“What does that mean? Vulnerability? Do all your relationships have to be that way?” I wondered that same thing for many years, but still, I desire deep connection.
It took me a long time to admit that I need people. I want to also be needed — to be relied on for babysitting or for a cup of sugar when needed, and so much more — a deeper connection, still.
I have come along way, and I am not willing to go back. A few short years ago I escaped a prison of my own making — for many hard years, afraid of showing people who I really was. Hiding the shame, the weakness, the insecurity — fearful if I showed myself unveiled they would decide they didn’t like what they saw. With heart closed — I walked, viewing God, at times, through the people that hurt me.
“God doesn’t love us any less when friendship turns out to be hard or lonely”.
I closed myself off from people. In doing so, I also closed myself off from God. The wall I built around my heart with bricks of disappointment, broken-trust and pain, also kept God out. The result was the decay of my soul. I could not cease the flow of love towards people and hinder the flow of love from people and expect to still have the flow of God’s Spirit in my life. My usefulness was gone.
You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage — You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this — I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand — shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 MSG
Vulnerability is the most valuable gift I have that I can offer a friend. What other treasure do I have to offer from myself, except an open heart? Not everyone wants to see someone transparent, but only someone that is transparent allows light to shine through, and if I am really living and walking in the Light, as He is in the Light, we have true, unbroken fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1John 1:7
This desire for this true kind of fellowship with His daughters, my sisters, I am unwilling to give-up. Sometimes courageously afraid I pour out and let Him pour in — knowing nothing is really lost that which we we offer to God — especially offered true. I never know what BIG thing God can do when I offer what SMALL thing I have in my hands?
So, these immersurable gifts here I count.
The Father lavishing His love on me — on us.
350. If it wasn’t for a tweet from beautiful friend, Alene from Positively Alene, “Are y’all participating #inRL this weekend?” I would have missed it. I did not realize there was a webcast. I almost missed this meet-up that (in)courage designed for cultivating community.
351. This inRL, was a gathering of woman that I witnessed from behind a back-lit screen. “The (in)RL webcast was packed with vulnerable, funny, honest, insightful, nitty gritty stories about friendship and finding our way toward (in) real life community. The highs, the lows and everything in between.” (in)courage
352. Stories were shared, hearts poured out, and God Spirit permeated every bit of it — and every bit of it authentic. No masks. No pretense. No image to protect.
353. I cried as I watched. I wept as I listened. Floodgates burst wide open — I completely emptied and God completely filled. inRL left me undone. I didn’t know. I really didn’t know how much God is in this.
354. Tears flowed — GOOD tears — and heart flooded with so much joy and hope for the future in relationships, both with God and others (in) REAL-LIFE.
355. I didn’t know it could be this good — grace-filled community — this freedom in learning to live without the fear of losing love and acceptance if the job of transformation gets too messy.
356. I am inspired to live full-out my days, glad to be journeying together with so many in community — online and (in)real-life — doing REAL-LIFE together.
357. A community with friends where it’s okay to be “un-fine” and find grace, healing and encouragement.
358. “A community sincere –without wax that hide the cracks and the blemishes.” Tsh
359. “The REAL cost is us not being perceived as perfect — but will always be worth the investment.” Lisa-Jo
360. Together, as we walk in His Light — pour life and life fills, from one heart to another, and the soul is nourished, as this true kind of fellowship is of spirit. This kind of real life community, is a gift He paid for by His blood.
361. We are one Body. We were created to be inter-dependent and the enemy of our souls would not want it that way because then we are better for it — better able to rise in our call and promise as we are co-heirs with Christ, blessed with every spiritual blessing — to reach the lost for His glory.
No, no — the devil does not want that — but TOO BAD.
362. There is JOY and strength in connecting in community, with hearts-bare, grace-filled, God-breathed relationships, for His purpose, that strengthen, empower, and encourage us so that we may fulfill our call to bring the Gospel of Grace to the lost and hurting and wounded.
By His grace, we can find them. By His grace, I did — (in) Real Life.