Thursday, May 3, 2012

Being Generous with Vulnerability and the Post in Which I Share a Bit of My Crazy

Drawing back the curtains on me, the real me, the me that loves to toss out a well placed curse word, neglects to brush my hair, and forgets other people’s kids at the bus stop proves hard.

I struggle with Hard. I want to shake off Hard, wash it in Apple Mango Tango Gain detergent, and put Hard in my bottom dresser drawer. Cleaned up, made new, placed out of sight.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t work like that. God wired us to connect with each other and in that connection, He wants us to share Hard.

I’m not good at sharing hard. In fact, I’m not really good at sharing anything. Just this week, someone at work told me they found my blog. Eeek, the collision of my work world and writing world.

Immediately, I called my husband (and now for the part of the post in which I throw my crazy out for the world to see).

Me: Jessica M. read my blog (insert whispered, panicked voice)

Husband: And…

Me: That means she might read things I write.

Husband: You mean the things anyone can read because you write them online? 

Me: Yes.

Prolonged silence.

Me: Why don’t you understand what I’m trying to tell you? Jessica M. read my blog.

Husband: I like Jessica M.

Me: Me too. 

More silence.

Me: For real, what am I going to do?

The problem here? I feel vulnerable. It’s easy to write to smiling, square faces that show up on my screen (you guys are a happy bunch, aren’t you?), but when it’s time to talk Jesus and selfishness and struggles to people I know in real life, it gets complicated.

It involves risk, and I don't like risk. I'm much better with controlled.

Recently, I heard someone say, “I build all these walls, and then wonder, why am I in this by myself?”

Can you relate?

We build walls around life's bruises. We neglect to share. We leave out the good because we don't want to brag and the bad because we don't want to whine. We bury Hard in the bottom dresser drawer, but in doing so, we miss opportunity. Opportunity to connect and often opportunity to comfort.

Here's the big truth I'm discovering (notice I say discovering and not fully applying). Sharing ourselves in real ways is as important as sharing a meal, your time, or even money.

Yes, sirree. Chew on that.

I know I am.
Question for you: When is a time you remember someone comforting you by being vulnerable? When is the last time you allowed yourself to be vulnerable?
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The idea of being generous with vulnerability came from this video John A. shared recently. I am including the video even though it is way long (20 minutes, yikes!). It’s worth a watch, and it doesn’t hurt that Brene Brown is funny.

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Kendal said...

proud of you for this one....

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

Well of course I love Jessica M. :)

I often kid myself into "thinking" that it's only "strangers" who read my blog. So much easier that way! ;)

lori said...

I love that you shared this story, and I get it. I've actually gone and deleted posts after finding out certain people were reading. How's that for crazy and insecure.

"Sharing ourselves in real ways is as important as sharing a meal, your time, or even money."

I believe that. Well done, my friend. Oh, and I look forward to watching the video :)

Brandee Shafer said...

I think you've started an interesting conversation. I'm, like, 95% wide open. I hold back, sometimes, on things that affect me profoundly but aren't really mine for the telling: things like my brother's illness and husband's struggles.

I think everyone has pride issues. Mine are HUGE but have nothing to do with everyone in the world knowing what a hot piggy mess I am. I figure: the more people who know, the more people who can pray. Sometimes people thank me for making them feel less crazy, and that feels pretty good.

Having said that, even I (extreme extrovert) find it awkward to talk about my blog w/ someone. I guess I'm selfish in that I want everyone in the world--and especially those in my family and close circle of friends--to read it (and therefore remain "up" on what's happening w/ me at all times); pray for me; and then indicate in some way that they know exactly what's going on w/o saying, specifically, how. Is that too much to ask??? haha

God bless, Amy. You're asking good questions...

Gaby said...

Well, you know my take on all this, my not-imaginary-friend-any-longer. I put out some crazy but I can only put out so much crazy. The crazy that has found the hope for redemption and I'm currently working on. The REALLY crazy, that I can't put out because too many people in my life (including my mom and church people) read my blog. But it's not so much about me usually. I've come to accept my crazy and oh, well. It's about my husband and kids. Sadly people in real life will judge them by who I am and that's not fair to them and when you are the pastor's know.

Thee FireWife said...

<3 your crazy.

I feel similar, but I'm learning to lean into it. To recognize the hard, and face it. It is, as one might suspect, hard to do. But God has called you to share, and He'll take care of how it's received. Write what he tells you, and then let him handle it. <3

Debbie said...

