Wrestling With God
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Wrestling With God
Brene Brown wrote an amazing book about vulnerability. In The Gifts of Imperfection she says things like, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change” and “Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.”
When I read these things, I want neither connectivity or creativity. For my whole life, when I read the word “vulnerable” I actually read the word “weakness”. Almost literally, that is the word I see in it’s place. And if I’m honest, I hate weakness. I want to smother weakness and stand triumphantly on top of it’s grave. I suppose, if I am willing to be even more real about it, the word fear could also be pasted in there, be just about right too.
God’s been gentle but firm in revealing my various places of weakness over the last couple of years.
I’m in a season of extreme vulnerability. I’m not sure I need to tell you then, after the above statements, how this makes me feel.
Uncomfortable would be a good word.
I’m so far out of my comfort zone, I can’t even see it anymore. What did that even look like, back where I felt all happy-slappy and confident about everything? I don’t know. I can’t remember.
The thing is, as much as I loathe vulnerability and the risks it requires me to take, I love creativity and connectedness. That stuff is like air to me. I can’t breathe when I’m dry and alone. I need people. I’m an extrovert through and through. (Ironically, most of the people I am closest to are introverts–God has such a sense of humor).
I’m restless for the things of God. I want to do the things He’s calling me to, because I can’t NOT do them. I want nothing more in this one life I’ve been given to serve Christ first. Regardless of the cost, regardless of the difficulty–He is my everything. But this whole aversion to vulnerability is getting in the way.
I’m tripping over myself, trying to get out of the way. I’m terrified that I’ll screw it all up. And that you’ll see my mistakes.
That’s what vulnerability is, right? This willingness to be who you are, whatever that looks like, for anyone and everyone to see.
What I know is that when I am most willing to be vulnerable, Christ always shows up. When I am overly concerned about covering myself, I inevitably cover Him as well. My one word this year is release. I’ve been trying to pretend God’s not really making that my actual theme, but God-help-me, He is.
To be vulnerable is to release the fear and anxiety over how my actions and words will be perceived. It’s a letting go of the need to feel like I can control any of that and just let God do His thing. Being vulnerable for me right now, looks like releasing a workbook I didn’t really want to write, and hosting a Retreat I don’t know how to plan.
Why do any of it then, right? Why not run full-on, back to that comfort zone and snuggle down and rest?
Because I can’t. Because I won’t.
A couple of years ago, my one word was obedience. That year changed me. I’ve learned a few things. In God’s economy, loving Him means obeying Him.
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. John 14:23 Esv
This period of obedience through release unfolds like a wrestling match. I fight to grab hold of God and He pins me with mercy and drips grace down my neck, He holds me to my promises and He relentlessly pursues me for His purposes. He is intent, and I cling with every fiber of my being because I won’t let Him go until He blesses me.
Vulnerability isn’t actually weakness. We are so much stronger when we accept our own vulnerability and live in the confidence of Christ. I can’t trust myself. My motives are rarely pure. But I can trust Christ. I can learn to embrace vulnerability, even as it makes me nauseous, if it means that Christ will be glorified.
I don’t believe obeying God means we have to necessarily love what He’s asking us to do. I don’t think that’s a requirement. I think in our obedience, we learn to accept His call on our lives and because we want to please Him, He helps us to endure the struggle.
I think this kind of hard acceptance, this kind of wrestling faith, is what it means to carry our cross.
I’m bent under the weight of it. I don’t want to be otherwise.