Learning To Be Vulnerable…again
When I first started sharing my testimony, I was terrified. Up until that point, I really hadn’t shared too much of anything that I would have considered very personal with anyone besides my husband. I’m normally a pretty private person, so sharing my testimony was never anything I had even considered doing, until God put it very strongly on my heart to begin doing so in 2010.
I guess many of us (no matter what our testimonies include) can feel a bit scared when making the decision to share parts of ourselves and our past that we may not be so comfortable sharing. It’s scary not knowing how people will react, because you don’t want them to judge you or look at you differently.
The first time I stepped out and shared my testimony, I received so many incredibly encouraging comments. I was amazed and just really blown away. Taking that first step was absolutely huge for me, and I will never forget that time in my life.
I have, of course, received some criticism along the way (from every angle you can think of), but that’s to be expected. I knew it was something that God was wanting me to do, and the peace that surrounded me far outweighed any negative comments or criticism I received. Something changed, though, when that incident on Facebook (click here) happened.
I suddenly started having great difficulty sharing my testimony. It started to feel completely lifeless.
I was sharing my testimony pretty regularly up until this point, but even that started to feel dull. I remember one specific time that I shared my testimony in front of a group of women, and it felt like I was just sharing a story about someone else. My defenses were up, and I didn’t know how to make myself vulnerable anymore. I just didn’t want to.
I started questioning everything.
I got caught up in the whirlwind of lies that the enemy was throwing at me, and I got to the point where I didn’t even want to share my testimony anymore. I was exhausted from fighting that battle for so long, and I was starting to feel defeated and so incredibly alone.
I started having great difficulty writing on my blog. Even when I was able to finally write something, I was too nervous to post it on Facebook. I had always felt such grace in sharing my testimony, but it was suddenly gone.
Fear replaced that grace, and I just became silent.
Due to the nature of what I share on my blog, I have always received many more personal emails than public comments. The emails I receive are normally from women/teenage girls who find my website and realize they are not alone in their struggles.
Suddenly, the emails just became too much. I didn’t know how to answer them anymore, but I couldn’t not answer them. I was often the first person they wrote to, to confess their struggles. (And I know how vulnerable you can feel in waiting for a reply.)
My mind and heart had become so warped with fear that I had such difficulty answering them. Many of the emails I started receiving were from women stuck right in the same place I was suddenly stuck in.
I spoke with my mentor, and she told me that there was a time in her life when women started coming to her for counsel who were dealing with issues that she had never resolved in her own life. This was when God really spoke to her and let her know that her heart needed to be healed in that area. This was exactly what was happening to me, so instead of trying to hide from it I knew I needed to let God heal my heart.
This was when I started feeling prompted to lay some things down in my life. One of the first things I did was shut down the “Contact” tab on my blog where people could e-mail me. That was very difficult. I felt such guilt about doing that, but I knew I couldn’t answer the emails anymore. The emails I usually received were pretty intense in content, and I didn’t want to steer anyone in the wrong direction. I just felt too exhausted to answer them anyhow.
Soon after that, I knew I needed to put my blog aside for a time. This was not an easy decision, but when I finally stopped I felt such incredible relief. I knew I did what I needed to do. Taking that time away from my blog was the first step in letting God heal my heart.
When you feel God nudging you to lay something down for a time, you will find life in doing so. It may (probably will be) difficult, uncomfortable and painful sometimes, but God will ultimately infuse life and healing into the situation when you obey.
Certainly there is always a risk with being vulnerable (and sometimes it’s just not safe or appropriate to share certain things at certain times). In helping to conquer this fear, I decided to start posting my blog on Facebook again. This was a huge step for me after being silent for so long.
Despite my hesitation, the comments I received from that post astounded me. I have such wonderful friends and family, and I saw a picture in my mind of myself stepping out of the silence once again. It didn’t matter who did or didn’t read it, but I needed to do it for me.
God gave me the strength to start sharing what He had done in my life, again. Looking back, that entire season of my life taught me how to trust Him in a much deeper way than I had ever known. He is faithful!
Thank you, Father God, that You have changed my life so much. I thank You for all of the ways that You have set me free, healed me and restored me. I also thank You for all that is yet to come!
Beautifully written! You are so honest and forward. We need that in today’s world! You have such courage and strength–don’t give up! You inspire those around you 🙂