I’ve always had this tendency of bottling in all of my emotions. I want the world to see the good parts of me, not the broken parts. I honestly didn’t even realize that I had this tendency until I was a little older. Things started to feel heavy because of all the baggage that I was carrying. But I continued to try to carry the load on my own, and make everything seem great to the outside world. Maybe you relate. Maybe you always feel like you’re putting on a face, and you’re truly exhausted. Maybe you break down alone and feel completely alone because you tend to shut others out. Maybe it’s time for a change.

I have always been that person, not on purpose, but I have. I have always wanted it to seem to others that I have it all together. I constantly worry about how others perceive me. It’s easy to fall into this trap with the society that we live in today. We are always seeing the sides of people on social media that are put together. Sometimes it’s hard to even realize that the person posting that put-together picture is human too and has struggles just like you. They may be different struggles, but every person faces their own battles in life. The issue is we don’t like to recognize this. Instead, we like to get down on ourselves for not being perfect. This leads us to filter out the bad so that nobody but ourselves knows our weaknesses.

My junior year of high school at church camp, we did an activity that truly made me question who I was. In better words, this activity made me question who I displayed myself to be to the rest of the world. Some of you all may have participated in this activity at some point in your life or even have done something similar. It was called “Cross the Line”. When we did this, I remember it was the last night of camp, and we had just finished a very powerful night of worship. I remember being on a spiritual high and being very emotional because of the true connection I had felt with God that night. Afterwards, my church youth group gathered and did this activity. The leaders had all of the group stand at one side of the room. They then told us that they were going to say a series of statements, and if any of the statements applied to us, we needed to “cross the line”, or in other words, go to the other side of the room. They started with surface level questions. For example, they would say, “Cross the line if you have a sibling”. As the activity continued on, they began to make statements such as, “Cross the line if you have faced the obstacle of anxiety”. This one hit home because I had faced anxiety. I had always been a person full of fear and worry, to the point where it all consumed me, and no one knew it until that night, when I crossed the line. As I crossed it, it felt as if a weight was off my shoulders. For the first time, I was being truly vulnerable.

That night is when I realized the true importance of what we see as weakness. I found that truly sharing the parts of myself that I thought were ugly was not a weakness but actually a strength. It strengthened my relationships. I was carrying my burdens with these people I trusted, instead of trying to do everything on my own. I even realized the importance of inviting God in to help me carry my burdens. I had been shutting, not only people out, but also God. I was at a point in my life where I thought everything would be easier to carry on my own. I pushed God to the side and only thought of how I could make it through my struggles by myself.

I’ve found that the places where I have shut out God and other people have truly created some of my weakest moments in life. When in these places, I’m insecure, I usually feel alone, and I feel that everything just feels miserable. The reason for this loneliness is the confidence that I can do it all on my own. Many of us believe this notion. It’s time to start realizing that vulnerability isn’t making us weak but making us strong. God gives us the gift of relationships. Instead of constantly putting our guard up, we need to start trusting the people that God has given to us as a gift. We also need to recognize the gift of our relationship with God. We need to start giving God our everything, even our weaknesses.

The night we did the “Cross the Line” activity my eyes were truly opened to how closed off I had been through the years. Have you closed yourself to others and to God? Are you striving to be your true, authentic self or just put up a guard to everyone you know and love? On the home page of my website it says “beautifully & simply authentic”. Under that, it says “the beauty in being real”. The reason why these words are on the home page of my website is because these words hold importance. There is a true beauty in being your true, authentic self. Being real and authentic is being vulnerable. Work on being more vulnerable. I find myself struggling to achieve this goal, but I have learned, over the years, the real power that vulnerability has. Sharing your testimony is a form of vulnerability. Trusting a friend with an obstacle your facing is vulnerability. Confrontation with a person you have a broken relationship with is vulnerability. Praying to God and asking for guidance IS VULNERABILITY. Through sharing your testimony, you can change lives and provide hope. Through having others help carry your burdens, you may not feel as alone. By confronting a broken relationship, you can mend and make a beautiful relationship with an old friend. By being vulnerable with God, you can face all of your weaknesses because with God you know you’re not alone.

Be vulnerable. It’s hard, mostly in this world we’re living in, but let’s work on achieving this goal together.

 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

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