Thursday, January 7, 2010

Authentic but not Vulnerable

If there’s one thing I’m not scared to do on this here blog, it’s keep it real. Because, let’s be honest, I’ve already shown y’all my dust bunnies and the 6 month old Christmas tree in the backyard (and look! now there’s a new one to replace it - I wonder how long it will stay there?)

Through the years, the Lord has taught me a lot about the importance of authenticity. I’ve learned this lesson many times over, both through living in authentic community with other believers, and by developing a vibrant and authentic walk with my Savior.

Although it has taken time, I’ve come to feel pretty secure in my quirks (so what if y’all called me freaks and nutty for loving cheese so much?) and I don’t honestly care all that much about having a clean and perfectly organized house (not to say that area of my life couldn’t use a little work). And we all know I’m not a perfect Christian right? I admit pretty quickly how frustrated I get, how tired I am . . . Not to mention the lack of perfection (or even adequacy) in the area of self-discipline: whether it’s in eating right, exercising, cleaning, having a quiet time. . .

This year, I (fearfully) feel the Lord leading me to a whole new level of authenticity in my relationships: with Him, with Adam, with friends, with my ministry partners, and even with the kiddos. The problem is that this new level? There’s a strong possibility it involves vulnerability. And I don’t really like being vulnerable. I prefer safety, avoiding hurt, and staying protected. I mean, I don’t even like having my feet un-tucked at night because they feel so vulnerable (but that’s a whole other post for some day when I’m feeling less serious and far braver).

The truth is that there are some things about me that y’all might not like. And those are things I prefer to keep closely guarded. Like the anxiety that envelops me when I look at other moms and feel panicked that they have it all together and I’m totally unfit to parent Jayci, let alone take in other kids. Or the jealous knot in my stomach when my friends have cuter clothes, more money to spend on boots, better hair, or a more bikini-ready body than me (because let’s face it, it’s a really good thing I still have a few months until I have to cross that bridge).

I’ve mentioned before that I often struggle with comparing myself to others. What I haven’t said is just how crippling that comparison can be for me. It’s made me do some stupid things. Like not eating for a while. Or exercising too much. Or cheating to get ahead. Or lying to make myself look better. Things I’m absolutely not proud of, but only wish I could say I would never get sucked into doing again.

Just this past week, I was ready to throw in the towel, bring the babies (and especially the teenager) home, and try to ignore the fact that they are probably cold and most likely wearing the same clothes they wore yesterday. Or that they have rats in their bathroom, and might not eat dinner tonight.

I feel a little bit like I just exposed my soft underbelly to y’all, leaving myself open to hurt and judgment (two of my least favorite things ever). But I guess that’s what it means to be vulnerable: putting myself out there and trusting that Jesus has made me ENOUGH. That He knew me before He laid the foundations of the World. That He will equip me, fill me, encourage me, and provide for me.

Oh and get excited because I have got some sweet stories of provision for y’all. Trust me; you’re going to be blown away. Let’s just say that, although I’m not sure when we stopped expecting God to show up on our behalf; I, for one, don’t plan on making that mistake again.

14 comments:

  1. That word - AUTHENTICITY is haunting to me. I know God wants me to be authentic for Him. I am trying to do that -- however, lately I'm finding as a PW I can't be as authentic as I'd like. I feel like I have to put on a smile and walk into church and not be authentically hurt by something I've heard someone say about my husband (rumors or otherwise). Sometimes I feel like a politician's wife.....UGGGHHHH! SO all that to say -- that I struggle with the line. What is authentic and yet not going to hurt our ministry here......
    ALSO - wanted to let you know that I am hosting a giveaway on my blog that you might like to enter -- a cute dress for your little one maybe. =)
    in HIM -
    Mindy

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  2. If it's any comfort, Christmas trees make great natural habitats for birds and rabbit and snake...on second thought, maybe you should get rid of them!!! :-)

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  3. Authenticity is very liberating - It keeps you from wasting so much energy on creating an alternate illusion.

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  4. Thank you for being so vulnerable with us. And I can certainly relate to you in the of comparison. Something I have to work on daily!!

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  5. You are always so authentic and it's a very ENDEARING character trait : ) We all feel exactly the same way as you do at times and it's so liberating sometimes just to know we're not alone in our imperfections. We all need Jesus just as much as the other. And the best thing about Jesus is that He was unapologetically authentic, too!!

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  6. I've found that when I'm my most vulnerable and my most authentic, I'm the most attractive. I don't mean "attractive" as in "cute," but I mean that I attract people to me who say, "Wow. I'm so glad you shared that because I thought it was just me."

    One of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes about friendship is "What? You, too? I thought I was the only one."

    I want my vulnerability not to just be an exposure of my faults but to be the first step towards accountability and growth....in community with those who love and accept me.

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  7. I agree with Whimzie- honesty and authenticity open up pathways to deeper relationships. I work hard at moving beyond small talk to real, honest to goodness conversations. Maybe that's one reason I've loved working with homeless people. Their needs are so immediate that we skip right past the small stuff to the big things that ache for healing. I have to work to remember that *I* need to show that same level of authenticity with my friends and loved ones or I'll get burnt out, listening all the time and never letting myself be ministered to. It's a fine line!

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  8. I think your authenticity is beautiful and invigorating! I love it! Thank you so much for being real.

    I am glad I got to read the word underbelly today in perfect context. That is a RARE treat!

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  9. I've just spent a long time catching up with many of your blog entries. I SO love what y'all are doing. Only wish I could have caught up & learned more at the market!

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  10. Authentic. It's such a wonderful word. Full of meaning on so many levels. Don't feel you're the only one who struggles with comparing yourself to others~boy have I struggled with that! Other's homes is where I really have to watch myself.
    I've always enjoyed reading here because of your authenticity!
    I think the Lord is always calling us to be vulnerable with our loved ones and those we come in contact with in ways that glorify Him. Not foolishly but with an open heart and willingness to take risks for Him.

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  11. aww! thank you so much for your sweet comment on my blog! How did you find me? clickinmoms?

    I like your blog as well and will be adding it to my google reader! Thanks for being a bold voice for God!

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  12. Girl-you are amazing! I love your honesty....and the way you share your beliefs with such strength and conviction...and humor!

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  13. So happy to have found your blog through CM. Great post!

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