club, reading Brené Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection. Every single word of this book is twisting me (in a good way). I go through the day really trying to absorb and assimilate this information. How many things are different in our lives because of our shame? We are so stinking scared to be our real, true self....we walk around hiding our true self. It is all because of shame. We are afraid of being vulnerable. We push the shame down, convinced there is something inherently wrong with us and that we are the only ones. Ms. Brown is showing me, through her research, that we all carry shame. I'm starting to believe it.
So I was talking to God about this. (Sometimes we have long conversations in the car.) God brought to mind how I used to lie....a lot. Looking back on it, some of those lies were outright ridiculous, far-fetched.... But I was desperately trying to hide the real me. I think I wanted attention. Deep down, I wanted love and belonging. But the lies I made up to hide the real me....were kinda out there. Sometimes they'd freak some people out. I also kinda think a lot of the folks I lied to knew I was lying. Ironically, I was trying to hide some real stuff that would have probably gotten the "attention" I think I was after. But that's not safe. Some friends did reject me. But you know, deep down, that was me trying to realize my fear...I was afraid they'd reject me, so I would push them until they did....but it was all okay since it wasn't the REAL me they were rejecting. Of course, this was done subconsciously. And this is me psychoanalyzing myself years later.
As I am sorting this out, talking with God, in the car...it hits me. I was making up another story. I didn't want to own my own story. My story has to do with growing up in poverty and feeling basically invisible. My story includes a separation from my husband where I really lost myself, truly believing I was unworthy of him and my kids. My story includes addiction. My story includes emotional binge eating. My story includes walling myself off from people. My story includes working four jobs while my husband is out of work. My story includes a period of time when we got food stamps. My story includes a come and go relationship with my God. MY story includes a girl telling outrageous lies to LOTS of people. MY STORY is packed full of shame. As I am making this realization, I tear up....I don't want MY STORY. I want ANYONE else's....no matter how jacked up it is....I'll take ANYONE else's.... That is the power of shame. But here's the thing...the scary, scary thing....to heal shame, we make ourselves vulnerable.
In the book I'm reading, here is one of the most powerful quotes (although, the entire book could be highlighted....at least for me):
Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy--the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.As a person of faith, I have an added benefit of being able to be vulnerable with my God first. And it is different....even if God already knows, it is way different when I choose to be vulnerable with him. I don't think that is enough. I think we are gifts to each other on this earth, meant to share our pain and healing with....to grow and have abundance in our lives. But we can practice with God first, and fall on him if our friends can't handle the realness...and God will hug us up, dust us off, and send us out to be vulnerable again. That's how healing can happen.