Why is vulnerability so hard?
So here I am, have this page up, but how do I get the message out to those who need or want to hear it? I googled how to advertise my blog, not really sure where to start. As I thought about whether to advertise it from my Facebook, I felt fear. Fear that the people in my life who follow anything I post on Facebook would judge me for my thoughts. I felt almost ashamed to be open about my feelings and sharing my heart. But why? Surely the people who love me will support me no matter what. I know I wont be judged by Jesus….He yearns for us to reach for him in our times of need. So why is this feeling of shame, guilt and fear stopping me?
I tried listening for 4 minutes, but felt like I couldn’t focus (see the end of the post for more information about the 4 minutes). I had trouble turning off the noise around me, trouble turning off my thoughts, so I took a step away and continued with my day. A bit later I thought, let me search in the Bible, perhaps something will jump out at me. Opened my Bible app, and was brought to Psalms 25; 2-3. Here we read “I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come to those who are treacherous without cause”. Well that is certainly not me or my intention. And there is that word again…trust. In two days he has been telling me to trust.
I have had a great deal of trouble with trust throughout my life. I have felt shamed or judged some those who were supposed to be close and who I thought would support me. I have had people turn their backs on me when I needed them most. I may not have been showing it, I was a teenager and likely being a bit of a turd if I’m honest, but in their pain they did what they needed to protect themselves, which left me feeling abandoned (more to come on that another day). I have had times lately where as an adult, I have reached out to be vulnerable and felt cared for in the moment, but out of sight out of mind the next. I want to scream “What does a girl need to do to be seen”!
As I write this, my music plays in the background “He is up to something, He is up to something, God is doing something, right now”…”He is healing someone, He is saving someone, God is doing something, right now”. Just sit with that for a moment. “He is moving mountains, making way for someone, God is doing something, right now”. Wow! He is doing something….right now. Is he doing something through my words? I don’t know, but I lean into Trusting this journey and really opening up my heart. I feel still a bit guarded, even with Him and it shows me I still haven’t fully surrendered in trust. I want to believe I have but I haven’t. The question becomes…how do I do that??
Let’s Get Real
I think back to the scenarios where I feel like my trust was broken; none of which have been addressed. I have tried to push them down, bury them under fake smiles and keep them out of the light; but why? I know that, after 2 1/2 years of therapy, I am afraid of confrontation, afraid that my feelings will offend or hurt the other person, and I think ultimately that it will result in them turning their back on me; leaving me truly alone. Just the thought of being alone, truly alone, makes my heart ache deeply in this moment. Its a little funny as I am a total introvert and my go to coping mechanism is to shut everyone out and pull into my shell, alone, when I am hurting.
Here is the hard and honest truth: Whether self-induced or not, I do feel alone and it is excruciating. I feel like I am alone because people don’t like me. I feel alone because people don’t see me as worth investing in.
Let’s take the behavioral therapy route; this is an automatic negative thought. What evidence do I have that any of this is true. None really. People don’t really reach out to me, likely because I don’t reach out to them (i.e., my coping mechanism). I can rebuttal myself with these facts over an over, but it doesn’t stop the intrusive thought and pain that comes along with it. I pray, and I do get a sense of peace but it doesn’t last. Yes, I know prayer is not a one and done. But when you deal with depression, it can be insanely difficult to pull yourself out to make the efforts you know will make you feel better.
I lean into my church community. I am so very blessed to be surrounded by such amazing people, but there are still so many Sundays, I sit waiting for service to start, by myself. Empty chairs surround me. People in attendance with their friends and loved ones, chatting and hugging, surround me. It makes me that much more aware that I don’t have my husband by my side in my walk with God. I fear for his salvation. I feel like I will fail without the support.
I don’t know that anyone can do this on their own. It makes me feel invisible sometimes. I see new people join the church who are invited with such open arms, they are accepted, recognized, wanted, you would think they had been going there forever. And I sit here alone. I yearn for someone to want to come sit with me, want to engage with me, want to ask me if I am ok. But they don’t. I have been told in the past I don’t have a very approachable look; maybe that’s it. Maybe I look unapproachable. I don’t mean to.
Trust. Its the word of the day / week. My mind knows I need to trust that I will not be abandoned by those who love me. I know in my mind that I need to express this hurt without fear, but my heart is just not ready. My depression keeps me from feeling like I have the energy to deal with it. My depression lets me just push it down, like I always do. My depression lets me withdrawal and sit in my living room alone, but reminds me pretty consistently that I am in fact, alone. There are times when I do try to reach out to connect, but folks have their own lives and it rarely works out. Is it me? Am I likeable to a point, but unworthy of investment? That’s what the enemy tells me and I believe him more often than I would like to admit.
How Do I Overcome?
I honestly have no idea. At this point time, I am just working to be honest with myself about my feelings. I will continue to pray, continue with my 4 minutes, and ask Jesus to guide me. I suppose I really need to self-reflect and identify those very specific times when my trust was broken and how it impacted me. Then the hard part, talking it out with that person or person(s). Phew, I’m overwhelmed and anxious just thinking about that. Deep down I know that, until I can address these issues, they will not be resolved and will continue to rob me of my ability to heal.
Wish me luck? None of this will happen fast so I am sure if you stick around, you will be along for the ride.
If you have similar experiences or challenges, you are not alone. I would love to hear from you, get to know you, and perhaps we can help each other with the journey of healing. I don’t know the answers, I am not prophetic, I can’t quote calming scripture, I can’t pray beautifully….but I can be here to listen and support.