Vulnerable. Yeah, I know. Doesn't really make you jump up and down, does it? I looked it up (because that's what nerds do) and here's what I found.
Vulnerable - capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt; open to assault, criticism, temptation; difficult to defend.
No wonder we don't like it. I think sometimes it can be a good thing, maybe when we're young. Babies are completely vulnerable to their moms (dads too). They are dependent for every need to be met by someone else.
Through childhood and adolescence, we open our hearts and lives to some we would consider our best friends because we enjoy the thrill of being known and loved.
When we first fall in love and step into marriage we don't mind being vulnerable to our new life partner. At least I didn't. I eagerly turned over my whole life, finances, and secrets to Scott in full trust. I didn't feel threatened at all. Still don't.
But then we live life for a while as a grown up. We get hurt. We are betrayed. We acquire enemies, intentionally or otherwise. Vulnerable is something we avoid like the plague as if it signifies a weakness or failure. Maybe it's because we don't trust what we can't control or when. We rarely intentionally place ourselves in this position anymore if we can help it. It can make us feel unsafe, needy and possibly high maintenance. Who wants that?
Not me. Yet I found myself staring into the face of it just a few weeks ago.
It was wedding week. I know. I know. I said I wasn't going to write about the wedding anymore but this isn't about the wedding itself. This is more of a what was going on behind the scenes.
Thursday morning we packed up our van and our daughter and Scott began the drive to Connecticut with me by his side. I had been bored all week and couldn't wait to get where all the action was. We weren't too far down the road when my mind drifted and next thing I know tears are rolling. These tears were different from what had become my usual. I wasn't even slightly sad or emotional about the wedding and all that goes with it. This was new and unfamiliar.
Suddenly I was weaker than I have been in months and I felt afraid, unprotected, unable to control myself, defenseless perhaps.....vulnerable.
Glimpses of what was troubling me came to mind. My thoughts, feelings and emotions were complex and unorganized. I was trying to assign them categories where I could name and file them away until a later date when I would deal with them appropriately. (Is there no end to this control freak/type A personality defect?)
If only that would have worked. I became nervous when I couldn't tidy this up. What was I going to do? I don't have time for this. My son is getting married in two days and I want to be fully present to experience every bit of it. I knew this wasn't about the wedding itself. It was about my junk, the stuff that follows me to sidetrack me from appreciating all the good. It's probably the closest I've come to a panic attack.
I cried harder desperately trying to hide it and not dampen the mood of the occasion. Scott squeezes my hand and gives me that sweet it's-going-to-be-alright smile. He thinks I'm all weepy because our little boy has grown up. Isn't he cute? I wish that's what the problem was!
I prayed and asked God what was going on. Of course, I don't believe He speaks audibly, but I do believe He knows and directs our thoughts when we invite Him to. I realized quickly that this was a spiritual attack.
This is not my usual go-to conclusion during difficult situations because I don't like to give Satan, the archenemy of every Jesus lover, so much credit or attention. But sometimes we need to recognize that he is the one behind our trouble and he only has our destruction in mind.
God told me what to do. I resisted. How can making myself vulnerable to someone deal with these vulnerable fears already in progress? I didn't want to. He and I could handle this together. All He had to do was clear my mind and give me happy thoughts. Seemed so simple. He said no, we're going to do this His way.
He nudged me again.
Him: "You need help. You have friends that can help you. It's time to call on them."
Me: "I already have friends who pray for me regularly. I can't ask them for more. They've got to be so sick of me. I hate being so needy."
Him: "This is different."
Me: "Isn't there another way?"
Him: "No. Humble yourself (again) and ask them for two things. Trust Me, they will do it."
I knew I could ask any number of family or friends who would be at the wedding but I also knew that wouldn't work. I couldn't risk them being worried for me and looking at me throughout the weekend with kind eyes saying, "How are you doing? Are you doing ok? I'm praying for you. You've got this". It might even backfire.
This had to be someone far removed but totally plugged in to the Spirit. Two names appeared in bold print.
Next thing I know, I am writing an email. It reads something like this:
Hi there! I know we haven't spoken in a while and hope you're doing well. I'm writing today because I feel like God has told me to. You are sensitive to the spirit and wise in His Word and I know you can help me.
Right now we are traveling to CT for Drew's wedding. I am excited to get there and for the festivities to begin. We are thrilled and can't wait to help. Still, and this is why I'm writing, I need to ask you for prayer AND some written truth. I feel so vulnerable to the enemy's attacks right now. He's got me on the ropes and it's scaring me a little.
It's so strange. I am truly grateful for all of the blessings surrounding this wedding weekend but am suddenly tormented by and tempted to doubt and worry. So many things I didn't realize I was worried about have popped to the surface and are strangling me. I can see they stem from my insecurities, fears, etc. You name it!
My emotions are all over the place and I'm exhausted trying to manage them. I've been fighting this battle for a long time now which is ok but am desperate for relief if only for a few days but they won't release me. I feel like a mess on the inside and I don't dig it!
When I read God's Word I am calmed and hopeful and challenged to believe God for big things as well as trust Him but sometimes it's like I forget as soon as I get up and go about my day. The peace I crave eludes me. I know so much of God's truth deep down but I'm worried I won't be able to bring it up to the surface when I need it. I know I won't have long extended periods of time to read and pray myself. This is where you come in.
Clearly, I can't do this by myself and God brought you to mind specifically. I need you. Would you pray for me? Also, if you have time today or tomorrow could you write me a note from your perspective on the outside reminding me of what I need to hear to have peace?
Yeah, imagine getting that letter. Why is it so hard to say 'I need you'? Because it makes us vulnerable and takes us out of the driver's seat. We could be made fun of or worse, rejected.
As soon as I hit send I began to calm down. Instinctively I knew that should they accept this assignment, my burden would be transferred and they would carry the weight for me.
Not to sound eery or mystical, but that's exactly what happened. Within hours, they both responded with a resounding "Yes, I've got you." I was touched by their sincerity and enthusiasm. By the next day I had received long notes filled with Truth that God gave them in prayer. I would stand upon these for the rest of the weekend and I will keep them for the rest of my life. I read and reread the letters allowing each word to strengthen me. I felt increasingly lighter and unbound.
Peace is an understatement. I actually could imagine them picking up the weapons and fighting my war for me for the next few days while I stepped out to a party and celebrated something good.
And boy did I have a tremendous weekend. Back up a few posts if you missed the photos.
I was given a generous and beautiful gift of freedom. It may be one we don't necessarily receive if we won't get honest, swallow pride and ask for it. What an amazing thing to experience. Intercessory prayer. Someone willing to fight in your place. It is something I hope to give in this capacity to someone else when asked.
They say the first step to getting better is admitting you have a problem. I knew I was weak and didn't have what I needed so God sent help. He is always there for us with what we need even if we don't know what that is.
Can I encourage you today if you are feeling vulnerable, out of control and susceptible to attack to call someone you know who loves God, loves you and will seriously go to battle on your behalf?
You might be surprised by how quickly they say yes and for a relief that hasn't come any other way. If you have no one to call - call me.
Pride has no place in the Christian's life. We need each other and were never meant to live this life alone. Type "one another" in a Bible search app and see what shows up.
It's not just for them. It's for you too.