The Art of Unfolding

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We are all born with a desire to be known; for someone to know our greatest fears, hopes, dreams, our little quirks and favorite things. We all crave to be known intimately, and to feel safe while being known.

Growing up in a home that was lacking in conversation and openness, the un-met longing for intimacy festered into both bitterness and myself opening up to all the wrong people. 

I opened up to people who demanded perfection of me, who were never encouraging, who crushed my hopes and dreams, who left me objectified and believing I was worthless, who used me- mentally, physically, and emotionally.

I was reading Ministering Cross-Culturally by Sherwood G. Lingenfelter and Marvin K. Mayers. It’s a very good and eye-opening book, but what caught my attention was the two categories of vulnerability. You either conceal it, or willingly share. Here are characteristics of each:

Concealment of Vulnerability

  1. Protection of self-image at all cost; avoidance of error and failure
  2. Emphasis on the quality of performance
  3. Reluctance to go beyond limits or to enter the unknown
  4. Denial of culpability; withdrawal from activities in order to hide weakness or short comings
  5. Refusal to entertain alternative views or accept criticism.
  6. Vagueness regarding personal life.

Willingness to Expose Vulnerability

  1. Relative concern about error and failure.
  2. Emphasis on completion of event/task.
  3. Willingness to push beyond one’s limits and enter the unknown.
  4. Ready admission of culpability, weakness, and shortcomings.
  5. openness to alternative views and criticism.
  6. Willingness to talk freely about personal life.

What category fits you best? I share some characteristics from both categories. I’m a people pleaser learning to put myself first. I’m learning to hold my own opinions and not base everything off of other people’s thoughts and criticism. I’m willing to step into the unknown now, and not worry about the support or lack thereof from other people. But what I want to dwell on, is the willingness to talk freely about my personal life.

Firstly, it’s not something I do. I desperately want to, but the fear of someone taking advantage of my vulnerability again has been overwhelmingly great. It’s taken me a whole semester to finally start to open up to my housemates. The other day I spoke up in class and shared a personal lesson the Lord was teaching me. It scared me beyond all belief and I was blushing like a ripe tomato, but I did it. My successes are small, but they are successes nonetheless.

I long for the day when my fear will be subdued, when I won’t be afraid to show people what things excite me, where my passion lies, or what my dreams are. I pray for the healing to come, I pray for a willing spirit to say ‘yes’ when God asks me to take those steps of faith.

You see I’m the bravest girl you will ever come to meet

Yet I shrink down to nothing at the thought of someone really seeing me

But I don’t wanna go on living, being so afraid of showing

Someone else my imperfections

And even though my feet are trembling, And every word I say comes stumbling

I will bare it all,

Watch me unfold.

I will allow someone to love me.

I will allow someone to love me.

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