Last weekend I went to the Women’s Retreat through my church where the theme of the weekend was “We Belong Together.” I had never been on a church retreat as an adult and was dreading it the whole week leading up to it. I don’t do these sorts of things, a bunch of women all in one place, let alone women I don’t know.
How to Be Vulnerable in Relationships
I tend to be more introverted so being around a lot of people for two days straight is overwhelming for me. More so, being on a Women’s Retreat where we are supposed to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and reveal what God is convicting us of is even harder.
I have learned to cope with my introvertedness in these situations because it’s not that I am shy or incapable of conversation, it’s that it just takes a lot more energy to be around people constantly. I can struggle with envy towards the more extroverted people who make it seem so simple to make friends and just speak about what is on their heart.
Fear of Vulnerability
Going into this weekend, whether I knew it before or not, God had been revealing to me that the only thing holding me back from “making friends” is that I HATE BEING VULNERABLE. I have this huge fear of vulnerability because it is a place of uncertainty that I can’t control. How do I know that if I open up the person won’t use it against me?
Like many of you, I have been hurt by people in the past. I’ve had “friends” who have backstabbed me and treated me horribly. While I most likely played a part in the degradation of those relationships, my heart was blocked from letting anyone in or revealing who I am in fear of being hurt all over again. The pain of losing a close friend sucks so instead I just avoided building these relationships at all costs.
Throughout the weekend, many women were freely sharing their testimonies and struggle with sin. No one in the room judged these women and they were met with love and grace in their vulnerability as the rest of the women displayed God’s redeeming love. We aren’t all separate in our brokenness, rather when we admit to our brokenness we find that we are together and can build each other back up.
Sadly, this whole weekend the last thing I wanted to do was pray. In my prideful nature, I didn’t even want to let God seep into my heart knowing he would have me start to open up to other people (eye roll).
On the final day, there was a time when the women were sharing their stories of what God had been working on in their hearts and how this weekend had helped them propel forward in the freedom God provides. This morning was full of tears because it was revealing how in our weakness (through vulnerability), God is made strong.
Courage and Vulnerability
Of course, my 5-year old self is like “No. No. God don’t make me do this, don’t make me think about why I am pouting in the corner”. As the Holy Spirit usually does, I finally broke down in prayer. At that moment, the Holy Spirit was revealing the link between courage and vulnerability. Being courageous is about being vulnerable, sharing who you are with all.
So I went up in front of everyone and cried while I apologized to the women in the room for my unfairness because I had preconceived notions that they were judgmental and would not accept me. I also realized my own selfishness because I was not allowing those women to speak into my life or allowing God to use me in relating to others so I can speak into their lives.
Freedom in Vulnerability
For so long the Devil has told me that I don’t belong, that no one will love me and they will just hurt me. But this weekend taught me that I DO BELONG. We belong together through brokenness and through joy and fulfillment of God’s will.
For a lot of us being vulnerable is a difficult task but there is so much freedom in vulnerability when we let others into our story. Some people may hurt us or try to use our vulnerability against us, but God will always be there to catch us when that happens.
When our foundation is rooted in Him, nothing can stand against us. He is our ONE COMFORT.
Here are some encouraging bible verses:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13.
For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God. 2 Corinthians 13:4.