I don’t know about you but I’m not a huge fan of vulnerability. My brother encouraged me to read the book “Daring Greatly” which is all about how to be vulnerable and why it’s important. Don’t ask me why but I’ve started reading it. It’s good but has been very challenging. You might think that because I put it all out here on the blog that I’m a very open person, that couldn’t be further from the truth. This is a very safe place for me, for the most part no one knows me here so it’s way easier to be more open and honest than I am in real life. The author stated something that resonated with me. She stated that vulnerability builds trust. The more you open yourself up and your met with compassion and understanding, trust gets built. I think we’d probably all agree with that. The next thing the author said was that one of the worst betrayals of trust is disengagement. At face value I would have said that was crazy. When you think of someone betraying your trust the top three usually come to mind, cheating, breaking confidence, or lying, not disengaging. The more I read and thought about it the more I realized that this statement was 100% accurate. The author described disengagement as not caring, letting go of the connection, not being willing to devote time and effort into the relationship. Disengagement corrodes trust. I looked up the word corrode hoping it didn’t mean what I thought it did, unfortunately it meant exactly what I thought. Corrode-to destroy or weaken something gradually. Where cheating, breaking confidence , or lying might be the final blow to a relationship, I believe that it probably started with the slow steady drain of disengagement. I don’t know about you but that terrifies me. In my relationships am I disengaged? Because it’s easier and safer to not be vulnerable, am I slowly destroying my relationships? I’ve always considered myself a good friend, mom, daughter, sister, wife, because I’ve never done any of the big three, but yet have I truly engaged?
I think one of the most important ways to engage is by hearing. Not listening, but hearing. Listening is merely the ability to take in noise. Hearing requires engaging your heart and emotions. I know that personally this means a lot to me. I tell me family and friends all the time, “Please hear my heart. Not just the words coming out of my mouth”. It’s me opening the door to vulnerability and hoping that I’ll be welcomed and heard. Hoping that I’ll be understood, not criticized or condemned, but loved and accepted. Now there are times that I need to be corrected and set straight, but once the base has been established that I’m truly loved and accepted then the corrections are easier to accept. How quickly we jump to criticizing and condemning before we even stop to hear what the other person is trying to saying.
Have you noticed how easy it is to fully engage in good news? Someone gets a promotion, gets married, has a baby, all these things we can jump in with both feet and get emotionally involved and share in their joy. Yet when someone is struggling, they just got diagnosed with cancer, lost a loved one, or has a child rebelling, we shut down. In fact, if we were honest, I think we’d all run the opposite direction. Stepping into someone’s pain, and mess is uncomfortable. As Christian’s I think that we’ve failed miserably at this. We’re supposed to be the ones that the broken and hurting can run to. They open up and are vulnerable with their hurts and pains and we say things like, “Don’t worry about anything, the joy of the Lord is your strength, have faith.” Really? Was that Christ’s response? He wept when Lazarus died, knowing that He would be alive again. He entered into their grief and welcomed their vulnerability. He didn’t shame them, “He groaned in the spirit and was troubled,”* and He wept. The best thing we can do when someone is vulnerable with us is step into the door they opened and “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those weep.” Romans 12:15
If being “heard” is so important to me, shouldn’t I be sure to hear those who are willing to share themselves with me? To set aside my phone, and look at them so they know they have my heart not just my ears? To fully engage with my emotions no matter how messy and exhausting that can be? Engaging is a choice, but so is disengagement. If I choose to put up my wall and rely on auto pilot because it’s easier, I’m choosing myself over my loved ones. If I would rather turn on the TV because I’m exhausted and I’d rather not discuss the day, I’ve chosen to distance myself. If when my daughter cries because she misses her brother, and instead of joining her in her pain I disengage because I’m tired of missing him, what message am I sending her?
Look at the world around us. Do you think this is a major problem in our society? Everyone is screaming and yelling but no one is actually hearing anything. This needs to start with us. We need to stop being “too busy” and hear what’s being said. We need to be vulnerable enough to be willing to hear what are loved ones are trying to say. We need to be vulnerable enough to be willing to share our heart in response. If we don’t we’re going to feel very lonely. Lonely people act out, trying to find out if anyone cares, and when they are met with indifference they either get louder, or close themselves away. I challenge each of us to reach out to someone you love today and truly step into their lives and let them in yours. Stop. Hear. Engage.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulations, that we may comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
As always I’d love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment below or e-mail me