I said I was sorry but that I’d need to cancel our plans that day. My reason: “I’m not feeling well…I’m emotionally exhausted…had a rough night with the kids and I don’t feel like myself.” I wiped the tears from my eyes and continued changing Isaac’s diaper. Just then my husband came up the stairs and asked me when I was leaving, I huffed at him, “I’m not going anymore.”
His disappointment was obvious, but I was thankful he left me alone.
As I headed down the stairs I saw my sweet friend had written another message, “I will pray for you, I had a day like that yesterday!”
She continued on, “Emotional, grumpy, tired and kinda numb…is that how you feel?”
Immediately I felt a weight come off my shoulders and much to my surprise a smile began to spread across my face. “Really…you too?” I replied.
I would have never guessed she had days like this too, I always seem to think I’m the only one who lets whole days get wasted because of strange emotions.
Our conversation continued for a few minutes. By then my tears had almost magically dried up and my mind had changed. I knew I needed to go hang out with her, even in my sweat pants and with watery, red eyes.
“I think I need to get out of my funk,” I told her.
“Yes, me too…” she said. “Let’s be funky together!”
Our friendship deepened that day all because we chose to be funky together! A day that was destined for ruin, became resurrected through our vulnerability.
But how many times do we choose to cry alone, to stay hidden in our house, or cancel our plans so no one will see how we’re really doing?
I will be the first to say that I do it more often than I care to admit.
How quickly we forget that our vulnerability is actually an invitation to transformation.
After my friend and I decided to be funky together the whole day turned around! We had deep conversations in the car and on the couch, we spent hours shopping and laughing together, and when we said goodbye we were two different people.
Here are three benefits that I want to remember about having and being a vulnerable friend:
1. Our hearts are healed. When we choose honesty over hiddenness and share our struggles with a friend, it is like tending to a wound on our body. Honesty lessens the pain, reduces the scarring and swelling, and ultimately makes for a quicker recovery and a healed heart.
2. We receive a new perspective. Despair and discouragement are strong emotions that pull us into a dark hole and leave us feeling trapped and suffocated. But when we can be vulnerable in our time of need, reaching out for a rescue, suddenly we are lifted from the well of wallowing. Faith, hope, and love bring us out of our blindness, and suddenly we gain back our true sight…indeed God is in our midst, our ever-present help. Our fleshy friends are oftentimes masquerading as the presence of Jesus in our lives.
3. We discover that loving others is as simple as choosing to be ourselves.
“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” C.S. Lewis
Relationships are deepened when we are courageous enough to be completely ourselves without trying to prove or please each other. If we ever wonder how we can love others let’s remember it’s simple: we unveil our weakness and watch how our vulnerability reveals the vast love and grace of God, which are two of the most important ingredients to any relationship!
Vulnerability is this practice of baring the unglamorous parts of our heart to God first and then to others. Vulnerability is a risk; we all know we could be rejected…
But let’s remember instead that vulnerability is actually giving ourselves and others an invitation to transformation…it could lead to a changed heart, a different outcome to the day, and quite possibly a whole new you- full of grace, compassion, and even some funkiness!
How will you take the risk & enjoy the benefits of being vulnerable today?