I've had a couple of experiences with friends recently, combined with events in my own life, that have had me thinking about the subject of vulnerability and why we so often resist it.
It started with a sweet friend who posted very honestly on her blog that she was having a hard time and needed prayer. Because she shared that she was struggling, I was able to send her a quick email with some encouragement from the Word that had recently ministered to me--something I never would have thought to do if I hadn't been told that she needed it. And the blessing wasn't just hers. When she responded and told me how much my email had meant to her, *I* felt so blessed to have been an instrument of God's grace in her life.
A few days later, I got an email from another friend who opened up about some of her current struggles. I had NO idea she was dealing with some of the difficult things she mentioned! And it got me thinking: How often do we rob ourselves of the blessing of encouragement, and rob others of the blessing of reaching out, by keeping our struggles to ourselves?
This is a theme our pastor has been emphasizing for quite some time. You are NOT ALONE--yet you are so tempted to isolate yourself and believe the lie that you are the only one who struggles. It can be so hard to admit failure, to confess weak faith, to ask for help and prayer. But isn't it typically so fruitful when we do gather up the courage to be raw and honest and real?
In the weeks leading up to Jude's birth, I shared some very honest prayer requests about my fears and hopes. Because I reached out, I received so much grace in the form of dear friends praying for me and encouraging me. And now those friends can rejoice all the more with me when I share how God has answered their prayers and showered me with His mercies!
The other day, I was talking with a friend about some of this, and she related it to a verse I hadn't thought about: "God...gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). My friend said that I was experiencing the truth of this promise--that as I had humbly shared my fears and struggles, I had received much grace.
I guess that is often what prevents us from being vulnerable--pride, the fear of what others will think of us. It's hard to trust others with the deepest parts of ourselves. But these recent experiences have reminded me that when we refuse to share our hearts, we're robbing ourselves of the abundant grace God is waiting to pour out on us...and we're robbing those around us of the opportunity to be vessels of that grace.