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Photo Credit © Stefanos Kyriazis/Demotix/Corbis

Photo Credit © Stefanos Kyriazis/Demotix/Corbis

Hi, I’m Laura Krämer and I choose to be vulnerable with my soul journey for the hope others will draw near to God.

That’s me. It’s what I have as a bio on my blog and social media. It’s how you know me. It’s who I am.

Or is it?

The further I get into this season of growing-up I’m discovering a harsh reality.

I. Am. Not. Vulnerable.

Sure, I’ll confess my pain, hurts, and brokenness. But when I’m sitting eye to eye with a friend or family member where things aren’t right, I not only stay silent

I run. I avoid. I hide.

Not intentionally, of course. It’s the way I’ve coped for years. And I’ve even done some good hard work in the past to break through the layers to stop running and start staying in the mess. But I realize now—those were some paper thin layers.

Yesterday I read something that changed the way I think about vulnerability.

Brené Brown, (professor, researcher of vulnerability, courage, and shame and best selling author) held an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert (author of best selling book Eat, Love Pray) and asked her, ‘What is vulnerability?’ In which she answered:

“Vulnerability is keeping the conversation open.”

Since my last post there has been a wave of faces God has brought to mind in with whom it is time to make things right. In some cases, I’ve been hurt, a number of cases I’ve been the offender, and still others ones that honestly, I’m still confused about. Unfortunately, I never stayed in the mess long enough to give grace, say sorry, or ask brave questions. I just stopped the conversation altogether.

Elizabeth Gilbert goes on to say:

“[everything else is easy]…keeping the conversation open when strife or resentment has built up between me and a friend, or a loved one, or a neighbor? This is where the rubber meets the road”

Resentment? Yep, it has a way of getting into my relationships {and my heart} more than I’d care to admit.

Gosh, no wonder why I’m in a season of growing up.

When the residue of resentment oozes into already existing hurts and offenses it takes on a force all of its own. And it’s a force that sucks life out of relationships.

It never crossed my mind to keep conversations open. Perhaps I figured time would heal, or maybe we just need a little space. But truly, I think somewhere deep within me I knew how painfully vulnerable it would be to stay in the mess. So instead, I stop waving to the neighbors, sit on the opposite side of the sanctuary, and let birthdays and Christmas go by without a call or card in the mail. Yes, I did just admit that.

And just so you know it’s never with an evil heart. It’s with an I-don’t-know-what-to-do-so-I’ll-just-ignore-you-and-protect-me kind of heart.

It may not seem apparent to others, but it’s not that I don’t want to stay in the conversation. It’s that I don’t know how. What does it look like to keep the conversation open when there is hurt, disappointment, or misunderstanding? Furthermore, how does one start up a conversation when the lines of communication have died?

I don’t know. But I do know this. I want to extend the olive branch , give a peace offering, do whatever it takes to make things right again. I want to tear back the thick layers of broken conversations and ask God for His redeeming work in making all things whole.

My hope is someday I won’t look for an escape route when I see them turn the corner and walk toward me in an empty hallway. I want to have the freedom to catch their gaze and smile with a pure heart. I want to bump into them at the grocery store and give a warm hello. And I want to wave as we drive pass one another on the way to…church.

I’m feeling hopeful, so let me revise my intro:

Hi, I’m Laura Krämer and I choose to be vulnerable by keeping the conversation open.

I hope you will to.

~

On the journey with you,
Laura

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