Saturday, November 23, 2013


Y'all! You are so wonderful! Your encouragement, your honesty, and just the fact that you would take the time to read my words. Holy smokes.

Admitting that I struggle with insecurity has been so freeing for me. It started with conversations with a few friends and then I decided I may as well go "public" on here. Seriously, I'm so thankful that it was encouraging to some of you, because just bringing my struggle into the light has helped me

My wonderful friend, Kayla, has continued the insecurity conversation over at her blog. She talked about losing ourselves. Her thoughts are one piece of the direction my thoughts have been going. So, instead of reinventing the wheel, I'll just suggest you head over to her blog and read her words. They are honest and real and, well, you'll see why I count Kayla as a huge gift from the Lord. 

In response to my blog, I had two women recommend that I check out Brene Brown. Brown is a professor at the University of Houston who studies shame and vulnerability, particularly in women. I know I won't do justice to her research in just a few short words here. But, here's a short summary of one of her presentations: 

Brown found a correlation between a feeling of worthiness and the ability to be vulnerable. Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging know they are worthy. Those who know their worth are free to be vulnerable with who they really are. Vulnerability is what allows us a connection with other people in a real way. Connection is a result of authenticity: being willing to let go of who we think we should be in order to be who we really are. So, the thing that keeps us out of connection with others is the fear that we are not worthy of connection.  See the cycle? 

The idea is to let ourselves be seen. To love with our whole hearts, even though there is no guarantee. A willingness to tell our stories. Brown shared that courage has its root word in Latin, meaning to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. It means the courage to be imperfect. In Brown's words, believing that what makes us vulnerable, makes us beautiful. 

I don't know if Brown is a follower of Jesus or not. But, her research confirms how the Gospel changes everything. Because Jesus died on the cross for me, I can know my true worth. I can know that I was worth giving up his throne, living a sinless life in a terribly broken world, and dying a horrendous and excruciating death by crucifiction. I can know I belong to Jesus and that He sees me as righteous. My worth is not found in my library fines, my messy house, my forgetfulness or my impatience. I am no longer defined by my past or present sin or my flaws. I'm also not defined by my career (or lack thereof), my marriage, my friendships or my parenting. 

I am free to be defined solely by my relationship with Jesus. When I'm defined in that way, I'm safe. I'm hidden in the shadow of his wings. My life has been hidden away with Jesus. With my life hidden safe in Jesus, I'm free to be vulnerable. I'm free to admit my flaws and my sin rather than covering them up with a pretty facade. And in doing that, I discover that those "ugly" places are often what bring true beauty. They demonstrate the places that God is strong in my weakness. 

Therefore, vulnerability seems to be the key to becoming secure.The apostle John said "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." (1 John 1:7). To be in the light requires vulnerability, bringing our hurt, pain and sin into the light where it can be seen by the Lord  and others. For some of us, at first, being vulnerable takes stepping out in faith and testing the water to see what happens when we walk in the light. 

Sometimes vulnerability is uncomfortable and unnatural at first. It might even be scary and painful. This past week, I have felt like my blood and guts were all over the floor as I was sharing with two dear friends about some hurt I realized I had held on to for almost 20 years! Last weekend, at a church women's breakfast I had a nagging fear that my friends don't really like me. What in the world? Where did that come from? 

Driving home from breakfast, the Lord brought to mind three instances in high school and college where I felt betrayed by girls who I thought were good friends. Girls who had schemed against me, girls who just didn't like me, girls who turned on me, girls who said they were my friend and then told others that they didn't really like me. Ugh. I had never shared with anyone about those hurts. It hit me I had been afraid that if I shared with new friends about those old hurts, they would see me as "damaged" or that they would wonder if there really was something "wrong" with me.  So, I had stuffed all of that. And, without really "thinking" about it, I had lived with a tape of thoughts in the back of my head which said over and over again that I couldn't trust that anyone really liked me. And, that no one really likes me. 

Last Saturday, I found myself in tears on the phone to a good friend laying all of this out. God is SO good. He brought me to a place where I knew more of my worth IN HIM so that I was more okay with vulnerability before He brought these things up for me. Before He refined me in this area, He first made me willing to talk and share and open up to friends. 

Praise Jesus!!! What had been hidden for so long in my heart was brought into the light. The lies that I had believed about my worth, or lack there of, were exposed. And, I grew in true fellowship with the girls I shared with, and I grew in fellowship with the Lord. Just like He promised would happen in 1 John 1. And, I found myself free. Free from the lies I had believed. Free to talk about it. Free to write about it here on the interwebs for all of you to read. 

There is a song by Kendall Payne, and the lyrics are below. It beautifully lays out life with Jesus and it just keeps speaking to my heart as the Lord is rooting out insecurities in my life. In particular the last stanza. It is Sometimes the Lord cuts deep to set us free. But, if you trust him and let Him open you up to vulnerability, He is so good to keep His promises.

Don't stop your crying on my account

A frightening lion, no doubt
He's not safe, no he's not safe
Are you tempted now to run away?
The King above all Kings is coming down
But He won't say the words you wish that he would
Oh, he don't do the deeds you know that He could
He won't think the thoughts you think He should
But He is good, He is good
I know you're thirsty, the water is free
But I should warn you, it costs everything
Well, He's not fair, no He's not fair
When He fixes what's beyond repair
And graces everyone that don't deserve
No one knows Him whom eyes never seen
No, I don't know Him but He knows me
He knows me, He knows me
Lay down your layers, shed off your skin
But without His incision, you can't enter in
He cuts deep, yeah He cuts deep
When the risk is great and the talk is cheap
But never leaves a wounded one behind


Ellany said...

Wow! You' are AMAZING!!!

Dana Gay said...

Thanks for sharing your heart. Mg and I love that book and he recenlty gave a sermon on shame and the cross. Funny right? Just thought I would tell you. Love ya! Wish we talked more.

Jocelyn said...

Thank you so much for your encouragement, ladies!

And Dana, the Holy Spirit is moving in a big way surrounding shame and the cross. Crazy!