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Kia Stephens

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February 26, 2017

3 Ways Being Vulnerable Might Change Your Life

February 26, 2017 | By | 22 Comments

I’ve lived a lifetime trying to be perfect.

Perfect Appearance

Perfect Speech

Perfect Life

But adulthood has been the absolute antithesis of perfection.  In fact, I might venture to say, it has been characterized more by an unexpected slow death of my ideals and expectations.

Topping off the list of examples is year 5 of my marriage.  I was a full time working mother with two kids in diapers and one still feasting at my breast.  As if that wasn’t enough to permanently place me in a straight jacket, my wedded bliss was characterized by perpetual arguing about the same issue on different days of the week.  Throw in a dying loved one, a devastating betrayal, and just add water and stir; things were not how I dreamt they would be.

And for a while, I talked to no one about it.  I put my big girl panties on like every other woman and I learned how to grin and bear it.  That’s what we do, right?

Don’t show your weakness.

Never let them see you sweat.

Have no fear.

Quite honestly, I tried, but my trying wasn’t enough to maintain a facade of perfection.  And as I stood in the center of life, wobbling on a tightrope, and somehow managing to keep all my balls in the air I realized I couldn’t do it anymore.

“We need to get some counseling,” I remember saying to my husband.  Even as I said it fear gnawed at me.  “Kia, if you get counseling what will people think?” I thought but never said out loud.

But there is something about desperation that nullifies the fear of people’s opinions.  I didn’t care anymore about perfection or the appearance of it.  I needed help, so I asked for it.

Little did I know then that this decision would drastically alter the trajectory of my life.  What I thought was going to be a few months of counseling turned out to be about 5 years off and on.  This was the best thing I could have ever done.  Life forced me to be vulnerable and as a result I’ve learned three life changing principles.

  1.  Vulnerability precedes help.

After we’ve been hurt a few times life tempts us to stand at the door of our hearts like a Navy Seal ready to take anyone out who poses a threat.  Although this protective stance keeps possible hurt at bay, it also alienates us from the very people who could provide the assistance we need.  

This does not nullify Philippians 4: 19 (NIV) that says,

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”  

God is able to meet the un-communicated longings of our heart, however His love is often demonstrated through the hands, feet, and mouths of His people. 

2.  Vulnerability frees others to say “Me too.”

Two years ago I made a bold declaration.  “I’m going to write a blog for women who grew up without their dads,” I said.  Nothing could have prepared me for the initial response.

I just met my dad two weeks ago.”

“I don’t know who my father is.”

“My daddy was an alcoholic.”

“I heard my father call my mother a heifer.”

“My dad introduced me as his boy.”

Whether I was in the salon, on a play-date with my kids, or at work,  women had something to say about their father daughter relationships (or lack thereof).  Without hesitation they spoke, recounting memories and words (often painful) of their biological fathers.  Had I not chosen vulnerability I would have robbed these women of an opportunity to say, “Me too”.

 No matter what we are facing, somewhere there is another woman experiencing it too.  Our willingness to be transparent creates opportunities for genuine community where women can feel safe to expose their scars.

3.  Vulnerability fosters humility.

No one wants to appear weak, we’d rather project ourselves as flawless individuals who have it all together.  But all throughout the Bible we see examples of God’s perfected power displayed  in the weaknesses of mankind.  Paul described this phenomenon in 2 Corinthians 12: 9 – 10 when he exposed a tremendous area of weakness in his life.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Like Paul, I have discovered strength in vulnerability and I’m not looking back.  I have chosen to resist the urge to throw on an outer garment of pretense every morning.  I am choosing to live a life where my imperfect parts are on display and my vulnerability is seen as a strength rather than a weakness.

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Comments

  1. Yes, yes, YES! So much truth here! Help, connection, and humility! Why are so many of us still trying to convince the world we have it all together?? Not today, Satan. Not today. Blessings!

    • Yes one more time Liz. I love that you said, “Not today Satan!” Girl that is the truth. We are addicted to making other people think XY and Z about us. If we could just keep it real we would all be better for it. Thanks for joining this conversation today! – Be blessed my friend, Kia.

  2. There is true freedom in vulnerability. I like the reminder that being vulnerable also frees others to be vulnerable. I haven’t been to therapy in awhile, but my willingness to share with others that I had been gave them the freedom to go to. It no longer seemed abnormal.

    • I have found that to be true to Latonya. There is so much freedom in just saying, “I need counseling!” I love your bravery here! Thanks for joining this conversation. Be blessed! – Kia

  3. I agree, vulnerability is not easy but it is so important, and when one person is vulnerable it frees others to do the same.
    Lesley recently posted…Do You Want To Get Well?My Profile

    • Lesley Yes! Vulnerability is freeing. Glad you joined the conversation today and be blessed! – Kia

  4. Kia, I so appreciate your courage to start this blog and write about what God has put on your heart. What you say about vulnerability is so very very true. It has taken me a long time in my life to understand those things about vulnerability. I know what you write is making a big difference!

    • Thanks Leslie! It is amazing how God compels us to do what we think we cannot. If someone had told me I would be writing such a public and transparent blog about 5 years ago I would not have believed them. But God. . . Thanks for your encouraging words and I’m so glad you joined the conversation.

  5. Great post! Vulnerability is the natural fruit of humility – to be known as we are! So scary and so relieving when we finally do. Thanks so much for sharing this!

    • Such truth Brooke. Scary but freeing. There is power in being known for who we truly are. Glad you joined the conversation today and be blessed! – Kia

  6. what a blessing you are, what a story you have to share, Kia …
    Linda Stoll recently posted…Celebrating a Great Big Blogging MilestoneMy Profile

    • Thanks Linda! So glad you joined the conversation today. Be blessed! – Kia

  7. Kia, I have witnessed the truth of this in my own life, and appreciate these words that encourage me to persevere in letting myself be known — warts and all.
    Michele Morin recently posted…The Radical Simplicity of Looking UpMy Profile

    • Well we all have something Michele. In fact yesterday, to my horror I discovered a tiny hair growing out of my chin. 🙂 Life is full of stuff we do not want to tell anyone about but it is freeing and maybe it will help someone. Thanks for sharing and being transparent in this space Michele. Be blessed! – Kia

  8. Kia;
    Glad I found you. Vulnerability is the secret sauce that opens you up to many things you might be missing.
    nylse recently posted…Ordinary Othniel – the First JudgeMy Profile

    • I like that Nylse, “Secret Sauce”. It has certainly been transformative in my life. I’m so glad you joined the conversation today and be blessed! – Kia

  9. I so agree-there are always others out there who can relate. I lie to myself when I think no one understands!
    Sarah recently posted…Doubt Is Not the EndMy Profile

    • I lie to until I snap out of it. Be encouraged Sarah! You are not alone my friend. Thanks for joining me on the blog today and be blessed! – Kia

  10. This is so beautiful and transparent and FREEING! Your words are breaking chains off for people girl! Thank you for your honestly and willingness to be real.

    Good things happen in the real places 🙂

    • Thanks for your words Becky. I am glad you joined the conversation today. Be blessed! – Kia

  11. I love this! Vulnerability is so tough, but what God accomplishes through my weak moments never ceases to amaze me. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Amen to that Amanda! As difficult as it is to be REAL and transparent the result is often beautiful. Thanks for joining the conversation Amanda and be blessed! – Kia

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