Have you ever had that horrible, awful dream where you are on stage or standing in the middle of a room and you look down and realize, "Dear God, help me. I forgot to put clothes on"? I liken my current state of existence like that dream. We have recently made a lot of declaration of dreams and calling, and all the things we are going to change. I have taken on new leadership responsibility and expectations. Top it all off with not knowing how 2017 will turn out other than things are going to change in a big way. The pressure's on.
And as excited as I was a few months back whenever we sat in the stillness and chatted quietly of all the dreams, hopes, and what-ifs...as it has been taken from the quiet of our home and hearts and made public for all the world to see, the glaring feeling now is that of being fully exposed.
Yeah, I know. I'm weird and too melancholy. And I wish I could say I feel all giddy, excited. I mean, I am excited. But it's like a reserved, quiet excitement. As we turn to a new year, I wish I could say I am popping confetti, dancing with celebration of dreams yet to come true in 2017. BUT, alas, I'm not.
I felt panicked on December 31 and I secretly wished I could stop and freeze time. And sometimes I want to run the opposite direction, and let God know He messed up big time when He called this kid to do these things. I'm just being real, here.
So, yes, I wish my melancholy self could respond differently and don't get me wrong I try. But I'm weak. Weak when it comes to change. Weak when it means being vulnerable to failure. Weak when others might get to see that potential failure. Weak in worry, concern, or fear. Weak because I am angry that I am weak. And, yet, I read this passage this last week.
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
And I was reminded of this thought,
As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything. Ecclesiastes 11:5 ESV
And, I repented for my unbelief and I asked my gracious God to be just that...gracious. Patient with me in my unbelief. Understanding in my reservations. And I call to mind the hope that I have in Him. I will not always know or understand how He will provide or work it out, but He is good and He is working on my behalf and on yours. So, what if the New Year holds complete unknown and scary uncertainty-I know who holds the New Year. (as I say this with a bit of a queasy stomach)
I have learned much about vulnerability in the last 3-4 years. I have come to believe wholly and completely in living with vulnerability. And, while, I focused on living vulnerably in how I express myself, sharing my soul with others, and how I allow myself to invest in community-I am recently discovering there is another level of vulnerability that I have yet to discover. Vulnerability not just in expression, but in action as well.
Stepping out to follow a dream, taking that whisper of a hope in our soul and turning it into a loud shout off the rooftop. That's a vulnerability that I haven't experienced. Taking risks and chances that might turn to failure. Naming a calling that others may not understand. These are it for me. Maybe for you it's doing something you have never done before, dealing with a relationship you have ignored, reaching out to build a friendship, starting a diet, etc. But it's vulnerable and it makes you feel naked for all the world to see.
I love all things stable and safe, but I don't actually want to live my life that way. I want what God wants for me, and I am willing to pursue it wholeheartedly even if it means standing in the arena naked for all to see.
I am reading a book that is challenging me on this right now. It's perfect timing, and it's confirming what God is already teaching me. In Daring Greatly, Brene Brown states this...
"Perfect and bulletproof are seductive but they don't exist in the human experience. We must walk into the arena, whatever it may be-a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation-with courage and the willingness to engage. Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgement and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability."
Weak, yes. But in Christ, weak is strong. Vulnerability may seem weak, but it's boldness, courage, and strength all wrapped up in an unexpected package. And with Christ in me, I know I am not alone. Even if it all goes badly, it's worth it to walk in obedience. And if does all go badly, there are promises of "all things working for good" when we are walking in surrender and obedience.
I guess call me "melancholy weird", but this is where I get excited. Acknowledging my weaknesses, boldly naming them, and then waiting to see how God works in and through them.
I am scared half out of mind of a new year of the unknown. What could happen, what could change? There will be failures and disappointments along the way in 2017. Yet, I know deep in my heart there will also be big displays of God's faithfulness, miraculous provisions along the way, deep abiding joy in doing what I'm called to do, and celebrations of dreams pursued.
Some of you stand back and admire my vulnerability, and yet you sit on the sidelines refusing to participate in what will make you vulnerable. Others are not too concerned with this concept...saying good for you, but not for me. Some of you want to feel empathetic and even maybe feel compassionate towards my fear. Please don't. I don't like my fear, yet I know it's part of living a real life in a real big way-being all in and wholeheartedly committed. And some of you, some of you know exactly what I am talking about and you stand on the precipice, waiting-deciding. Think about it. What if you jumped all in? What if you did all the things you thought you could never do-small and big? What causes you to fear? What quiet hope are you holding onto? What ways is He calling you to step out into the unknown and to brave uncertainty-asking only for dependence and surrender?
Our determination can best be found in Paul's admonishment of "...forgetting (yet valuing) what lies behind and pressing on toward the mark"-running hard and wholeheartedly into the purposes to which God has called me. So, yes, if there is a choice between safe in my comfortable home or walking out into the middle of the arena completely vulnerable. I will take the latter.