Can't help being vulnerable, my goats won't have it any other way. It spills over on to people too. Bonus!

Amy in Wanderland said...

Vulnerability increases blog numbers, for sure. My most popular posts are the ones in which I hang my dirtiest laundry out on a super-long clothesline in my super-conspicuous front yard. But yes, I believe it helps more people when we are willing to be transparent. Great post, Amy.

Jennifer Camp said...

Amy, you have this beautiful gift to challenge and be honest and bring smiles. I am always moved by your posts. Keep going there, girl! Keep digging in! We will all be blessed (those of us who are the happy, square faces on the screen and those who see you behind the screen, too). ;) When we do that, as writers, I think we all get invited in, behind the screen, with you. And it is yes, painful (just a little) but so healing and freeing and good. God holds us here, with Him, in those vulnerable places He calls us to go with Him. Gratefully, Jennifer

marlece said...

Amy this is one of the best posts I think I have ever read. How many times have I cringed when that person that I know quite well who does not know Jesus said they read my blog. Not that I am ashamed but it's like, "oh, they have insight where I didn't know they did into my little world and head." This, as you with the girl at work, is true for my clients that sit in my chair" You put it into words so well.

Loraine said...

Being vulnerable is hard. Not sure I can remember the last time I really allowed myself to be vulnerable. Unfortunately, lately, I resonate with this "“I build all these walls, and then wonder, why am I in this by myself?”, alot.
Great post, my friend.

Courtney said...

Wow, here you are being vulnerable and so many people can relate. I would love to be able to say I remember when I was vulnerable with someone other than God. It must be refreshing after you let go of control.

Thanks for the realness, Amy.

Cheryl said...

I like washing Hard in Tide and forgetting it the washing machine for a days only to have to rewash it to get that mildewy smell out! But you're right. The stories people tell that really stick with me are the ones that are the most vulnerable. I went for it today too, on my blog.

By the way, I came across Brene Brown recently and was blown away by her stuff. Really, really good. I think she's on to something.

Gina @ Holding the Distaff said...

Haha--I know exactly what you mean (as apparently many other previous comment writers do). From the beginning, I always published my blog posts on my personal Facebook page for most of my friends and family to see. It was terrifying at first, but the more I've done it, the more confident I've become about who I am and what I believe. And it is so freeing! It's like--I have nothing to hide anymore. I'm standing on God's shoulders. What's more, as friends have left comments, I suddenly feel closer to people I haven't seen in years. I wish everyone could blog--few things have challenged me to grow more.

PS thanks for visiting my blog the other day :)

Nancy said...

Oh, girl! I'm just wild about your crazy.

My pastor and several of my elders are reading my blog which freaks me out in the extreme. (I love your husband's response, by the way. Yeah, who did we think would be reading the stuff we put out there on the internet??!!!

It took me three months to tell my own husband I had a blog. My crazy can go toe to toe with your crazy.

Anyway. What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Finding out who is reading my stuff in real life is a way of keeping me honest. Because I know I may have to have conversations with these people, or someone in my church might haul me over on some sketchy theology, it makes me more careful about what I write before I hit send. Especially because I know I've got some readers who don't know Jesus. Yet.

Imagine what nonsense I'd write if I weren't being careful.

Meredith said...

Just so you know I had almost the exact conversation (with myself) inserting the name "Amy L. Sullivan" instead of Jessica M. Because I think if you with your middle initial.


alicia said...

Yeah... okay. The line about building up the walls and then wondering why I am alone?! Yeah... Definitely hit home there. Vulnerablity is so very very hard. But the one positive I have learned in the past year, the more open I am with my struggles, the more I show how broken I really am? That is when I find how very loved I am and how not alone I am. It's not easy, but it's always, ALWAYS worth it. And sometimes it weeds out those who are trying to choke the life out of you, because you see them for who they really are and how you don't need them in your life. Another reminder that we aren't here to please man, but to please God.

DeborahJoy said...

I found Brene via TED in December, and oh my Lord, it made such an impact on me!
So important to allow vulnerability and connection, but so hard to do, in this sometimes cold, unforgiving world of ours.
Thank YOU for your willingness to show your vulnerability and craziness (though it doesn't seem that crazy to me, just normal human stuff). It matters. You matter X

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