I've been wanting to share thoughts here for months, but the time never seems right and the thoughts never quite come together. So naturally, it's 12:25 AM when I'm tired, crying, and in under the covers that the tangents all seem to jive.

For the past [long] while, I've been pondering the idea of vulnerability. Buzzword though it may be, it has brought out a lot in me on my journey to understanding who I was made to be and how I was made to relate with others.

I find it such an interesting concept. As a friend of mine put it, vulnerability is putting our own reputations at risk of being jeopardized. Essentially, tearing down the walls we build for ourselves of how we want to be seen. And while the idea of vulnerability is kind of nice, kind of romantic, kind of #authentic, it kind of sucks.

I mean, really. I'll go first in the name of vulnerability.

There is something fierce in the core of my being that hates it. There's a hard part of me that despises itself when I allow my weakness, my sinfulness, my inadequacy, my insecurity to be seen.

It must be the part of me that is so dead set on being strong and capable. 

It must also be the part of me that knows how weak I am and how much I wish I could deny it.

I think the deal with vulnerability is that it cuts to the heart of our deepest desires-- to be fully seen, fully known, and still fully loved. And when we allow ourselves to be seen and known, we are also throwing ourselves into the possibility of being misunderstood. You know how it goes. You share, maybe overshare-- essentially you share something deeper than what you had for lunch with someone who you believe to be worthy of your trust. And one way or another, you find yourself backpedaling because not only did you give of yourself, but your openness was not stewarded well and suddenly you feel misunderstood, weak and alone.

I have come to see that that often this triggers self-protection. It looks like turning into someone we are not and building some major walls. Because to be fully and unflinchingly ourselves, walking in the confidence of Christ-- that is strength. But it never fails to feel the complete opposite: weak and vulnerable.

And as a desire to be strong grows, it brings with it a temptation to become hard and avoid vulnerability at all costs. While the world (and something in me) says to be a BA woman who can do it all, keeping the walls up and my facade in tact, in a contradiction I find truth: that strength is a humble, gentle perseverance that admits "I can't do it all." Strength is 'working with all your heart as to the Lord' but declaring "The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation."

It is a beautiful mystery in which we grow most in our own lack of strength. In our void we find His abundance. In being misunderstood we find that He understands us. In our vulnerability, we remember that He sees us and still loves us completely. 

And I can honestly say that I've experienced few things sweeter than when his personal love and understanding of our complex selves becomes tangible in the void of earthly love and understanding.

It is when we draw from His unending storehouses of strength and love and joy; when we walk by faith in realization of our true reality and stop trying to muster up everything on our own-- then we experience His fullness of life and the joy of depending on a loving Father who will never fail-- and who can and has done it all.