Wrestling With God

Posted by on January 29, 2014 in God-sized dreams, Growth | 22 comments

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Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, by Alexander Louis Leloir, 1865

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, by Alexander Louis Leloir, 1865

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.

 

Sharing this post in community with Jennifer and Emily

 

 

 

 

  • http://redemptionsbeauty.com/ Shelly Miller

    Yes, vulnerability is the shame breaker. Saying the darkness out loud to someone or many, releases the death grip and helps us fly into freedom, becoming the beautiful butterfly he created us to be in the world. You are in a good place Kris, press into it and breathe deeply friend.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Thanks Shelly. I’m leaning in hard. It’s uncomfortable in all the right ways…. So thankful for your encouragement and friendship.

  • http://www.dianewbailey.net/ Diane Bailey

    “To be vulnerable is to release the fear and anxiety over how my actions and words will be perceived” I wrestle with this each and everyday! This year my word was overcome. God placed it in my heart to overcome the opinion of others and focus on His opinion of me. Just today I messed that up. But, all I can do is face the rest of the day snuggled next to him. We are in a safe place, Kris!

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      We are in a safe place. Praying for you, Diane. God has us. We can rest in that.

  • Holly Solomon Barrett

    Christ always shows up…always! Thanks for encouraging us to be vulnerable, Kris. So glad to be in a community where we can share from our hearts and know that we are not alone.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Me too, Holly. So grateful for this community. It is a gift.

  • Amy Hunt

    YES! Friend, my word is “loose” and yours is “release” and we so often are walking very, very similar paths. You know you wrote my heart out right here. To live a David kind of heart . . . to long for what HE wants over what we want . . . to way yes and to obey rather than choose me and comfort . . . this is worship, when we do it any way. . . and when we’re honest about how we feel in the process. Amen, sister.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Thanks, Amy. Your friendship and encouragement has made the journey that much sweeter. Grateful to walk beside you–ever grateful.

  • http://jasonandkelliwoodford.blogspot.com/ kelli woodford

    Isn’t it funny how often we equate vulnerability with weakness? I’m learning about that, too, Kris. And I’m taking great pains to synthesize it with BRAVE instead.

    Like you – here. Brave. Beautiful. YES.

    … Sometimes it’s so much easier to see on others. :)

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Ahh, brave, Yes, I like that word, Kelli. I’m rooting around in my heart, trying to get to the core of this misconception about vulnerability…Thankful for you, and glad I’m not alone. ((hugs))

  • MsLorretty

    Yield is my word and if that doesn’t leave your stomach a bit queasy, I don’t know what will. Learning to yield, how and to whom… and when…. with humility and authenticity. I don’t want to miss it. Not the mark nor the reward. Bless you for keeping the door open.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Yeah, I’m sure glad my word isn’t yield *wink* I’m with you. I don’t want to miss any of it. I’m pretty sure, if we stick by His side, we won’t miss a thing. Holding on with you.

  • http://www.christiepurifoy.com/ Christie Purifoy

    You capture so well the heaviness and the joy. It’s both. His burden is light, but his hand on us is a weight, and, like you, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      I am glad you understand, Christie. it’s such a comfort to know others “get it”. Much love, friend.

  • Melissa Norman

    This post is AMAZING. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for being so very transparent. God used this in a BIG way in my own heart. Words are not enough…..

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      I am so grateful Melissa. That is God. So thankful this encouraged you.

  • http://fruitinseason.blogspot.com Christine- Fruit in Season

    “When I am overly concerned about covering myself, I inevitably cover Him as well.” Such a beautiful phrase. It reminds me of Merton, who said,
    “Many poets are not poets for the same reason that many religious men are not saints: they never succeed in being themselves. They never get around to being the particular poet or the particular monk they are intended to be by God. They never become the man or the artist who is called for by all the circumstances of their individual lives.”
    We are most fully God’s when we learn to be fully {and vulnerably} our uncovered selves. Thank you for this wonderful post. <3

  • ontiptoe

    Lovely

  • Ann Holmes

    O, wow!! Just WOW! Thanks!

  • http://loriharris.me/ Lori Harris

    Oh, how I love that book! I’ve read it twice and both times, I’ve felt God whisper to me, “Come on, lay it down and let it die.” And you know what, I feel most alive in this dying. Love your heart, friend. It’s beautiful.

  • Kelly Greer

    Kris…I have been wrestling with some of what you expressed here as well. I will pray for you to release unto God his plans for you, and for your continued obedience to His plans.. Can I ask you to pray for me too? Please pray that I would give…of myself..to others…the comfort and hope he has given me in whatever way He asks me to. He meets us here.
    Hugs,
    Kelly

  • bluecottonmemory

    Vulnerability reminds me of a wound being lanced – letting the poisons out – in order to heal – but the bad stuff has to come out! Being vulnerable where God wants you to be vulnerable does that. I love this line: “When I am overly concerned about covering myself, I inevitably cover Him as well” -when we worry about hurting ourselves and step back, we don’t let Him do what He does best – which is take care of us.
    I see God signed you up for a class this year, too:) He enrolled me in a Communication Refinement class:) I love how he teaches us one-on-one – and has all these activities planned so we get down what He wants us to learn!
    Wishing you blessing – and mastery in your class!