Vulnerability used to be hard.
At eleven years old, there was no way on God’s green planet I would let my friends know I wasn’t allowed to watch the show they were all talking about. You’re kiddin’ yourself if you thought anyone knew my only name brand shirts were hand-me-downs. And yes of course I got that joke. Obviously. Why else would I be laughing at the appropriate points for the appropriately allotted amount of time? Ha ha ha. Ha.
And then a few years later, vulnerability got really easy.
Most of my clothes were my own at this point, (who needs name brands when you’ve got TARGET, AM I RIGHT LADIES?) and I probably did actually understand your joke. If not, I would politely smile and say, “I don’t get it. And no, no. I don’t want you to explain it to me because it sounds like it’s gross.”
Look at me I’m so vulnerable about how normal and pleasant my life is.
In reality, it’s easy to be vulnerable about not knowing what you want to do with your life when you’re all of two weeks out of college. You can be vulnerable because you’ll probably figure it out soon. And then you can be vulnerable about how awesome you are.
It’s easy to be vulnerable about feeling insecure or insufficient at a new job you’ve had all of three months. You’ll undoubtedly become very good at it momentarily. And then you can be vulnerable about how humble and hard working you were to get to this place of newfound wisdom.
It’s easy to be vulnerable about being single when you’ve made singleness your choice and stuck to it for all of one year. It’s easy to be vulnerable because God will inevitably put a partner in your life soon. And then you can be vulnerable about how you were so awesome at waiting patiently and seeking after better things.
My heart is so beautiful and pure, is it not?
Vulnerability was easy because I thought I was only giving people an opportunity to judge me. Being judged didn’t really scare me. But, as it turns out, that wasn’t it at all. Vulnerability became hard because I realized in putting it all out there that I was giving people an opportunity to pity me.
No one wants to be pitied.
So you know what’s hard?
It’s hard when someone asks, “So what have you been up to?” and you can’t think of anything. No goals have been met because no goals were ever set. No huge projects are on the horizon. You’re not crawling your way to the top of any mountain because even after three years, you can’t decide on a mountain. Life is good, but it’s pretty predictable. Work and sleep and social activities. I do stuff, ya know? And yet…
It’s hard when someone says, “So how do we usually make *insert very important thing* happen?” and you stare at them blankly because you didn’t know *very important thing* even happened, let alone how. But yes, it turns out this is apart of your job. Right. Okay. You’re going to Google it and quietly ask others and eventually refer the asker to someone else, again. Every job has a learning curve, but you feel like you’ve been blindly stumbling up and down the curve for six months.
It’s hard when someone says, “So have you been dating anyone?” and you mumble out some answer about trust and purpose and what you think dating and marriage should be. It sounded good three years ago when you came to that conclusion and really thought God would follow through in a timely manner. It’s harder to be vulnerable about being single when it’s been three years and God is like “Maybe, maybe not, but either way, I’m not telling you.”
How long can you be single before people start questioning your legitimate sanity? Asking for a friend.
It’s hard to come to the realization that God never promised marriage. He certainly never commanded it. It’s a beautiful thing, sure, but it’s not a given. In the same way, it’s hard to come to the realization that many people live a long life and die, never pursuing a white-hot passion or seeing a dream come to fruition. And these things make vulnerability hard. Because all my vulnerability used to be laced with confidence. I can be vulnerable now because I have full confidence all these embarrassments and flaws will work themselves out in the then.
My life’s passion purpose will surely present itself in a firey blaze of glory soon and then I will go after it unhindered. My understanding of all this job entails will surely come together soon – just one more podcast, one more Bible study, one more seminar, and then I will feel whole and confident in my abilities. My life partner will surely stumble unknowingly into my life soon, battered Bible and stubbled chin in tow, laughing on cue at my hilarious and witty banter, and then we can figure out future steps together.
When these things don’t come to pass in the appropriate time frame, the appropriate “then”, my confidence falters, and I realize you may now have grounds to pity me.
My time frame, the “then”, my assumptions – they kill me.
Turns out, (this one’s a shocker) I don’t like being killed. So I’m learning more and more about the importance of living in the now. Digging into my day to day and squeezing every ounce I can out of it – not necessarily for what it can teach me or ways it can spur me towards a different future, but simply because it is. It deserves having the life squeezed out of it because of the mere fact that it’s life – a beautiful, wild, unpredictable gift to be used and bruised and danced upon. Not tomorrow. Today.
Of course, I hope this season of life does teach me things. I hope I do grow in it. I hope I am being prepared for other things because I ultimately want my life to look like a ragged magical mess of adventuring with Jesus and loving His people in a million different ways.
But right now, I’m here.
I don’t know what my life will look like in a year, let alone ten. I don’t know that I’ll do glorious things. I don’t know that I’ll ever feel fully confident in any job. I don’t know that I won’t be single into the afterlife.
I don’t know.
But what I do know, is that I’ve talked a lot about being vulnerable in the past without truly engaging in it myself. (In fact, I’ve talked about it here. Yes yes, I’m very much into talking about things without actually doing them.) But I don’t want vulnerability that is soaked in unfounded confidence and laced in fear of pity. I want the kind that is soaked with honesty and laced with hope. Hope that I’m not alone in this. Hope that God is who He says He is, that He won’t waste His children or leave us behind. Hope that whatever I had planned in my life is a measly excuse compared to the adventure He has in store.
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20
So in the midst of this hope, in the midst of this vulnerability, and in the name of living in the here, I’m going to go on road trips to nowhere and write longwinded blogposts no one asked for and eat some two dollar tacos with friends literally right now because goshdarnit, life deserves it.