The fresh scent of newness wrapped itself around me in the form of January as I sat with my notecard in hand, the sound of coffee quietly brewing in the background. All that 2019 had been – difficult, challenging, beautifully raw, and achingly messy – I was open and ready to receive what He had for me in 2020. I sat there in that sacred space of my living room cloaked in a faint glow, and presented the question, “Father, what’s my theme for 2020? Where are we going?” As He always has a way of doing in my life, His gentle whisper of an answer surprised me.
The whisper was this:
“I’m after Your Heart. Trust me with your heart.”
Honestly, I didn’t really get it at first. For the past two and a half years, my trust in Jesus has been tested and tried. I’ve walked away from Him in anger only to come back bloodied and wounded, beaten down by the world and my own sense of control. I’ve questioned and cried out, I’ve ached and I’ve longed for answers that seemed impossible to understand. I have surrendered in a single moment only to take back what was His the very next moment. I have laughed and I have learned to find joy in the small moments in this never-ceasing life. I have won and I have lost, and I continue to come running back to one single truth that seems to be the answer to all of my hurts…Trust.
It’s the only saving grace I have in this world full of painful things I cannot comprehend and anguish I cannot understand. It’s the only lasting joy in the midst of my highest mountains and most euphoric moments. Trust in a God that I cannot see, trusting Him with my heart, is the only thing keeping me tethered to the true peace that far outweighs my circumstantial feelings.
I decided to do a Google search on the word “heart”. This is what I found:
Heart; the center, or innermost part of something. The center of a person’s thoughts and emotions. Vital part of essence of oneself. One’s mood or feeling, love…. Courage or enthusiasm.
Do you ever have epiphanies that seem to just rock your world, right then and there? I had one of those moments reading those definitions. The first was this: what the heck, why can’t my phrase for the new year ever be something like, “Go spend all of your money at TJ Maxx and Amazon” or maybe, “Go to Italy and visit every single wine vineyard!” I am very good at the first (much to my poor husband’s dismay) and dream very much of the latter. The second epiphany, the more “spiritual” one, was this: Jesus is after my heart, my innermost self, my emotions, and feelings that I purposefully choose to keep locked up tight so no one sees that I’m actually human. He wants those weak in the knees moments where I choose to get angry but I’m really just terrified and hurting.
He’s after my soulful, wholehearted surrender in the form of courageous vulnerability and an open heart.
You guys, this is so freaking hard for me! I do not like being vulnerable… actually, I loathe vulnerability! Any other constantly evolving Enneagram 8’s out there?! Vulnerability is a dang cuss word! I’d rather go to the dentist and have a root canal than talk about my feelings, so if you didn’t know where I was on that subject… you do now. Despite my initial thoughts about that word, I am learning through each fire I face that I cannot move towards a life lived trusting unless I am completely open-hearted with my Creator. I am choosing to believe that the courage it takes to be vulnerable is worth the risk of getting burned. I am going to desperately try to remain open despite how painful and fearsome this world can be. Even when I don’t feel seen, even when I am at my lowest point I am trying to work towards choosing vulnerability over the safety of my walls because I would rather risk my heart to gain His than lose my heart completely to the fear of feeling.
Step 1: That Word. Ugh.
Getting comfortable with the word, vulnerability, instead of treating it like I’m saying ‘Lord Voldemort’ as I await the arrival of hundreds of Death Eaters (yes, I’m a major Harry Potter, Jesus loving nerd with vulnerability issues, welcome to my blog). That’s honestly going to be my step one.
Step 2: Grace. Lots of Grace.
Grace upon grace upon grace upon… you get the point. Vulnerability requires copious amounts of humility as I lay down my armor of pride and acknowledge that I am going to fail. If I admit that this a huge weakness of mine, and rely heavily on the grace of Jesus, that’s what’s going to get me through this season of trying to grow in what He’s challenging me to do. I have to trust His grace is going to cover me completely amidst the many mistakes I’m going to make. Perfection is never the goal or expectation, and He already knows this is going to be difficult for me. He’s requiring my heart; a willingness to stay open to His voice and to what He’s requiring of me in this season of life. He never requires perfection because perfection takes away the shocking beauty of His power in my life and His ability to be creative with my heart. Grace is key, so give it to yourself, and allow Him to shower you with it. Perfection is boring while grace is wild… and I would rather be wild than boring.
Step 3: Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable.
Anything worth doing is never easy, and if Jesus is calling me to live with my heart wide open, I’m going to try to do it because I trust that it will be worth the sacrifice of my comfort. Leaning into the awkwardness with Him is the only way I get better at this. When I choose Him, He reveals more and more of Himself and the further we go, the more I realize how worthy of my trust He is. When I lean in, it becomes easier to surrender my heart and the things that are keeping me from freedom because I know He will be there to carry me through when I can no longer stand. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable begins and ends with the courage to be vulnerable.
I talk a lot about the brokenness of this world and the people in it, but something interesting is happening the further I walk this journey of vulnerable trusting. Silent confidence and humble faith are growing where deadly mistrust and malignant rage had taken root. There’s a sweet softening that’s happening as I lay down my shield and my pitchfork, and reach out my hands to grab hold of His. He’s always given me the gift of His full self, but I am finally starting to enjoy it because I am choosing to be all in with wholehearted, vulnerable surrender.
That’s His requirement for me at the beginning of this new decade; to remain open, to take risks that require my whole heart and a whole lot of grace, and to never shut myself off to the possibility of courageous vulnerability. I’m leaning into Him as I walk this unknown, perfectly messy journey towards the path of humble trust.
Will you join me?