Vulnerable: to wound.
one of the reasons i set out to start a website that featured positivity from around the web on a single platform- INSPO- was to include my own positivity within that platform. to rally together with other women and use our voices together instead of each in our own places. and to draw readers to places they’d never been and voices they’d never heard- increasing perspectives and traffic all at the same time. the vision of recycling positivity has been at the forefront of my mind and so easy at the tips of my fingers. i LOVE finding beautiful and brave words put out there by other women, or women featured in stories who are out there doing something or doing seemingly nothing with love & conviction, and i LOVE LOVE LOVE highlighting it. somewhere along the way over these last several months, though, my own voice seems to have gone quiet. a lack of words, a lack of time, a lack of prioritizing the gift that writing has become to me. and as i finally pencil it in the schedule, i find myself writing about nothing to write about.
that’s what we do though, isn’t it? we get so into the routine of what’s easiest and cleanest and forget to do the hard stuff along the way. it doesn’t tap into my soul to feature other women, that’s purely brain power and excitement and just easy to muster. and i can also directly draw the line where i stopped sharing, to the point that i stopped talking about my dreams and visions with other women. and just began doing it on my own. choosing to write in a juice shop on my own as opposed to getting together with girlfriends for the immeasurable encouragement and inspiration that always comes along with it. and this reminds me once again how much we are created to be people in relationships.
i meet every friday with a group of very strong, very mature, very diverse women. we meet at a cozy flat in london & sip on espresso, tea and nibble on trail mix and usually a sweet pastry. we have been working our way through a bible study focused in the Thesselonians. we talk about personal struggles and victories, the ways that the Spirit strikes each of us as we go about studying His word, and last week, we talked about vulnerability. did you know that the Latin word for vulnerable is actually “to wound.”
Origin of VULNERABLE
now there’s a lot out there on vulnerability right now. including many words i’ve put out there. it’s a buzz word and it’s an excellent one. but to wound? that’s new to me. and it really explains why we shy away from it. even when we think we are being vulnerable, are we really? maybe. but i’m not. being open to being wounded means that you’re not just saying what’s on your heart or on your mind or even in your story. being open to being wounded means that you also are allowing others to speak into those places. go one step further than just hearing them, but maybe even offering a “word” into them or feedback. and then allowing that word or feedback all the way in. into our hearts, our personalities, our art.
i struggled through eating disorders for several years in my late teens and early twenty’s. and i write that like it was so easy. it wasn’t. it isn’t. but part of my healing process was the communication of it in the years after. even after symptoms were gone for me, i still lived in this fear of falling back into them. scared of my own thoughts and so demanding on how my mind should be working. i describe it to being in bondage of being in bondage. and i can pinpoint 3 massive points of healing for me that came directly after sharing words on my personal struggle.
the first time, i was living in florida and i stepped into the leadership role of a small group in our small church plant. that seems to happen when you are in a small church plant. i had 4 or 5 women in our group and i clumsily took the reigns and sorta somehow mentioned in one of our more intimate moments together that sometimes, every once in awhile, food was kind of a little bit of a stronghold for me. and i felt so misunderstood and i heard crickets as clearly no one else in that group had a struggle that looked anything else like that. but what it did between me & Jesus? it submitted my issue to Him. just kind of a little bit. and i have a vision of it becoming more of a spiritual issue than a health issue in my understanding and in my healing process.
next? i did it in front of 200 women at a bible study group at a church in Wheaton, a tidy suburb of Chicago. with a shaky voice, i declared my personal victory over “food-related strongholds” that used to plague me. used to. i celebrated that God can use things for good and that Satan must be pissed that instead of living in shame, i was using my voice and praying encouragement on others to do the same. and there was some more victory. one was that i owned it as part of God’s story in my life in front of an uncomfortable amount of women and it also helped me see that i still had work to do. giving my speech in a way that was supposed to resemble my life- together, ok now, thought-out. not open to the next steps of talking more about it or allowing others fully into that part of my world.
most recently though? i was leading the current group i am a part of now in london. powerful, wise, culturally diverse and (at first) intimidating women through a study on arising as lionesses. and the first day where we usually get to do small talk and ice breaker introductions, i felt God telling me that i needed to go deep and get messy fast. argh. i needed to clear the way for others to cry and share and not have it all together and certainly not smile through their introductions. and i used messy words and with a shaky voice i claimed my past story and my current struggles of still not being able to let go. questioning total healing, victim to my own fear of being victim. and guess what? that road was paved for others to go down as well and it was so rich. but more importantly, God checked a huge item off of my list of obedience to Him and letting go of the darkness that i somehow was still holding on to. and i have felt healing in places that i did not even think were in reach for my life here on earth. calmness in moments that i assumed would forever be a “thorn in my side.” and in this season, He is also revealing Himself as “healer” to my growing and changing heart.
after each moment of these healing moments of SHARING, i can remember when a sister stepped in with a response that made me feel angry and misunderstood. in fact, it just happened a few weeks ago. and i am challenged to not just write those comments off, like i tend to do. i’m wondering what it looks like to allow them in to wound me in a good way. penetrate my heart deeper, challenge my pride more, move me to action in sharing with others and entertaining the conversation after that can feel infuriating.
allowing God to do the refining, not the sister. the sister IS on my side. we ARE on one another’s sides. the misunderstood/uncomfortable/judged/comparison feelings? those aren’t from our sister. they are from our enemy and our own self-doubt that He so cleverly hides behind. and i dare say that we miss the whole idea of vulnerability when we stop at just saying the words and not allowing what comes next. closing back up or even sharing and then not bringing it up again because we don’t want to seem annoying or overeager or like that’s all we ever talk about. having it together this time because last time i did not…
is there anything you’re chewing on? a career thing or a parenting decision or strategy or a stronghold or just issues that are heavy or light on our hearts… what does it look like to be open to being wounded? scary and unnecessary, i can answer that one. but bringing it out of the darkness and into the light is how we were meant to live. loving one another by sharing our greatest gifts with one another and fully sharing, at that. loving our God by honoring His stirrings and story in our lives.
my 2 daughters are the very best of friends. they love the same things, have an understanding one another that i am not in on, and laugh & argue like, well, sisters. but they are very different from one another in 1 regard- the way they channel their emotions. my eldest daughter, fallon, keeps her cards close to her chest. she feels DEEPLY and she chews on it until she’s ready to spill out in tears and bedside wails. and her younger sister, savvy? girlfriend puts it all out there. what she feels as she feels it. it’s a beautiful difference and i pray they learn the power of each form of processing emotions from one another. my eldest daughter was going to share a prayer request for the evening and she didn’t want to say it. she was worried that it wouldn’t be answered and that would make her sad. so we dug and she shared and we prayed for her little buddy to come to church. and then the next night and then the next night. and this morning? i got the text that her little buddy’s family would be IN ATTENDANCE to our church halloween event (the Light Party) this weekend.
when we open ourselves to wounding and He does things- sometimes protecting from the wound in the first place and sometimes intimately tending to the hurt.