“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another. . . “ (Hebrews 1:24-25).
I’ve been reading Daring Greatly by Dr. Brene Brown. It’s an excellent book about having the courage to be vulnerable in trustworthy relationships. The result is a “wholeheartedness” that develops as a result of not having to repress our emotions.
We courageously dare to trust our experiences in a safe environment.
A roadblock to vulnerability is perfectionism. Daring to share includes our imperfections.
It’s really okay to be “good enough.” Actually, it’s preferable.
Perfectionism is unattainable, but “good enough” is doable and results in much less stress. We still strive for excellence, but make reasonable allowances for ourselves. This is particularly important if you are chronically ill.
I have a wildflower tile in my kitchen that was mistakenly set sideways. I could have had it changed, but decided it was a lesson to me. Every time I see it I remember that I don’t have to be perfect. Good enough is fine for me.
Another roadblock to vulnerability is sharing with the wrong person–perhaps it’s a person who will put you down or doesn’t understand chronic disease. As I said earlier, vulnerability is for trusted friends or mentors–people who will encourage you, offer sound feedback, and love you.
We need to exercise caution not to over-share and to draw appropriate boundaries. We need to share with people who won’t cave under the weight of our expressed suffering. We need a person who can give us a healthy perspective, who won’t suffocate us with too much hovering.
Our emotions run rampant; our expectations always have to be adjusted when dealing with a chronic disease. We need people who will help keep us grounded. Dear friend, it’s worth the risk. Ask God to give you a friend or mentor like this. He knows your needs and this is a crucial one.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for those you bring into our lives we can just be ourselves with. Give us the gift of trustworthy friends. Help us to be the same to our friends. Amen.
About the author:
Jackie Smith lives in Knoxville, TN near the beautiful Smoky Mountains. She has Sjogren’s disease and migraine headaches. Jackie had a bilateral mastectomy over 25 years ago. A few years ago she had her colon removed, necessitating a permanent ileostomy. She has her master’s degree in Child and Family Studies. Between her and her husband of 35 years they enjoy 5 children and 12 grandchildren. Jackie loves sharing through her writing the rich experiences God has lavished upon her.
Do you see the importance of being vulnerable? Do you stuff your feelings? With whom can you risk being vulnerable today?
This is Jason Gray singing “Weak” and I can’t wait for you to hear these lyrics that apply so well to all of our circumstances in living with chronic pain. Take a few minutes to listen and be reminded of just ow powerful our state of “weak” is. -Lisa