Within this past year, I've had the Jesus-given opportunity to really meet and come across some amazing, genuine people. My heart loves these people in my life. I see world changers in these people. In fact, these people loved me so well, it made me revaluate my whole life. They made me look at the past, and all those moments (good and bad) that lead me to where I am now. While looking at these life moments, I recently came to see how broken I was. I began to look at relationships in my past and I am not just talking about all those ex's that I had. It was all people. I can be a very analytic person at times. The realization I came to was that I wasn't able to open up with people. I wasn't being open because I didn't trust people. You can't be vulnerable if you don't trust people.
James 5:16,"Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working."
For any good friendship or relationship to flourish, you need to be able to be vulnerable. You need a safe place. That person you can, vent to, cry to and love on you, wanting nothing in return. I never had that safe place. Especially, as a kid growing up. My parents were both absent in their own worlds. I was very much isolated. Every goodbye in my life up until now, had been the bad types of goodbye. Goodbyes because of other people's choices that lead them to gangs, death, just leaving or jail. My walls slowly built up from a young age. I trusted no one, not even Jesus at the time.
Proverbs 16:24,"Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."
So, this year when I had these godly people placed in my path here at the dream center in LA on our campus and within leadership school, I didn't understand why I couldn't be vulnerable in friendships. I love people, you need to know that. My life passion is to just love on people. But, I couldn't get deeper in relationships. I have many friends, many great people in my life around me and with me daily. God fearing, godly people and trustworthy. They all just want me to succeed in life. However, it took one person to change my thinking this year. Her name's, Shannon.
Shannon came in my life at season in life when I was least expecting it. A time when, I was questioning my life, self-worth and if Jesus really could send me people that would love me with no strings attached. My own parents always wanted something from me. I just wanted pure love. I guess the kind of love parents are supposed to show their kids, but I never got. Shannon had/has become my safe place. That place on good days or bad. That person that will show love and tough love (I am still young, I still make unwise choices at times. I’m human!) She calls me out when needed, cheers me on, prays for me, and truly wants the best for me. Shannon took my hand and was able to help me see life differently--in a new light. Because of how close I am to her now, I was able to see what vulnerability looked like, safe vulnerability.
I struggle every day with being vulnerable. It's a hard thing to do, friends, really hard. I'll be real honest here, I am in this tough season of learning to be vulnerable. If you work at it, it'll even bring your past up of why things never worked in the first place. Don't believe that lie, it's a lie from the enemy.
Romans 8:18,"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."
People will hurt you, people will leave, people will disappoint you. That's life. I am seeing now in this life season, that shouldn't stop you from being open. You don't have to be open with everyone. Pray on who to pour your heart out to. Still love people. Were called to love Jesus first, and live in community. Living in community means being vulnerable.
James 1:3-4,"For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
Whether you’re in America, Europe, or some other country reading this, know it's okay to be vulnerable. It's not easy. Find someone like a Shannon in your life. Pray, ask for that person. They will come, I prayed for Shannon. Love people, love God and learn to open your heart.
Written By: Vanessa