Working in ministry, I have a lot of conversations with people that can end up being very deep. One thing I see over and over is the struggle many have with vulnerability, and the fear of being vulnerable.
I get it. Being vulnerable is scary.
I’ve spent years working on being more vulnerable and opening myself up. However, with being vulnerable and more open, comes fear of rejection and judgement. I am at a place in my life where it’s less scary to be vulnerable and honest because I know who I am and I know my worth. Through years of therapy, conversations, reading, writing, and prayer, I’ve become very self-aware, and I’ve learned to genuinely love myself. Everything changed when I began to pray that I would see myself as God sees me; I stopped looking for my value in this world and instead sought out my value in Him.
As I spend time with people and engage in conversations, I see so many who are yearning for a deep connection with another human being, yearning for realness and honesty in relationships, and desperately needing a sincere relationship with God. But their fear is holding them back from truly seeking that thing they so desperately desire. Their fear of being vulnerable, and of facing rejection or judgement keeps them trapped inside their guarded walls.
I also fear rejection. I also fear being judged.
Like most, I have been rejected and judged multiple times in my life. And it hurts.
I’ve been judged for my choices.
I’ve been judged for my beliefs.
I’ve been judged for my mental illness.
I’ve been judged for not being married and not having children.
I’ve been judged for my mistakes.
I’ve been judged for being “too good”.
I’ve been judged for being not good enough.
I’ve been judged for being too thin.
I’ve been judged for being too big.
I’ve been judged for what I wear.
I’ve been judged for what I’ve said.
I’ve been judged for what I haven’t said.
The list goes on and on.
It’s painful. It’s painful to be judged. It’s painful to be rejected.
While that pain is often never erased, it can be overcome.
It can be overcome by being accepted.
By being welcomed.
By being loved.
By loving others even if they reject you.
By being honest even if some don’t like what you have to say.
By being vulnerable even though you could get hurt.
By not judging even when others are judging you.
And most importantly by knowing you are forever accepted and unconditionally loved by our Father in heaven.
He will never reject you.
He will always want you.
He will always welcome you.
He will always accept you.
He will always love you with a fierceness that none of us can fully comprehend.
So I encourage you to be vulnerable. Be open. Be honest. Be accepting. Be welcoming. Love. Love as our Lord loves us.
Because even if you are sometimes rejected or judged, that love will overpower the hurt.
And you can feel secure knowing that the Almighty is always there.
When I look back and see all the opportunities I missed because I was afraid of being vulnerable, afraid of being judged, and afraid of being rejected, I am filled with sadness. Pure sadness. Yes, I may have avoided being hurt or embarrassed, but I may have also missed out on meaningful relationships, best friendships, chances to love and be loved, and so much more.
As I have gotten older, and my faith has grown, I have realized that all I want to do is love and care for people. Even if they reject that love and care from me. I want to know people, to connect with people, to be vulnerable, to be open, and to be honest. I want to help others and allow them to help me.
And if I am hurt or judged or rejected, that is ok.
At least I’ll know I did what Jesus asked me to do. I’ll love my neighbour, and I’ll serve others.
And I will always know that I am fully loved and accepted by the One who matters most.
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